Posted on May 3, 2018 at 10:30 am by BeeMyMinder
Our top ways to organise your bills, once and for all
There are two routes that you can take when it comes to organising your bills and managing your finances. You could employ a financial advisor, or go solo. Depending on your own unique needs, or for more complex financial planning, a professional might be necessary.
However, this service does come with a cost, upwards of £100 per hour. That’s why we wanted to explore some of the steps that you can take today to organise your bills, once and for all.
Understand what you’re spending
The first step in organising your bills is to understand what you’re spending and where your money is being spent. One of the easiest ways to monitor this is to set a day aside and create a household spending planning, as well as a household budget planner.
To get started on your household-spending plan, you’ll need to know how much you’re paying for:
- Household bills (Internet, phone line, TV license, gas, electricity, water etc)
- Living costs (how much – on average – you spend on a weekly food shop)
- Financial products (insurance policies etc)
- Presents (for family and friends)
- Travel costs (car repayments, fuel costs, public transport, taxis)
- Leisure (eating out, holidays, sporting activities, hobbies)
Once you’ve got the total for each amount, add it onto a master spreadsheet or a household budget planner. Next, add in any income that you receive each month, whether this is a through a job or any side-hustles that you’re taking part in.
Subtract the outgoings from the incomings and you’ll have your total disposable income. Some of this can be set aside as savings, or if you have outstanding debts, then it can be used to pay them off.
Control your debts
When it comes to organising your bills and managing your household finances, it’s important that you focus on controlling your existing debts.
Unfortunately, credit card spending does play a large part of our everyday lives, but if you’re not careful then it can soon become unmanageable.
If you have loans or owe money, we recommend that you focus on paying off the highest rate of interest first. These include:
- Credit cards
- Store cards
- Personal loans from the bank
Once you’ve established what’s charging you the highest interest, review your credit agreements. If there are minimum monthly payments that need to be made, make sure you overpay. Don’t overstretch yourself, but if you can pay extra, do.
Consolidate all your household bills
When it comes to organising your household bills, it’s always a good option to keep everything in one central location. Whether this is a filing cabinet, a ring binder or a smartphone app, keeping all your bills together helps to streamline your efforts.
If you’re going down the digital route, then it’s important that you remember when your payment and renewal dates are. Not only does this help you to pay everything on time, but it also reminds you when it’s time to compare the market for a better deal.
Pick the best payment method for you
When it comes to organising your finances, it’s important that you establish which payment method is going to be most beneficial for you. It can be a hard task to manage your bills, especially if you’re living on your own or in shared accommodation. Before they start to pile up and overwhelm you, take a look at the following payment methods to see which would be the best fit.
- Direct Debit – Paying by Direct Debit is one of the most popular ways of paying bills and staying on top of finances. Remember, you need to make sure that the money is in your account, or the payment will be returned and you may be charged.
- Pay online or via telephone banking – Paying online or via telephone banking is another quick, easy way to pay off your bills. However, it’s important that you set reminders of when payments are due, so you don’t miss a payment.
- Post Office – You are able to pay a bill at the Post Office, either by cash or card. This is an easier option, especially if you haven’t been set up with Internet or telephone banking. There may be a charge for using this service.
- Prepayment meter – Common in rented accommodation or student properties, gas and electric can be prepaid by topping up a key or a card. However, this is one of the most expensive ways to pay, and when the money runs out, the gas and electricity cut off.
Set yourself savings goals
Another way to help manage your household finances and rest easy at night is to set yourself a savings goal. Not only does this help regularly set money aside for unforeseen situations, but it also helps to get you into the habit of making regular payments.
The regular schedule of setting money aside makes you more aware of how much disposable income you can afford to save each month.
One popular method of saving is to set up a standing order to a separate account. These standing orders don’t have to be for large amounts, but the number soon rises. An article published by Apartment Therapy shows you how to save nearly £1500 a year without any effort.
Simply save £1 on a Monday, £2 on a Tuesday and £7 on a Sunday. The cycle then repeats on a weekly basis. It’s far more consistent than saving a large amount once a month.
Review your payments regularly
When you’re regaining control over your household bills, it’s important that you review the payments that you’re making regularly. There are several benefits to this including:
- You’ll be able to budget accordingly for the rest of the year. If you know how much you have to pay each month, you can set a certain amount of money aside each week to ensure that the bills are covered.
- You’ll be able to search for a better deal. If you’re coming to the end of a contract or your introductory offer is ending, then now’s the time to research whether you could get a better deal elsewhere.
- You’re able to see where you need to cut back. If you’re regularly overspending on leisure activities and not paying off as much of your debt as you could, then it’s time to set a plan in action to change this. The longer you have outstanding debt on a credit card, the more interest accumulates.
Ask for help
Taking on the task of organising your debts and household bills can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re already struggling to make the monthly payments.
If you’re worried about reducing your debt or simply need advice based on your current situation, there are plenty of charities and organisations out there that can help. These include:
- Debt Advice Foundation
- Money Advice Trust
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Christians Against Poverty
- StepChange Debt Charity
- National Debtline
So there we have it, our top tips for organising your household bills and personal finances. Remember, it takes careful planning and a memory for repayment dates, especially if you’re planning to rid yourself of previous debt.
However, all of these steps are only our advice. If you’re looking for specific advice, then please make sure that you consult a professional financial consultancy or a financial advice charity.
Remember, BeeMyMinder is now available to download as a handy smartphone app. It helps you monitor your policies and keep them organised in one secure, central location. It’s free to register and comes with a host of benefits. Download the app today and start your journey.