I often have that nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something.
Recently that nagging feeling has been popping up more and more.
The thing is, I’m not normally the type that forgets things, but I’ve never had a system in place to ensure that I’ve covered my bases.
That changed this past weekend.
Figuring Out Why The Nagging Feeling Exists
The first thing I had to do to get rid of the nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something is to figure out what it was that I was afraid of forgetting.
As my life has progressed, I have constantly been adding more and more layers of things that require my attention.
I’ve been able to handle these layers of complication with confidence up until we recently were married.
Why was marriage the breaking point that caused the nagging feeling of forgetting something to become more constant in my life? When we got married, we combined our finances.
I was pretty involved in both of our finances before we were married, but now I am the go to person for our finances and have taken the majority of the responsibility of making sure our bills are all paid on time.
I now feel even more responsible for our finances due to the fact that I have someone else relying on me to make sure our finances are in tip top shape. I don’t want to make any mistakes by forgetting something, so the nagging feeling persists.
How I’m Getting Rid of The Nagging Feeling
So how do I get rid of that nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something? This past weekend it hit me in the face. The answer is so obvious that I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this with my finances the whole time! What did I do?
I set up a spreadsheet with all of our bills and financial obligations! It might be slightly nerdy, but it makes perfect sense to me. At my job we have lots of spreadsheets to help us keep track of the tasks that need to be done, along with due dates and other reminders to ensure we don’t forget anything.
This is exactly what I needed to and will be doing with my finances from this point forward.
My Financial Reminder Spreadsheet
My financial reminder spreadsheet is pretty simple at this point and I hope it stays that way. The point isn’t to make something complex, but something that can be completed quickly and something that is useful at a glance.
To make sure that I’m not forgetting any bills, payments or other important financial events I’ve made a list of all of our bills and financial obligations and then began to fill out some information about each one.
For each obligation I made sure to note:
- When I should receive my statement
- When each bill (credit card, utility bill, etc) is due
- The amount due (if a fixed amount)
- How often I have to pay each obligation
Next, across the top I listed each month by statement dates. Where each obligation and statement date month meets, I’ll simply either put in no balance (if I don’t have a payment due that month) or paid in the box when I receive/pay each bill.
This way I can make sure that I’m not forgetting any financial obligation or payment due date.
This was a simple solution to a problem that has been building over the last few months for me that was staring me in the face every day at work. I’m surprised I didn’t see the solution sooner!
Have you ever taken something you do at work and applied it to your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Update: Since publishing this article over five years ago, I still continue using this spreadsheet today. It has gotten slightly more complex as I’ve started playing the credit card sign up bonus game.
I’ve added columns for sign up date, date to cancel the credit card (if there is an annual fee I don’t want to pay) and how much I need to spend to earn the bonus. I’ve also added another tab to the spreadsheet to track the balance of my credit card rewards and when they expire.
I’m so glad I started tracking all of this information. It has given me a ton of peace of mind that I’m not forgetting to pay a bill.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.
Monday 5th of October 2015
The thing that helps us keep current on bills is the act of jointly reviewing our spending figures each month. I post everything on Quicken and do the bank reconciliations and hubby uses my report to put the figures in our spending report to determine where we are for the month. If I don't pay the gas bill or lawn service one month, we get out the prior invoices to see if I'd received one for the current month. Many times it is a timing issue like in February, or during a long month, we get two bills a month, like on the first and 31st. Many bills I have automated so I don't have to write the check, however, I do have to put the amount in the checkbook so we always get it on the report.
Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way
Monday 5th of October 2015
I just started using spreadsheet for my income and expenses, in this way I can easily track down it all and compared every month. I'm also a big fan of Google Drive, I think I can't live without it!
Simon @ Modest Money
Tuesday 27th of August 2013
As most commentators here, three things come to mind of how some of my office habits and tools have trickled into my personal life: a) Spreadsheets - I think I have spreasheets for most things. Assets, expenses, budgets, portfolios etc. Just makes work easy and clear. b) Checklists and to-do lists - Its not over till everything on the list is ticked :) c) Google Calendar - Set those reminders and forget all about it till it pops up or you get an email. With this, I rarely forget well, most of the crucial things.
Daisy @ Young Finances
Monday 26th of August 2013
I'm always taking things that I do at work and applying them to my home life. One of them is my filing system in my emails. My work email is meticulous, and now so is my personal and blog emails.
The bills that I had a really hard time remembering to pay, I automated. It works out well :)
Emily @ evolvingPF
Monday 26th of August 2013
We actually don't use this system but it's so simple there's no reason not to! My husband has actually forgotten to pay one of our bills twice in a row now. I use lists and productivity tools all the time but we don't have a go-to map of bills and deadlines and such. Good luck and I hope that nagging feeling is banished!