Using a monthly budget planner is the best way to keep your finances organized and pay bills on time. This is also an opportunity to see where you can trim back, teach your children about money, and look for discrepancies in your financial records. Whether you purchase your monthly budget planner or make it yourself, a few simple tips can help you get the most from your planner and help you take better control over your finances.
1. Keep It with Your Bills
Put your planner in the same place you keep your bills. This will ensure you have it when you need to make an entry. Also, show your spouse where the planner is so if they bring in the mail, an entry can still be made. If you don't already have an organized area for your bills, create a box where bills can be opened and put with your planner and a pen. Label it and put it where you toss your keys and other items at the end of the day. This will make it easy to find and give you a stop to open your mail before moving on to other things.
2. Stick a Pen in It
Put a pen in the planner or bill box that stays with them. If you go looking for a pen and get distracted, you may never find your way back to enter the bills. Treat yourself to a special planner pen and you may be more inclined to use it. Do not use gel pens as they can bleed and run. You want a good solid pen or pencil. If you're worried about mistakes or just getting to know a budget planner, using pencil might be the best way to go.
3. Teach Your Spouse
Show your spouse how to enter bills into the planner, and he'll be more likely to do it when the mail comes in instead of setting them aside for you. If he helps pay the bills, he should also be shown how to record payments as well. Work together to ensure you're both using the same entry system to avoid confusion.
4. Show Your Kids
While your children won't be recording anything, show them where the planner is in case they come in with the mail. Then they know where to stick bills so you can find them later.
5. Banking Information
In most monthly budget planners, there is a place to record all banking information. If there isn't, create a page for just that located at the front of the planner. Do not write down your routing or account numbers; record only the complete contact records for your bank and other financial institutions.
When you use a monthly budget planner, you'll have the ability to keep better track of your income and where your money is going. You'll find the confidence necessary to pay off debt, stick money aside for fun stuff and start building your savings.