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What system do you have?

(13 Posts)
fizzykola Wed 23-Jan-13 23:28:24

Right, the resolution is to get a bit more on top of money and paperwork.

DH and I are both pretty rubbish and we need a proper system. When letters from a bank, or mobile bill, or insurance documents etc arrive they tend to get opened then flung on a bookcase only to fall down the back and disappear as a child flings themself towards us. We sort of muddle through (badly). Once we drove around without an MOT or tax disc for a few months because neither of us had remembered to do anything about it blush.

So what's your family's system? What do you do when paperwork comes in, or action to renew something needs to be taken, or even keep track of spending and bank accounts? And how do you split the jobs (or do you)?

I know it ain't mission impossible, but we really seem to struggle to stay on top of it.

Thanks for any advice.

NatashaBee Wed 23-Jan-13 23:46:20

I have a spreadsheet with a tab for each payday and the various regular outgoings and amounts. I tend to have about the next 4-6 months set up in there. I sometimes adjust amounts as needed if the amounts change for some items, eg gas and phone bills, or if a one off expense is coming up i add that in too. Everything is totalled up at the bottom and deducted from our total income to show what we have left as fun money.

On a separate tab I have a list of one off outgoings and the month they need to be paid, eg car tax, summer holiday activities, Christmas, birthdays, tax preparation fees.

I aim to get all the bills paid on payday so that we know what we have left to play with - we have a designated spot we leave them all in a pile at and deal with them all on payday. I live abroad now but when I lived in the UK I had an ING account with separate saving pots, which was great for saving up throughout the year for yearly expenses, I used to have one pot for each item, eg holiday, car tax, study fees, that sort of thing.

I would start by using the moneysavingexpert calculator to get a list of all your outgoings so you don't forget anything - their template has pretty much everything you can think of in there.

starfishmummy Thu 24-Jan-13 00:23:36

Basket to put all bills etc in and deal with on once a week (same day) and file stuff when paid/dealt with. I used a display book(?) that had plastic wallets I designated one for each month. If you tend to forget to pay regular bills then set up a direct debit or standingn order.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Jan-13 07:18:23

I use Microsoft Money free to download here for all financial matters. It took an afternoon to set all the accounts and Direct Debits up initially but, once that's done, it can be updated with receipts and balanced against statements. I find it invaluable for budgeting and projecting future cashflow.

I always select paperless or electronic statements for banks/credit cards/utilities etc so that I don't get lots of paper. The few things that are still on paper e.g. insurance policy documents, mortgage details, council tax stuff... are stored in a large basket which is gone through periodically and anything old/useless is binned.

For renewals and anything else that I need to be reminded about I use my mobile phone's calendar function smile

CabbageLeaves Thu 24-Jan-13 07:31:37

Cognito. I have an ancient Microsoft money which is on a a disc and probably be incompatible with next PC. Was dreading losing it because its fantastic and I thought it hadn't been replaced. But it has?

issimma Thu 24-Jan-13 07:33:33

One big box file for paperwork, divided into car / insurance / ID, etc.

Monthly excel budget spreadsheet.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Jan-13 07:51:32

It hasn't been replaced CabbageLeaves. Microsoft no longer support the application and some of the frillier extra features don't work any more but you can still download the 'Deluxe Sunset Edition' (for free), it still runs absolutely fine, still connects to live share prices etc, and it's still the best personal finance software I've tried.... and I've tried quite a few now. My laptop runs on Windows 7...

Give it a try and then you can probably consign your disc to a museum smile

MrsHoarder Thu 24-Jan-13 07:56:00

Post gets opened, anything for "action" gets put on the table, everything else goes in the in-trays (one each). Roughly monthly the filing fairy DH puts them all in folders.

Most payments are DDs which helps.

fieldfare Thu 24-Jan-13 08:04:59

Organise your payments to be by direct debit at the beginning of the month/when you get paid.
Have a spreadsheet with all regular bills listed, all annual bills listed and all occasions that you need to spend on - holidays/birthdays/Xmas. Average the cost of these occasions over the year and divide by 12 to save the right amount each month. Have a contingency's pot so if something breaks down the money is already there.
Budget a reasonable amount for food/school lunches/fuel.

Anything left is fun money. I try to save half in my contingency pot and have half to spend.

Re: letters though, they go in my tray in the kitchen if they need actioning and are dealt with on my day off. Otherwise they are put in the filing tray and filed once a month or so.

oneofthosedays Thu 24-Jan-13 19:22:30

I have a small filing box for all paper bills and other important stuff, i then do a list of incomings/outgoings each month and date they are due out.

We have accounts for main incomings then standing orders set to several other accounts for food, general spends, savings, holiday, xmas and car. So we should in theory never overspend (and tbf don't all that often). The incoming/outgoing list doesn't vary a lot from month to month but i still do it anyway.

specialsubject Thu 24-Jan-13 20:59:16

one calendar with all the dates on it.

'action' tray and 'filing' tray. Ruthless paper reduction, (e.g. as many bills as possible on direct debit, standing order or paperless). Examine each piece of paper that comes in, dispose of the endless spare sheets, keep the minimum. Any junk that comes in is binned or recycled IMMEDIATELY, keep your recycling box somewhere easy.

monthly bills should not change that much. Tot them up, work out a suitable food budget and stick to it. Allocate money for other essentials, including savings. Try a spreadsheet.

once set up, should be easy.

fizzykola Fri 25-Jan-13 22:07:22

Thanks so much everyone. I need me an in-tray. And a free afternoon to get started.

It sounds like most of you manage it, rather than DPs.

Maybe that's easiest, for one person to be on top of it, although I'd really rather it wasn't me...

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 09:01:34

I don't have a DP and, besides, come from a long line of formidable women that told every girl in the family, very firmly, as soon as they were old enough to count never trust some idiot man with your money! smile

I think the most important thing is to keep track of money coming in and money going out. Know exactly what you've got, where it is and what your commitments are. Have fun.

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