Knowing how to keep track of bills and payments is an important part of managing your finances. It ensures that you make your payments on time, which impacts other aspects of your finances.
So if you want to avoid fees and interest charges while also improving your credit score, then take advantage of these tips on how to keep track of bills and payments.
How to get organized to keep track of bills and payments
You’re probably wondering how to keep track of bills you have so that you can pay them on time. Here’s how:
Create a list of bills to pay
Keeping track of your bills and payments begins by knowing what bills you have. This means that you need a list of bills to pay each month or year.
Take a moment to list all of your recurring bills. Write down how much they are and when they are due. For example, your $150 cell phone bill may be due on the 15th of each month.
Remember that some bills are yearly or irregular. You don’t want to forget those bills that come once a year and often aren’t on your radar, so plan ahead.
Here are some examples of bills to list out to help get you started. You can also pull three of your most recent bank statements to see which bills you have been paying.
Example list of bills to pay monthly
- Rent or mortgage
- HOA fees
- Cell phone
- Credit card
- Student loans & other debts
- Subscriptions & memberships
- Car payment
Example list of bills to pay yearly
Add your bills to your calendar
One way to keep track of bills and payments is to add a reminder to your calendar. You can use a paper planner to write down when each bill is due every month and the amount. This is a good option if you “live by a planner” and will visit it often.
Another way to do this is with a digital calendar. You can simply create calendar events for each bill on the date that they’re due.
Set reminders to pay them
Setting a reminder to pay your bills works best if you’re already using a digital calendar. All you have to do is add reminders to the bill events on your calendar. This way, you don’t forget to pay them.
Don’t worry if you’re not using a digital calendar. You can still set up bill pay reminders using apps on your phone. In fact, if you have an iPhone, you can use the free Reminders app to schedule reminder notifications.
Put them on autopay
The most failproof way to pay your bills on time is to use automatic payments or autopay. If you feel comfortable, put your bills on auto payment so that you don’t have to think about paying them. This ensures that they’re always paid on time.
Most service providers offer this as an option. However, be sure to check to see if there are additional fees for this service. If so, account for those fees in your budget as well.
You can also set up autopay using your bank. This option should be available in your online account. If you’re not able to find it, contact your bank for help.
Create a bill organization system
If everything is all over the place, it’ll be impossible to keep track of bills and payments. So organization is key!
One way to stay organized is to switch to digital versions of your bills. This means that you’ll have fewer paper bills and a lot less clutter in your home. You’ll also help the environment!
But don’t let your email inbox fill up! Stay organized by creating a bill folder for digital bills that come via email.
Once you’ve paid them, you can move them to a ‘Paid’ folder in your inbox or delete them. Another option is to save them in a cloud storage app like Dropbox or Google Drive.
If you decide to take your organization even further, you can set up an email address just for your bills so that you don’t have to worry about them getting lost among other emails.
Not quite ready to switch to digital? If you plan to continue getting paper bills, have a specific place to store unpaid paper bills. Once they’re paid, move them to a “paid” pile until it’s time to shred them.
Use a paycheck budget
Hopefully, you’re budgeting so that you know where your money is going. If you’re not–and even if you are–a great budget to use is a paycheck budget.
A paycheck budget helps you plan for all of the bills and expenses that fall within that pay period. So, for example, you can plan for one paycheck to pay for specific bills while the next covers the rest.
5 Tools to keep track of bills and payments
There is no one right way to keep track of your bills and when you pay them. The most important thing is choosing something that you can stick with. It should also be something that you can easily access to make sure you’re staying on top of your bills.
Here are some ways that you can keep track of bills and payments for your budget.
Spreadsheets are great for helping you manage your money. You can create a budget and bill tracker using a spreadsheet.
Today, spreadsheets have so much functionality that can help you track just about anything! So if you’re great with spreadsheets, consider creating one to track your bills and when you’ve paid them.
The great thing is that you can access most spreadsheets from apps on your phone! This means that you can use it to make updates on the go.
2. Budgeting and money management apps
Apps that you can access from your phone are also a great way to keep track of your bills. They take all of the work out of creating your own tracker.
The other benefit is that you can connect these apps to your bank account to automatically track your payments and transactions.
If you’re wondering if there is a free app to keep track of bills, the answer is yes! There are plenty of free money management apps that you can download to track your bills. These apps are free unless you want more advanced features.
What is a good app to keep track of bills?
Here are a few budgeting and money management apps that you can check out to keep track of bills and payments.
3. Transaction register
Depending on your age, perhaps you're familiar with a checkbook register. For most of us, it’s what our grandparents used to keep track of their spending and account balances.
Though it’s a bit rare, it’s definitely not a lost art. Even if you don’t use checks, you can still grab a checkbook register to keep track of your spending and bill payments.
4. Expense tracker sheets
If a transaction register seems a bit too formal, you can always use expense tracker sheets. These have the same functionality; however, you can find many different versions or create your own.
Don’t worry! You can grab all of our financial worksheets for free.
5. Use a hybrid approach
There’s nothing wrong with using a combination of the methods listed above. This means that you can manually track your bills & expenses even if you’re using an app.
This is always a great idea so that you are constantly looking at your finances and not leaving anything up to chance!
Key times to keep track of bills and payments
Keeping track of your bills doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can choose a routine that works for you. The key, though, is being consistent.
When the expenses happen
You may choose to track your payments and other transactions as they happen. This can be done automatically with a money management app that’s connected to your bank account. Or, you can manually log those transactions in your spreadsheet, ledger, or tracker.
At the end of the day
Another great practice is to gather your receipts at the end of the day and input them into your tracker. This is also a perfect time to update your budget to make sure you’re on track.
Schedule a specific time each night to go over your finances and make sure everything is accounted for.
Once per week during your budgeting time
You shouldn’t go more than one week without tracking your expenses. Not only will they pile up, but you may forget. Schedule a specific day each week to go over your expenses and update your budget if you’re not doing it daily.
Make it easy for yourself to keep track of bills and payments!
Managing your finances doesn’t have to be hard. Hopefully, you can leverage the tips shared here to make it easy to keep track of bills and payments.