Dont Let Money Make a Monkey Out of You

ist2_3145028_monkey_wrench_squeezing_money_isolated_on_white1.jpgAre you short for month money at the end of each month? Do you have 5-10 credit cards, all maxed out to the limit? Do you forget to pay your bills on time? If you have answered, “Yes,” to any of these questions, don’t feel bad and don’t worry. I have some tips that can help you improve your financial picture: Create a Bill-Paying System

The first thing you’ll need to do is to go out and pick up some colored hanging folders. If you don’t have a file cabinet, get a file box that you can find in any stationery store or discount department store. They’re very inexpensive. Then, make a folder for each expense. Use one color for your bank statements, another for your utility bills, and another for credit cards. Keep the system pretty simple or complexity could let procrastination) take over.

Each day when your mail arrives, separate it immediately into what you don’t need and want to throw away and your bills and other things that need attention right away. Do the things that are needed and either pay the bill right away or put them in a central place where you can retrieve them when the money is available for paying the bills. This could be the front of a desk drawer, for instance, or even a basket on top of your desk. Just be sure that nothing goes into that basket besides your bills.

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Online banking is a great way to streamline the bill paying process. Bank security is top notch, so the question of you having a problem online is really out of the equation. The chances are very slim. So, what you do is you take each bill that you receive and you put the information needed into the online banking account. You don’t have to do this all at once. Wait until your next bill comes in and do it one or two at a time. That way, it seems less daunting, and remember, you only have to do it once. After all the information has been entered, paying a bill becomes as simple as clicking a button, a mouse button, that is.

When you’re finished paying your bills, be it online or off, put the paid bills with the date of payment written on the front, into one of the colored file folders. That way, when tax time comes around, all your financial records will be at your fingertips.

Don’t carry around huge wads of cash or a debit card linked to your bank account, either. If you prefer the convenience of plastic, open a separate bank account and put a monthly “allowance” into it for yourself. When the money’s gone, you’ll just have to wait until next month to get more. This should help you to budget your spending and hold back on those impulse purchases a little.

And if you want to buy something, decide whether you need it or just simply want it. If you think you need it, just walk away and take 26 hours or longer to consider the purchase. Once it’s out of your site, you may find that it’s really a want, disguising itself as a need.

Before you pay any bill, any expense for the month, you should always be paying yourself. Ten percent of your income, every time you get money or a paycheck, should go into a savings account. If you don’t have a savings account, get one and never, ever use it except for depositing. Your savings account is for huge expenses, like buying a house, repairing your car, or retirement.

Put at least one of these tips into practice and see how well it works for you. I guarantee that you’ll be back to try another.

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20 Responses

  1. Hey Robin,

    This is the golden truth:

    “Before you pay any bill, any expense for the month, you should always be paying yourself. Ten percent of your income, every time you get money or a paycheck, should go into a savings account.”

    And don’t overspent :)

    Cheers
    James

  2. Robin Bal says:

    Hey James,

    Hows it going mate? Yeah and treat that ten percent as an expenditure while you budget. People who say it cant be done are probably living beyond their means.

    Take care and cheers

  3. Great post as usual!

  4. Nick says:

    Hello Robin,

    If you are open to using an internet based tool to keep track of your bills, you might be interested in billQ (http://www.mybillq.com).

    With billQ you can even receive email or sms reminders before the bills is due. And once the bill is paid, you can view reports that summarize your payment history.

    Let me know what you think of billQ if you choose to sign up.

    Nick
    http://www.mybillq.com

  5. revy says:

    Very cool and some great advice. I sent this to a buddy of mine as he needs a little financial planning help right now. Thanks!

  6. rob says:

    screw 10%- i put away 50% of my paychecks every month … and I have a $400k mtg … but I still want to put away more …

  7. EG says:

    Use http://yodlee.com/ and use their Credit Card Utilization tool, and other tools, such as Expense Analysis, Spending Analysis, and Budget Goals. Yodlee is a free on-line service.

  8. on-the-tab says:

    Money is one of those things that we have to adapt to, like legs and house keys.

    It’s good to know someone knows what their doing.

    There are always reputable experts if you really care about your future.

  9. Nightshifter says:

    Here’s my system for bills I pay via mail:

    After I sort incoming mail and toss junk, catalogs, etc. Open all bills, peek inside and write the date they are due on front of the envelope. Sort by date, with the ones due soonest on top. I usually pay a handful at a time, giving about 10 days for the payment to reach them. (i.e. if it’s due on the 22nd i mail payment on the 12th)

    Make sure to shred all credit card offers and credit card “checks” they send unless you intend to use them.

    I keep track of all cards using a spreadsheet and try to get the cards with largest interest down as soon as possible.

    In the long run the only way to avoid credit card debt is to not to have more than one card (and not a store specific card) and to only use it in emergencies and pay it off monthly.

    Good Luck!

  10. Ben says:

    Solid tips… Now, can you tipping me of how to make more money instead of saving? :) When you make more money than you can spend your money, that’s when you will never have to use a saving tip again… unless things get quite bad again.

  11. Robin Bal says:

    Thanks Terence. Hope you are doing good.

  12. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Nick,

    I checked that out, sounds interesting.

    Take care and cheers.

  13. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Revy: Glad you found it useful mate. See you around. :smile:

    Hi Rob: If you are putting aside 50% you are doing an awesome job mate. I am impressed. :smile:

    Hi EG: I need to check Yodlee, if it is free and secure, 😉 then why not.

    Hi on-the-tab: I liked the way you put it “Money is one of those things that we have to adapt to, like legs and house keys.” Makes sense.

    Take care and cheers guys

  14. Robin Bal says:

    Hey Nightshifter,

    You sure sound like a guy who is well organized, some of us have a system to get financially organized and its fine as long as it works.

    I use credit cards for an emergency too, like to buy a 2000$ Omega Seamaster 😀 , just as long as I know I can clear the entire amount before the due date. Thanks for your comment mate and good luck to you too. See you.

    Take care and cheers.

  15. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Ben,

    Glad you found my tips useful. Now on how to make more money, ummm GOT IT, digg up one of my old posts “Want to get rich, start by spending less” :smile:

    Take care and cheers

  16. Great tips, my husband happened upon your site and told me about it…glad he did!

    :)

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