Thursday, January 6, 2011

Budgeting Advice

One of the first things we agreed on when we got married was that I would handle our household budget and paying all the bills. This wasn't a job that I really wanted but after seeing the way Kristian managed or rather didn't manage his bills I felt more comfortable taking over this responsibility. After having this conversation I knew it would be in our best interests to have me handle the finances:

-After noticing that he NEVER opens his bills and leaves them sitting on the counter unopened for weeks:

Me- If you never open your mail how do you know when your bills are due or what you owe?
Him- I just wait for them to call me when it's due and pay over the phone.
Me- *look of horror*

So yeah. I'm in charge and that makes him thrilled beyond belief. But here's the thing trying to keep track of all of our bills and manage a household budget is HARD. When I was single it was pretty simple. I knew when all my bills were do (more of less) and knew which bills needed to be paid with which paycheck and always paid on time. Hence my stellar credit thankyouverymuch!

But now I not only have the bills I brought into this marriage but also the bills he brought into this marriage and our current joint bills. Cue the brain explosion. The one good thing is that with him now getting a steady paycheck it will make it MUCH easier to figure out our budget. The only problem is I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do this.

The past 7 1/2 months I've been kind of flying by the seat of my pants and didn't have much of a system for organizing our bills and budgeting but this MUST change or I will be in constant anxiety. I want a system, an easy to follow system.

So my question for the peanut gallery is do you have any tips or advice for managing your household budget? Are there any templates in particular you use? Do you go over it every week? Every month? I need as much help as I can get. The sooner we can get on track and organized with our bills the better.

17 comments:

Marian said...

I wish I could help, but Liam is the accountant and takes care of all the bills' payment schedule. I do know that he keeps some sort of Excel sheet that has our income and all our monthly bills and due dates...but thats probably kind of boring and not very pretty to look at...like we girls like...but it seems to get the job done (until he recently closed one of his accounts because he wasn't using it and we realized that some of our automatic payments were directed to it...sigh)

Lindsay J. said...

I tried actually making and keeping a budget in Excel but found it hard to keep track of every little thing I spend. We don't spend a lot on little things so it wasn't a huge worry.

What I found worked through was putting all of my bills in my Google Calendar. Some bills are automatic (student loans) so I just note what and how much on the specific day. If the amount changes (electric, credit card, etc.), I leave the amount blank and fill it in when the bill comes and I schedule its payment. I also put pay days in the calendar too. That way I can see when we get paid, compare it to our bank account balance, and look at what bills will be paid in the upcoming week to make sure there's enough money to cover them.

Hope that made sense and/or helped!

Mrs. Lopez said...

My husband and I made our budget together but I pay all the bills except he pays his own credit card bill. We did a spreadsheet of how much we made each check and how much needs to go out of each check for each bill and savings etc. We include gas for our cars and extra food (fast food $)

That way I know on each paycheck which bills need to be payed and on that same spreedsheet we have each monht of the year and our bills under each month. I have a line for due date, date we paid bill and the amount. Its done really well for us thus far. I'm more than happy to send it to you if you'd like.

Kelsey712 said...

use your banks online banking and just enter them as you get the bills. You don't have to set them to pay immediately, you can have them pay right before the amount is due allowing you to "float" that money. Do go ahead and deduct it from your checkbook though, so that you're prepared when it debits the account.

Just a thought... Good luck!

Luck o' the Irish said...

Hi. I don't have any advice (still single and just pay like the minute I get the stupid bill...that's my system...not great, but it works when I remember to pay online!). BUT. I read this other blog through my feeder yesterday and it appears she's about to talk about this very topic or versions thereof:

http://dirtymartinidiaries.blogspot.com/

Davanie said...

I use bill pay with wells fargo (your bank might have something like this). as the bills come in (most I get via email) i'm able to just type in the amount that needs to be payed and when I want it payed and from which account. if one of the bills is usually the same every month (student loan, cable) then I set up an automatic payment for a set amount so I can just ignore the bill. so easy!
we've even used bill pay to pay the rent. they send a check in the mail to the landlord at the beginning of the month automatically.

Marcy XOXO said...

Hey girl! Thanks so much for the advice on the invites.. maybe I will get a box and send one to myself and see what happens lol Definately don't need any extra stress like that on myself right now!

bekapaige said...

I'm not much help because S is an accountant so he's in charge of our household budget. I will say that he has an excel doc with different sheets in it, where he keeps track of bills (how much they average, when they're due for budgeting purposes, then updated when they're paid), formulas that reduce when payments are made (for example, when we were paying off his car last year, the remaining amount owed automatically went down each time we made a payment). Jenna @ That Wife has a great post (written by her husband, I think) about their budget including an excel doc to modify for you http://thatwifeblog.com/2009/08/that-budget/

Sometimes I think it helps to look at how other people do it to get a sense of how you want to keep track- we don't use a system like Jenna's, but excel is good regardless of your system! Good luck :)

Teenage Bride said...

hahaha oh wow. I would say it is a good thing that you handle the bills. My husband and I split the bills. We have joint accounts but we are both in charge of making sure certain things are paid.

bananas. said...

dave and i budget separately and therefore budget completely different from each other. he's more paycheck to paycheck, where i'm already prepared for next month's bills. i actually take out a certain amount each check and save it for next month. so far its worked out great.

Jenni said...

go to Mint.com. It is going to SAVE your sanity. it's free, it's online, it lets you set goals, it determines interest you will accrue on debt if you pay one amount versus another, and there are applications on many different phones so if you are out and about, and remember you have to pay you just log in and hit pay!

Betty and said...

Hi there! Love your blog. I second the other commenter who said Mint.com! It's free and fairly easy to use. It lets you set and keep up budgets and goals and nags you when you are starting to get off track. I use it for both my finances and those that I've combined with my husband. It's definitely worth checking out. Good luck! Look forward to reading more

Betty and said...

Hi there! Love your blog. I second the other commenter who said Mint.com! It's free and fairly easy to use. It lets you set and keep up budgets and goals and nags you when you are starting to get off track. I use it for both my finances and those that I've combined with my husband. It's definitely worth checking out. Good luck! Look forward to reading more

Claire Kiefer said...

Unfortunately I am just like Kristian when it comes to bills. :) I absolutely cannot stand mundane tasks like opening & sorting bills and being on the phone with automated voices . . . so I often do what he does and just wait for them to call. Well, I set up as many bills as I can to just automatically deduct from my bank account, but the rest . . . I'm irresponsible!

But I'm glad to have stumbled upon your blog & read this post because I, too, am looking for some type of system!

Chocolate Lover said...

Since we both have iphones we found an app that we liked and could sync with each other and use that. We did a test for a few months to see what our spending vs income was like, and then set a budget according to that, using different categories eg groceries, restaurants, personal items, bills etc. We update the app whenever we buy something and therefore have a constantly updated budget/financial statement

Jayme said...

Just found your blog - so cute!

My hubby is a USMC officer, and when he was deployed, I took over the budget. It turns out that I am WAY better at money management than he is. My biggest piece of advice is to decide how much you want to save each month, and put it away in the beginning. Out of sight, out of mind.

New follower!

AmyJean {Relentless Bride} said...

We use google calendar to set up payment due dates and a spreadsheet on google docs so that way all of our stuff is easily accessible. We mark paid payments with $$ before it once we pay them. I handled the bills prior, but now the Husband is in control and its nice to not feel that pressure. He also likes feeling a little more in control even if we make all our financial decisions together :) Google seems to be our god-sent in budgeting