Keeping Track Of Bills Spreadsheet – In the last year, we finally promise to stick to a budget, or regain control of those credit card bills. But managing your money to get those bills paid on time is not always easy.
By 2016, less than half of Americans have budgeted and tracked their spending, according to the National Consumer’s Credit Counseling’s latest consumer financial literacy survey. Keeping abreast of credit card payments was a struggle for 22% of respondents to the survey.
If you decided to put your credit card bills and other financial matters in order this year, doing so may require a little trial and error … and it’s still time. If a method does not work, it does not mean that you failed. It just means you need to try another approach.
Here are some money management strategies to control your bills and stick to a budget this year.
Only spend what you have. The traditional elaboration of a budget requires a forecast of income, as well as expenditure. However, Jesse Mecham, founder and CEO of You Need A Budget, indicates that you have more control by focusing on what’s in the current account today.
“Often, people spend money that they have not yet earned,” he adds. “We want people to be in a situation where the dollar they spend today has earned it 30 days ago.”
To make the change to spend what you have instead of what you will be paid soon, start by allocating every dollar of your checking account. “Write down what you need to do with your money, how much it will cost and when that money runs out, stop,” Mecham explains.
If you can not afford it today, do not spend it until you can. This basic exercise provides clarity and helps you get ahead of your credit card bills, instead of always having to catch up.
Hidden benefits of your credit cards
Start from scratch every month. Record every detail of your expenses can be tedious, particularly if you have many individual charges throughout the month. If you fall behind for a few weeks, it may be easy to give up completely. Lower pressure by changing to a monthly mindset.
On the last day of each month, pay your full credit card bill. That way, you’ll start the next month from zero, with the page blank. Set a monthly spending cap, and keep all your transactions on the card.
Do not lose your view balance for the entire month, to make sure you do not lose the pace in order to keep you within your maximum spending limit. If you’ve spent 80% of your spending limit after two weeks, you’ll know you have to make adjustments for the rest of the month.
Say goodbye to the sprinkle effect. A common and often problematic approach to canceling a debt is to pay a little extra whenever possible, without having a solid strategy to eliminate debt. Kristen Euretig, a certified financial advisor and founder of Brooklyn Plans, calls this the “dew effect”, and warns her clients against it.
In contrast, Euretig indicates that it is essential to create a plan to settle the debt addressed to certain card bills first. “They could be the ones with the highest interest rates first or those with the lowest balances to strengthen your confidence,” he says. Paying a little here or there probably is not going to make a dent in debt, and could prove disappointing over time.
For the rest of your invoices, make sure you do not skip any payments by setting the automatic debit. “That way, even if an invoice gets out of your head, you will not be subject to default interest, and late payment will not hurt your credit,” Euretig says.
Add accounting with automation. Using pencil and paper to keep track of bills and spending is necessary for some consumers, but automation is the key to success for others. Automated money management tools will continue to expand this year, as financial applications become more intuitive and offer more useful services.
Account aggregators like Mint.com have been around for years, and have provided a real-time summary of all your accounts in one place. However, with the recent launch of Mint’s bill payment feature, the software is getting smarter. Mint can now analyze past invoices to set up automatic payment reminders. It’s like having a personal assistant who tells you how much you owe and when you should pay, and even send the payment if you select that option.
Whatever your money management strategy you decide to try this year, you should realize that setbacks and adjustments are part of the process. “You can change the plan at any time. That is part of the planning and is something positive, “says Mecham.
Keeping Track Of Bills Spreadsheet
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