#15: Does paying bills stress you out?

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Here’s a quick look at episode 15: Does paying bills stress you out?

In this episode, I’m sharing my method for budgeting and paying bills. It revolutionized our finances and improved our marriage big time!

Morgan and I rarely, if ever, argue about money now.

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Well hello there! Welcome back to the redefining Bold podcast. You’re listening to episode number 15 and I’m your host Gwen Whitfield from theboldabode.com, where I guide warm-hearted women in their quest for a more organized, cleaner home and a more productive and vibrant life.

Do you ever feel stressed about money? About paying your bills?

If you answer yes, then I am certain you are in the majority of humans on the planet. If no, then congratulations! You are ahead of the game.

As I’m writing this episode, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. And I am certain that part of the global stress is economic. We’ve been really fortunate in that we have not lost any significant amount of income. My husband’s job has been stable and he has been continuing to get a regular paycheck.

My income, is definitely down from last year. The only income I make as I’m writing this is from the ads on my website, the bold about.com. When everything shut down, add revenue really declined. It stayed pretty flat throughout the summer, though I’m starting to see a little bit of a rebound.

And as a sidenote, I’m really working hard to have some other income streams because add revenue is so unpredictable. Pinterest is my primary traffic source, and they change things all the time so my page views go up and down pretty regularly. It’s not terribly volatile but over the past few years has really really declined and thus my income also has declined. So I would rather not have to go and get a job outside the home. I really love being able to stay at home, and I really love this podcast and I really love the connections that I making because of the podcast. So my dream goal is really to be able to have a full-time income through this podcast and my website and any other books I might write in the future, I’m thinking about doing a membership site or maybe a course of some kind.

But if you listen to episode 11 I mean if you listen to episode 11, I talked about tiny habits. And setting tiny goals. And so I have some of these big giant goals, that totally overwhelmed me, but by breaking them down into little things that I can do work on every day , I can get closer to where I want to be by doing what I truly feel called to do. So in the meantime financially we’re just watching what we spend and doing everything we can to be physically responsible. 

And one of the ways that I do that, is to make sure that we always have money set aside, to pay the bills. I don’t want to ever have to think about having enough money to pay our rent or electricity or Internet or insurance or Hulu or Netflix. Because you know those are really really important in our house.

Fortunately, I figured out a system that makes that so easy to do. I never have to worry about paying any bill. And it works like a dream.

About four or five years ago, I took over all of our finances. Morgan was great at it, but I could tell that it was just adding stress to his life. And since I work from home, and I make my own schedule, I have more time and it’s not as stressful for me to do. 

So when I took over here is what I did:

The first thing I did was open up another account. We had one main checking account and a savings account. That we were using to both pay bills and buy groceries and gas and go to movies and what not. But by doing that I was always so afraid that we would go over budget and that I would not have enough money at the end to pay our electricity bill or God for bid our mortgage.

So by opening that other account I created a bills account, and a household account.

So our family uses Quicken to do our budgeting and our bills. I love it so much because you can schedule your bills and I’ll talk about that in a minute.

So I set both accounts up in Quicken and then I took all of our bills in the bills account, I scheduled out every bill so everything that we regularly pay monthly or yearly. So I know what will be paid and when. 

So when we get paid, I go in that account and update it so the deposit is there, and it’s easy to update because it connects to our bank and it just downloads all of our transactions. And that’s just so amazing.

So after it downloads everything the deposits and what not, I’ll go in and then see the bills that are coming due during that pay period,  And I’ll mark them as paid.  So I know that everything is accounted for in that bills account. I even have fake bill reminders for savings. So anything that we only pay yearly, like our property tax for vehicles, I put in a fake bill reminder for a portion of that. So our property taxes will say they’re around $400 a year, I will put in about a $35 “Bill” every month. And market as paid. That way when the bill comes due in December, I have a specific amount set aside to pay that bill. So we’re never slammed with any big large whoppers unexpectedly.

So once I mark everything is paid, I’ll see what is left over in our budget and our move the amount of money we need for groceries and gas and a little bit extra for unforeseen things that we need to pay for, anything for school or church or just something that might come up but it’s not a big bill that we need to save for or pay monthly.

So I know that the amount in our household account, is dedicated towards our household expenses. And I can grocery shop or go out to eat and not worry about spending anything over what we need to pay our bills. It is the easiest way to budget in my opinion, and not have to worry about whether or not you’re gonna have money to pay everything. That’s stressful enough in and of itself, right?

So in the bills account those items that we’ve marked as “paid”, will match when I update it in Quicken. So it’ll download transactions and make a match with anything that I’ve marked in as a bill. If something is a little bit off, it will probably just download it as another transaction. So I have to go in periodically and check the bills and let’s say our phone bill comes in and it’s just a little bit off because you know how they change things all the time with new fees or whatever, and so I might have to delete the transaction that I scheduled, because it’s in there twice. But if you do know ahead of time what the bill is going to be, like we do get our electricity bill before it’s paid, you can go in there and change the amount and it’ll match automatically. So that’s you know I much better way to do it rather than to wait and have to go through and look through and see what is doubled in there in your check register. But you know I know I have the money in there to pay it so if I just go in and find that transaction I can just delete it and everything’s great.

Using this strategy, has really helped alleviate a lot of the burden of budgeting and the stress of paying bills. Every bill that we have other than something like our property taxes or doctors bills that might come in, we pay through a draft. So I highly recommend that if you don’t have all of your bills set up on draft that’s the first thing you do so you get used to things coming out automatically too. And anything that I have to pay by check, I use our bill pay through our bank. We do have to pay swim team dues by check, so I have that address already set up in our bill pay, and I just go in when I get the invoice and pay it. But the bill reminder is in Quicken. So I don’t have to add that in it is already there.

I just go through this quickly again in case it was confusing. I have two accounts one specifically for recurring bills that I know we have to pay every month, and one account specifically for household expenses like grocery gas, entertainment, eating out and that’s really about it.

And then I have both accounts set up in Quicken and have Bill reminders for all of our recurring bills. When we get paid I go in and mark those bills that are coming out during that pay period I’ll mark as paid.  Then when the bills come through, and I updated in Quicken it will match the bills unless it’s a little bit off and then I have to go in and delete the bill reminder that is the wrong amount. And after I have marked everything is paid, for that two weeks, then I will move an allotted amount over to our household account to use for groceries and gas and other expenses.

I really love this way of doing things. Because I not only do I have all our bills paid, but I force ourselves to save a little bit every month. Now over the past six months I’ll say that we’ve had to use some of that to help our older son Morgan because he hasn’t been able to work out in school. And that’s OK because I had a good amount saving every month that we could then rename in our budget to go to him.

That cushion really helped us during this incredibly crazy time.

I hope that all made sense. If you have any questions just email me I’ll be happy to try to explain it better if it didn’t make sense to you. It’s so easy to do and really really really I can’t recommend it enough.

One of the most difficult things in marriage comes with dealing with your finances.  According to market watch.com, nearly half of all arguments in marriage are about money. And that is just horrible! And I know to be true because before we started doing this we definitely had some discussions that were not pleasant that were about money. And we still do have some of those but not anywhere near as much. In fact our disagreements have decreased tremendously because we have a really good handle on our financial life. A couple years ago we completely paid off all of our debt. So we’re completely debt-free. I’ll probably going to talk about that in a future podcast so I don’t want to go into that in too much detail right now, but if you’re struggling with that, that can really affect your marriage too.

So getting a handle on just the bills and the groceries and knowing what you need to spend first and what you need a budget and what bills are coming in and when to pay them and you know that you have enough money to pay them, will lighten your load tremendously.

I hope that this podcast today has been helpful! I’m so honored that you’re here listening to this and again if you have any questions, you can email me at gwen@theboldabode.com.  

Thanks so much for listening! And I’ll catch you in the next episode.

If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to hit subscribe and wherever you were listening, or you can go to THEBOLDABODE.com/subscribe and I will send you an email every Wednesday when we release a new podcast!   Thanks so much.

Does paying bills stress you out? If it does, hold onto your seat because I have the answer an episode 15 of the Redefining Bold podcast.

My method of budgeting and paying bills has transformed not only our financial life, but also we rarely argue about money anymore. That’s really good for a marriage if you’re not arguing over your finances.

So sit back and have a listen and see if my method is the answer you’ve been searching for!

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