How was your Friday the 13th? Mine’s been lovely. I spent some time with my nephew Jamie and his gorgeous mum Sunny. We went for a stroll along the water here where we live in Southport. The sky was deep blue with not a single cloud in sight; one of our first true winter-y days. Beautiful.
While managing money is definitely not one of my strengths (ex spend-aholic), I am slowly learning how to keep up with our finances. One of the best pieces of advice I have been given by an excellent accountant I know, was to decide who out of the two of us, would solely pay bills and manage the money. I’m sure a lot of couples out there can share this responsibility, and some couples just do their own thing and don’t share money or accounts. But for Shane and I, we were sharing money, sharing the responsibility of paying bills; and sharing the problems caused by that not really working out for us. We didn’t know who had paid what bill and this caused some late fees and frustrations.
Shane and I decided that as I have the extra time, it would be I who managed our money (I guess I drew the short straw here! Lol). It was tough at the start for me to have this level of responsibility on my shoulders, but I am slowly getting there. I think the biggest breakthrough for me, was when I realised in order to do this successfully, I needed to know exactly what was coming in, and what was going out (Duh!). I was curious to see just how much of our hard-earned money I was “fritting away” on Ahem, can I say crap in my blog?? Sure, it’s my blog.
So I kept a cute little notebook and pen in my bag at all times, and would write down every single dollar we spent while out. At the end of the week, I added it all up and basically, was shocked.
Needless to say once you know how much you earn, how much you spend, and how much, if any, you have left over to either save or pay off debt, life seems to become a whole lot more enjoyable, honest and (can I be a little Dr Phil here) REAL. I found I really needed to be down-right honest with myself about money and accept the fact that it is NOT acceptable to use the credit card for awesome new jeans and pretend that it is ok...
We still use a book to keep record of what we spend on shopping, food, bills and fuel etc, and this enables me to work out our budget. I actually enjoy it these days (especially getting out my cute little calculator), and I feel somewhat empowered.
I have already mentioned my trusty Bill List on a whiteboard near the kitchen. I use this to keep track of bills due. I also have another great thing in the house that keeps me organised with bills and general paper work to be filed. It’s a 3- tiered A4 size plastic container that stands up-right on the desk (will post photo. I got this from Officeworks). Each of the 3 tiers is labelled (naturally)- one is Bills to Pay; the next is Paper to File; and the third is Medical. As I am pregnant the Medical tier is relevant. In another stage of my life, this third drawer might become Outgoing Mail or such. I can imagine one day we might need another of these containers, for paper work such as School Notices. It does mean that I have to handle all my mail twice- into the container and then once it’s been “actioned” (for e.g. bill paid or school fete attended), into the filing cabinet or shredded (my favourite job!). Some Professional Organisers advise that you only handle paperwork once. But I don’t enjoy having to go to the filing cabinet every day; I find my system works for me.
Now if only I could get on top of rolling over my superannuation.... Suggestions anyone?? :-)Thanks for reading.