It goes without saying that over the last few years ( marriage ) I have learned a lot about finances and saving money. I did think I was a pro at it but clearly always being stuck in a rut showed something was not working in my plans of action.
Sometimes in life, we are motivated by an unfortunate circumstance that teaches us a lesson. For me, it was being homeless. I had to sit and reflect on why it happened and how I could be better going forward for my family and me.
So I made a plan;
Firstly, on paper, I would write down all the bills and debt that needed to be paid each month. Then when I paid (or did not pay) I would cross it off. Any debts I had I would contact the company first and arrange a suitable payment plan based on my income. On the specific debt letter, I would write the total amount and each month minus the payment and re-total. Even though it was going well to a degree, I would either lose the paper or get confused. On to another plan…
Using my organisation and MS Office skills, I came up with a spreadsheet plan. I now set out all my bills, debt and savings for the year, this way I’m aware of upcoming bills and anything I owe. As I can use a formula to calculate total expenditure, it helps me plan the months spending for myself and the family.
Here is a template:
Using the spreadsheet made everything so much easier and stress-free. As you can see I have annotated the template to better understand.
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However, here is a breakdown:
- List all bills, debt and savings
- Write down amounts, due dates and direct debit dates
- Decide on your saving amounts for each month
- Mark any bills or debt that is overdue for payment
- Set up your spreadsheet using the template (above), colour code to help simplify
- Here is some help with formulas on excel do explore other places (if anything just use your calculator) I’m no pro
- Next, subtract your income from all expenditure, this way you can budget for food, travel, going out etc.
- Each month before payday, check that all amounts have been filled
- Once each bill or debt has been paid highlight it to show it has been paid, anything owed put into the owed column and make it red. Once it has been paid change the colour back.
- It is always good to call the company to change the date of your bill to after your payday, this will save any hassles in the future. You may pay more or less when changed in the middle of the cycle, make sure to ask loads of questions
This can all be done on a paper/notebook too.
I would advise that you pay your bills on time, contact any company in due time to arrange a payment plan if needs be. If you are having financial difficulty, Citizens Advice StepChange and Debt Advice Foundation can help in the UK, or find the equivalent in your country.
Finally, make sure you do save no matter how small, it all counts. Hope this helps, just some tips and advice, do plan things to your liking and discretion. It is flexible
My personal order is;
- Tithe (Giving 10% of my income to God)
- Anything else…What are your savings tips?
Breathe in, Breath out.
Love yourself always x