I’m completely overhauling my bill-paying plan this year to get our household on an easy-to-follow budget. Up until now, it’s been a never-ending game of who pays what bill, out of what account, and who owes who money each month. It has to stop. We are married adults and not in college any longer. There is no more splitting the rent multiple ways or owing another person for your share of the utilities. We are a unified household and our budget and financial set-up should reflect that. Here’s my plan for the new year along with some easy budget hacks.
Step 1: Calculate Monthly Expenses
This includes any monthly bill that is a part of the household budget. We are talking mortgage/rent, various insurance bills, utilities, and Netflix. (Don’t forget about Netflix!) Once I’ve calculated that number, we will decide how much each of us is going to contribute toward expenses each month.
Step 2: Open a New Bank Account Just for Bills
Next, it’s time to set up a separate bank account that will be wholly dedicated to paying the monthly bills. I plan to set up automatic monthly deposits from each of us to that account so we never even have to think about it.
Step 3: Fund the account monthly
Be sure to start the account with a cushion to avoid any chance of an overdraw. I would recommend having at least two to three months’ worth of your budget in the account to start.
Step 4: Set Up Auto Pay
The next step is the most tedious part. Go through to all of the monthly bills and set them up to auto pay from the new account. If a bill needs to be paid on a credit card, that credit card should link to the new account and shouldn’t be used for anything else. Set up a specific rewards card and then you can save up your points for a family vacation!
With this system, there is no more worrying whether a bill was paid on time. No more calculating each month who paid what, and how much, and who owes who money. It’s all part of a budget plan that is organized in one convenient location. You just need to check in with it every once in a while to make sure it is all running smoothly. And hopefully by the end of the year, you have a healthy bank account and a nice amount of credit card rewards points to play with.
More Budgeting Tips: