Managing Finances

We have a lot of bills, business and personal so I set up an Excel spread sheet that lists the following:

Company/Bank   For   Due Date     Monthly Amt. and /or Amt.   Auto?   Paid/Posted (Posted for Auto)   Ck Acct/Ck Card   Interest Rate   Offer End Date (For interest free credit card promo dates)   Balance   Notes   Availability (for credit cards)

It is organized by date so that we can can be prepared for what is coming up. Annual payments are separated but on the same sheet, so there are no surprises. Before the first of the month, I go online to collect my data and do my updates. I copy and rename last month’s sheet  and update whatever needs to be updated. By keeping the previous sheets, you don’t lose information and don’t have to go digging through your check book or online checking account. Previously I set it up by pay days but now we only have money coming in once a month. I color code the columns to make it easier to read but it also affects the print out so Danny has worked with the settings to make it easier to read. You can also add things at the bottom like checking account balances.

When you are paid once a month, it is necessary to plan output.  By utilizing this spreadsheet, bills get paid first and, if necessary, decisions get made as to what bills will be paid.

After the spreadsheet is updated, I e-mail it to Danny and he takes time to look it over.  We set aside time to sit down together to make a payment plan or at least to both acknowledge where we are financially. As the bills are paid or posted to the checking account register ( in the case of Auto Pays) I post the dates on the sheet.

Because I use the Quickbooks software for our business, I set up our personal finances in it as well. Your checking or savings information can be downloaded  straight from your bank into Quickbooks as often as you like. It is so much easier than trying to keep a paper register and you can code your income and expenses. If you wanted to set up a budget, you have all the information you need. You don’t have to use all the features, I don’t, but what I do use makes my life so much simpler. Also, if you need a personal profit and loss or balance sheet, no problem, Quickbooks does it for you. This has come in handy when working with mortgage companies and banks or applying for credit. It also helps your tax accountant because you can just print out your P & L or Balance sheet for whatever period. You can also track your finances from year to year because the information stays in your computer. It is a good idea to back it up to a memory stick or other back-up device as my computer crashed once and I had to recreate my records. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary for me to recreate from the very beginning so I just input from the first of the current year.