Tag Archives: bills

Simplify Your Life: Step 7 Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

Money is a big cause of stress in many people’s lives. So it would only make sense that getting rid of debts and bills can help us to simplify our lives and reduce stress. Credit cards and online shopping make it is so easy to buy things and accumulate debt without realizing it. We see something we want and we buy it and then we regret it when the bill comes in.

If we can learn to live a bit more frugally then we can learn to buy less, want less, be more eco friendly, simplify our budgets, and reach our financial goals of being debt free. We can’t do a lot about what has already been done but we can work towards simplify our lives to prevent the stress from these debts and bills.

One way we can do this is by setting up automatic deposits and payments. You can have your paychecks automatically deposited and you can also set your bills on auto pay. By doing this you can get those bills paid while preventing late payments. If you want to save a little bit more then you can even go paperless which will help to cut down on paper clutter and mail.  All of this adds up to less stress and a simpler life as there are fewer things to worry about.

I have found that I can not only simplify some of my shopping but save time and money while helping the planet by using subscription services and the convenience of online ordering for some things like cleaning supplies, household supplies, groceries, essential oils, and other items. My favorite place to use are:

Now if you have already overspent and just don’t have the money to cover the bills then that is another story. That can lead to a lot of stress. You can set a budget and work on learning to only buy what you need. You may also want to look into ways to bring a little extra income. Many of these places I listed above also offer affiliate or referral bonuses which can help out too.

I really like the simplicity of the Wealthy Affiliate program. It not only teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing but helps you to set up your own website. With the company’s ‘pay it forward’ attitude there is a constant supply of support from other members who have been right where you are right now. Go ahead, check it out, and sign up for your FREE account right now.

Congratulations!

This was the last step of my Simplify your life series. I hope you found some of the information useful. If you implement these easy steps into your life you will find you have more FREE time for quality moments with your friends and family. Good luck!

Have you thought of starting your own blog to make a little extra money? Check out 3 Steps to Start that Blog You’ve Been Dreaming Of for some great ideas to get started.

 

wealthy-affiliate-membership-grid

Advertisements

Simplify Your Life: Step 5 Get Organized

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

Step 5 Get Organized

Whoa! I know this one may be not be easy for some but you can do it! I know you can. Did you that the average person spends about 12 days every year looking for things? I think a Momma spends twice that amount. That’s at least 30-45 minutes a day wasted because you aren’t organized!

Imagine how much money you could save if you had a system for organizing your bills and getting them paid on time! This tip goes along with Step #6 and should come after you have completed Step #4.

Please don’t try to organize until you’ve declutter because it may get too overwhelming. I recently decluttered and organized our whole house and let me tell you that it has made a HUGE difference in our lives! Everyone can find anything at any time and everything has a place.

Getting organized can include things like setting reminders for birthdays, appointments, paying bills, or important events. We have reminders set for just about everything else like library due dates, semi annual bills, some chores, etc. I even have reminders for the due dates for our club’s newsletters and updates.

The easiest tool I have found to keep me organized is my Cozi calendar. I have it on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. I have also installed it on Mr. Awesome’s phone and my ex husband has access to our calendar as well. That way everyone knows when we have upcoming appointments and events. Cozi even sends out email reminders!

This makes my life so much simpler as I don’t have to worry about forgetting important things, as long as I have remembered to enter them into the calendar. I also use Cozi for my meal planning so I if I forget my grocery list, or if I forget to make one, I can quickly check my phone for what I need to get. Cozi also has so many other great (FREE) resources to help you organize and simplify your life.

If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to install another app you can still use most phones to set reminders. You can also use paper and pencil, post its, or find a nice planner to help you organized. I used to carry a small one around in my purse but now I just use my phone which can be aggravating if the service isn’t great.

For keeping our homeschool schedules straight I like to use Homeschool Manager which I believe is coming out with a mobile app. This has helped so much with keeping track of what needs to be done and what has been done. Not too mention the fact that we can instantly print our attendance reports and report cards which is great. So simple and easy!

These ideas may seem like I am contradicting Step #2 but I think that technology is a great thing if used correctly.

In addition to these ideas you may want to work on setting up systems/routines for handling the following:

  • mail/paperwork
  • housework
  • filing
  • bill paying

Keep your systems simple and work on them to make them easy and efficient. Being organized can keep you from forgetting things and save you so much time and money! This can help to reduce your stress and simplify your life. The next step will have more about routines. 

Need ideas to get started? Check out these books here and here. You can also get my FREE printable bill organization spreadsheet by clicking on the link provided.

You can also check out Make Over Your Year for more ideas.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click for Step 6.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

Paying Off All Of My Debt With The Snowball Method

As I mentioned in an earlier post I finally got all of my hospital and doctor bills paid off. I am still working on getting my emergency fund built back up and then I’ll be working on paying off my other debts like credit cards. I plan to use Dave Ramsey’s snowball method to get them paid off.

I’ve made me a list of all of my debts and how much I owe. I’ve put them in order from the smallest to the largest as well. Then I will work on paying off the smallest while making minimum payments on the rest. As I knock them out, one by one, I will put that money towards the next one on the list.

I’ve used a similar method before and it worked very well. I am still paying off bills that I accumulated during and after my divorce.

Please note that this post does contain affiliate links which help support our blog.

Keeping Up With The Bills

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

One important aspect of making sure that everything runs smoothly is making sure that the bills get paid. I don’t know about you but sometimes it gets hard for me to try to remember when things are due and how much to pay.I mean you have the normal bills like the utilities that need to be paid once a month, sometimes you have other bills that are semi-annually or annually, and then you get the unexpected bills like payments on an appliance that just had to be replaced.

The bills have to get paid or we will find ourselves sitting in the dark or with no place to live. We may find ourselves with no way to go anywhere either. Not too mention those outrageous late fees! With so much on our already full plates it can be so easy to overlook something every now and then. Knowing how much is due and when it is due is a big challenge for some people. How do we juggle all of our responsibilities and make sure that everything and everyone gets paid?

It helps to designate a place for all of your bills to go. Then you can use a variety of options to keep up with them. You could just make a simple file by due date or you can write them  on the calendar every month to remind you. I have some of them set up on my Cozi calendar to remind me about them. I also have an Excel worksheet that I created to help me stay on top of this. I am a visual person and it helps me to see it all written down in front of me. This sheet of paper is folded and placed into a desk drawer where I can easily access it when needed.

If you don’t have access to a Excel or another software you can always keep up with your bills in a notebook. Just use what you have on hand and what works best for you. Below is an example of the worksheet I created for my house:

I have a place for the name of the bill, the due date, and the amount due. The ‘ACCT’ section is to remind me how the bill is set up to be paid. The abbreviations stand for:

BP = Bill Pay through my checking account

** = Set up through the Bill’s site

CC = Set up to be billed to my credit card. (This is usually for the ones that don’t happen on a monthly basis.)

You should make your own abbreviations that you will be able to remember. It may be a good idea to write down a key somewhere also in case you forget or in case someone else may need to take over bill paying if you were sick. Keep it simple!

I also have a column for each month. I shaded them to just help keep my eyes from playing tricks on me.

This next picture is of the bills that are paid on a monthly basis.They are listed in order by the due date. I try to pay the biggest majority of my bills around the beginning of the month. This method may not work for you or your family. Make sure you know when the bills are due and pay them according to your pay schedule. After the bill has been paid for the month I simply put a ✓ in the box under the month.

For the bills that only happen every other month, or like the pest control which is every three months, I simply shaded out the other months. For the refrigerator I only have a couple of more payments, yay, so I shaded out the rest of the months.

This next picture shows the annual subscription payments that I currently have. This serves as a reminder for me to evaluate whether I really need/want to keep these services before the due date. I do have them set up to charge to my credit card but by knowing when they are due I can try to be prepared to pay them off when they come due.

Another benefit of keeping up with your bills is that you can see where your money is going. If something happens and you need to make changes you can see what is costing you the most and where you need to make cuts. This will go a long ways in helping you to make a budget, as well.

Just remember to keep your system simple and manageable. It won’t work if it is too complicated or if it takes too long to set up or use. I wish you the best in getting those bills under control.

 

Monthly Routines

This is a quick run down of our monthly routines or tasks that I try to complete once a month. I have divided them up by weeks so that it helps me keep them on track. I only have five tasks per week so I only need to concentrate on one each day.

1st week:

  1. Check/Pay bills
  2. Change calendars
  3. Clean/Sanitize the dishwasher
  4. Make appointments
  5. Yard work

Ok so number one is a must! If you don’t do that one you will be sitting in the dark.

Number two is a little more detailed for us as this not only involves me flipping the page on my desk calendar but changing out the school calendar. I have different themes for different months/seasons. All the cards are printed out and laminated. I keep them separated by months in a small index card holder. (I will try to do a post on this another time.)

I have included a link for the third task. It is important to make sure you take care of your appliances so they will last.

I sit down and see who needs appointments for physicals and such. I also check through my mail to see if I have gotten any appointment cards for anyone.

We try to take care of any big yard work like weed eating, trimming bushes, etc.

2nd week:

  1. Run vinegar and water through the coffee pot
  2. Clean burner pans on the stove
  3. Spot clean couches
  4. Spot clean the carpets
  5. Garden

I have included a link to this first one. It is important to clean out your coffee maker to keep the germies away!

I usually need to clean the burner pans on the stove at least once a month. This reduces the chance of something catching on fire.

The next two are pretty self explanatory. With kids messes are inevitable. I try to clean up messes when they happen but sometimes I don’t see them right away. I take a few minutes, once a month, to check the furniture and give it a quick cleaning.

I do the same with the carpets. I have the Shark Sonic Duo and I love it! It cleans really well and dries really quickly. This machine comes in really handy for big messes too.

When we have a garden I will use this week to give it a little extra attention and let the kids get some hands on learning at the same time.

3rd week:

  1. Change water filters, if needed
  2. Clean vacuum filters
  3. Clean AC filters
  4. Clean out fridge
  5. Clean out freezer

I use a water filter on the kitchen sink for drinking water and our fridge has a filter also. We try to keep a check on them and replace them as needed.

A lot of the vacuums have filters that can be washed. I try to wash mine once a month. I also give the vacuum a good cleaning and check the roller as well.

We have window AC units and they stay in all year round. The ACs run much better and are  more efficient when the filters are cleaned on a regular basis. So this not only saves me money but helps keep us more comfortable as well.

Once a month our fridge gets a deep clean. We take everything out shelf by shelf and wash it. Then we dry it and put it right back.

Same with our large freezer. I try to take everything out shelf by shelf. I use laundry baskets and coolers to hold the items. Things can get a little disorganized when others help put away groceries so I try to organize it by shelf. I separate the fruits and produce, the meats by types, breads, and try to keep the small items or items that need to be used in the door.

4th week:

  1. Wash your car
  2. Menu planning
  3. Wash shower curtain
  4. Clean out tubs/showers
  5. Chicken pen

Our cars get really dirty here. If it rains they get covered in mud. If it doesn’t rain they get covered in dust. When I am in town running errands I try to run my truck through the car wash once a month.

I also take a day to review my upcoming month’s menus and rearrange meals to fit our schedules and budget for the month. If I have multiple meals that pop up for a day I will choose one and delete the rest of them. I will also try to keep in mind what foods are more readily available for whatever season we are in.

Once a month I try to remember to throw the shower curtain in the wash with a load of whites. I hang it up as soon as it is washed so it can dry. When the curtain is down it makes it easier to clean out the tub in the back bathroom. I normally have DD17 take care of that and I take care of the big tub and separate shower in my bathroom.

The bathrooms just smell so much better when you keep everything washed up on a regular basis and don’t give them a chance to gather any kind of funk.

This last week is when we give our chicken pens a little extra attention too. We try to give everything a good cleaning with the water house and replace shavings and whatnot. This keeps the chickens and the geese fairly happy.

I hope this has helped you with some ideas for setting up your own monthly routines.