How to organize your household bills

Organization

This month’s bills have arrived, and one bill needs to be delayed to pay another one yet again. Making matters worse, the house needs work, the kids need school supplies, the pantry is bare, and the car needs servicing. Every month, parents are pulled in several directions while juggling monthly bills. Furthermore, when enough money is saved, these savings are exhausted on children or overall household finances. Each trip to the store – whether it’s for school clothes or grocery shopping – becomes one of a million frustrations because of higher prices. For those living this existence, organizing household bills is one way to combat these issues.

Organizing household bills primarily saves money because it tracks how much money is spent. A bill payment tracker reminds parents when bills are due. More importantly, organizing bills this way helps households avoid costly late fees that can increase a bill from anywhere between five and 15 percent. For example, paying 15 percent on a late $100 utility bill is $15 dollars. Now, imagine having four bills to pay that month, excluding a mortgage or rent payment. If the bills are all at least $100, a minimum of $60 will be lost in late fees.

Organizing bills helps parents keep track of every fee on each monthly bill. When consumers are aware of how they are being charged monthly, they can cancel services or budget appropriately. More importantly, at the end of the month, consumers might find they have extra money to save.

Tips for organizing monthly bills

Categorize all monthly bills. Electricity, gas, water, garbage, phone, cable, and credit card bills have billing cycles that are different from mortgage, rent, and car payments, which are paid the same day every month. Furthermore, utility and credit card bills fluctuate depending on consumption while mortgage, rent and car payments are fixed. By categorizing these bills, parents know which bills will consistently be the same and which ones will fluctuate.

Track monthly bills seasonally. Every month, gather all of the bills that fluctuate based on monthly use, excluding mortgage or rent payments and car loans. Then, record how much is spent seasonally. Electricity bills in peak winter and summer times might be higher than they are at other times of the year. At the same time, water bills might peak during the summer when the kids are home or when watering the grass becomes a part of lawn maintenance. By tracking seasonally, parents can budget ahead of time.

Keep all receipts. When shopping for groceries, buying clothes, or paying for gas, parents should store all receipts in an envelope every month. Be sure to do the same thing with utility bills. First, parents can track expenses for groceries, entertainment, gas, and any other incidentals on a monthly basis. The second reason relates to the tax advantages of saving receipts. Sales taxes appear on products sold in stores and on phone bills, and costs incurred because of sales tax can be deducted when filing taxes. Sales tax is determined by county and is usually listed on the receipt.

Take advantage of utility, insurance and miscellaneous offsets. Pay attention to mailers that come inside utility bills because these notices advertise programs that allow consumers to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Shop around for cable providers. Although suppliers usually service a particular area, consumers can choose between satellite services that might offer more benefits than basic cable services. When looking at insurance, find ways to reduce car or home insurance premiums.

Create a budget. Before creating this budget, plan a way to track expenses, whether it is through bill payment software or in a notebook. After taking an inventory of expenses, create a house expenses list that includes both monthly bills and expenses associated with living, such as grocery expenses. Then, allocate money accordingly. If extra money is left over at the end of the month, it can be the beginning of a savings account for household emergencies, remodeling or renovations in the home, or any other purpose.

Organizing household bills saves time, energy and money in the long run for parents who find juggling bills frustrating. Those who choose to track and budget their bills through a bill payment program or in a notebook might find that they have more money at their disposal at the end of the month. More significantly, parents develop a habit of tracking how money enters and leaves the house, which prepares households for emergencies or helps them save money.

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