Friday, April 27, 2012

Take the Time

Today is "bill day" in the Herendeen household. Every Friday, I sit down, log into my bank statements (LOVE online banking), make sure everything matches up, and then proceed to go through my budget and pay the bills I have marked for that week. On the Fridays Corey doesn't work, he joins me (which is every other). It's been a pretty good system, except for one problem-- some days I just don't want to take the time.

And well, today is one of those days.

Ever since I got home I've been thinking, man, I should really just go do the bills and get them out of the way. Of course, that thought is followed by something else I can do instead. As this process repeated itself, I realized I had stumbled on the perfect thing to blog about (and, obviously, put off doing bills!).

See, I've said it before-- I love finances and making numbers work. I'm not daunted by the task of going through my check book and paying the bills, I just plain and simple don't want to. It's so much more relaxing to watch TV, play with Tate, or read a book, just to name a few. It doesn't help either that I work with numbers all day. But still, if I love doing finances, how must it be for the people who hate it (or even mildly dislike it)? Eek. I guess that's why there are people out there who never balance their checkbooks or only pay a bill when they start to get collections calls. A part of me understands.

We played so hard, Tate is out cold! Love him so! :)

So, what to do about it?

Well, sadly, the best advice really is to just do it. Take the time. In the end, you'll be glad you did, and chances are it won't be as bad as you felt like it would be.  But here's a few things that I've found to compel me to be a bit more likely to do it:

1.) Schedule a day. As I said, for the Herendeen's, it's Fridays. I personally think it works well because that's pay day, so we know the money is there, and we have the joy of not having to worry about work the next day, so it's kind of like an exclamation point on the end of the work week! :)

2.) Give yourself a reward. Now, I don't mean like a shopping spree or something crazy and expensive. Think simple. Often times I'll tell myself that after I pay my bills and such, I can watch a movie or eat some popcorn. Granted, I am a grown up so I could do that before I pay bills too, obviously, but it helps a bit.

Reading a chapter of Captivating, my all-time favorite book, is my reward tonight!

3.) Do the legwork before. This goes a bit with my previous post. Have everything in one spot-- it'll make things go a lot smoother and faster. Also try to keep your check register updated throughout the week-- when you spend something, write it in! AND take the time to do the math and come up with your new balance. I'll be honest, in the world of online banking, this is probably one of the hardest for me. Why write it in when I can go home and see it online and they'll have my balance added up for me? Why even keep a check register? DO IT. Before my current job, I worked and a bank, and you wouldn't even imagine all the people who have no clue what's in their account. Just because the bank says you have $100 does not mean that's true! There might be a transaction that hasn't processed through the bank yet (not everything is instant!), there might have been an error in what was processed (and, keep in mind, it might not have been because of the bank-- the merchant can make the error too!), and countless other things. By taking the time to keep your balance, you can catch any errors that happen and know what really is in your account.

4.) Make a monthly budget, and break it down week by week. Tomorrow I'm planning on going into this one a bit more. This by far has been HUGE in helping Corey and I financially. It allows us to know what we're spending before we spend it. We know if we have a little extra cash this week or if we're going to have to pull back on a couple of extras. In all honesty, I can't imagine my life without it. I VERY strongly encourage you to do this for yourself. Yes, it takes some time to do in the beginning, but it is oh so very worth it!

5.) Invest in an adding machine (or calculator). I love adding machines. I love that the buttons are more distinct, the numbers are bigger, and I even can have a little receipt that tells me what I put in (very handy when there's a mistake!). I asked for one for Christmas. Yes, Christmas. Don't judge me. It's the best present my brother has ever given me! Anyway, maybe an adding machine isn't your thing, but at least get a real calculator. The touch screens of phones and i-pods and such just don't cut it. Personal opinion.


And lastly...

6.) Don't be too hard on yourself. If you've had a rough day at work, don't force yourself to do your bills. BUT don't allow that to be an excuse to not do it until the next week. There's some days that Friday just doesn't work. We have plans, we're really tired, the list goes on. It can wait. However, if Sunday night comes and we still haven't gotten to it, I know I MUST take the time to do it. Period.

But okay... now that I've procrastinated a bit, it's off to bill land for me! See you tomorrow for MAKING A BUDGET!!! :)

As a preview for tomorrow, this is the notebook I use to create our little budget!

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