Managing your household budget

Hey let’s face it – you are running a small business.  As you sit at your kitchen table working through you bills, you are not only the CFO but also everything from President to Janitor.  If you don’t get the job done . . . it doesn’t get done.

Sometimes, juggling the car payment, groceries and credit card bills can get a little unnerving.  If you don’t plan out what is due and when it is due, you can find yourself in “hot water”.

I have found that a great way to avoid the stress that comes with paying bills is to keep a schedule.  Some people like to use different software like Prism or Quicken and others like to go “old school” and use something called a pen and paper (not sure how well this last one works . . . never heard of it).

Keeping track of your bills is an important step in managing your money, but here are a few other ideas you may have thought about but not done yet:

– Switch mobile carriers:  Everybody is offering a deal to switch and since you can keep you phone number, you might be able to get a better deal.  Word of caution – check out how well your potential new cellular carrier handles service issues and what type of coverage they have.

– Cut cable:  With so many options now available to stream content online, you have to ask yourself, “do I still need cable or do I have it because it’s always been a part of my life?”  Maybe it’s time to cut the life-line to cable . . . it is definitely time to give your cable company a call and see if they can reduce your monthly bill in order to keep you.

– Use coupons:  A friend of mine said that he never uses coupons.  I don’t get it . . . coupons are free money from advertisers just to get your business.  Certainly you need to make sure that you are not simply spending more money because you have a coupon (reminds me of the old saying “how can I be out of money?  I still have checks in my checkbook”).  If you have ever shopped at Kohls you know you have to be careful.  After every purchase you will receive a coupon or bonus bucks or something to pull you back into the store.  Don’t buy it if you don’t need it.  Coupons, like everything else, are best used in moderation 🙂

– Set yourself a budget:  If you keep two separate bank accounts (savings and checking) and have your employer direct deposit your paycheck into both accounts, you can keep only the money you have budgeted in your checking account and fool yourself into thinking that you only have a limited amount of money you can spend.  The money in the other account can be used to save for the future, save for vacation, pay off bills, etc.

By taking the time to get your personal finances in order, you can make sure that are able to pay your bills in a timely manner and not get stressed out and “all wet”.

Good Luck!