Best Way to Organize Your Bills & Finances (FREE Printables)

PINTEREST bill and budget     I am the type of person that takes our finances very seriously. Occasionally we might splurge on something, but for the most part we try to save as much as we can and live within our means. I grew up in a single family home, living in government housing with a mother who lived paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the best money habits and there was a lot of money (that we didn’t have to begin with) wasted on frivolous things. I knew that when I became an adult I didn’t want to have a lot debt, poor credit or be irresponsible with my money. Because of this, there are several things I implement into my life in order to stay focused and organized.

One of the things I always do is pay first play later. Back in the day, my husband used to get paid and then excitedly skip on over to the store and spend his hard earned cash on something stupid unnecessary. He would spend money and then wonder why he didn’t have enough to pay for bills a week later! He just wasn’t wired like me. He never really paid attention to his bank account and would swipe his handy dandy little card without a care in the world. It wasn’t long before he realized that his actions were not beneficial for him or our family.

During our first year of marriage, we sat down together and discussed our goals for the future. We both wanted to own a home, have more children and maybe open up a small business. In order to meet those goals, we both agreed that we needed to put more effort into building our credit, saving our money and organizing our finances. I began to keep a simple spiral notebook that kept track of when our bills were due. As time went on, my needs began to change and eventually I created the Bill & Budget chart you see below. I am proud to say that since we started using these charts 6 years ago we have not been late on a single bill, EVER!

Another habit I have is scheduling very few automatic payments. Call me old school, but I feel that automatic payments make it too easy to miss discrepancies and billing issues. Plus, if you ever change card numbers it can be a pain! Once upon a time I forgot to switch over a card number for one of our automatic payments and even though we literally owed 1¢, our bill was considered late and we had to cough up a $30 late fee. Talk about a waste!!! I can assure you, that never happened again.

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There are a lot of resources and printables out there that claim to help you manage your bills, but I have found that most of those are missing important information which make paying bills more difficult. My Bill & Budget Organizer charts not only allow you to keep track of bill names, dates and amounts, it also allows you to organize of the following:

  • Usernames and passwords
  • Automatic and non-automatic payments
  • Confirmation numbers
  • Pending payments (when you have completed the action of paying your bill)
  • Completed payments (when a bill has come out of your bank account)
  • Payment schedule
  • Available spending money
  • Important account numbers, phone numbers, websites and card numbers

It is super simple. Once a year, I print out my Bill & Budget Organizer and place each page in a pocket protector inside of a 1 inch binder.  It takes me about 20 minutes to organize all of our information and then I am all set for the next year! If we add or get rid of a bill, I can simply print off a new sheet and add it to the binder in a matter of minutes. If you are interested in printing out my FREE Bill & Budget Organizer click here then scroll down to the lifestyle section!

What is the hardest part you face when budgeting? Do you currently organize your bills? Do you like having automatic payments? I would love to hear your thoughts!

As always, thank you so much for reading and have a blessed night,
Jasmine

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Top 5 Ways I Make Money From Home!

Top 5 ways.jpgI am very fortunate to have a hard working, supportive husband who provides for our family. He continuously works long hours so that I have the ability to homeschool our children and I am grateful for all of the priceless memories I have witnessed over the past six years. Although I love being a stay at home mom (SAHM), there were times that I wished I could contribute financially.

Part of the reason for wanting to contribute was to help take the pressure off of my husband. Being the sole provider for multiple people has to be a pretty scary feeling! The other part of me was not use to being dependent on another person. Even as a child, I always would find ways to earn a buck – walking dogs, baking goods and even the occasional lemonade stand. I began my first job at 15 and by the age of 17 I was working two jobs, interning with my orthodontist and completing dual enrollment at my local community college.

I’ve always been the type of person that needs to stay busy. I also enjoy having an income and knowing that I can provide for myself if needed. After the birth of my oldest child, I was busy taking in all of the challenges that come with being a new mother. In addition, I was 2000 miles away from any family or friends and my husband was in the military so it was just me, myself and I (plus little man ☺). Eventually, I found my mama groove and I began to look for ways to make money from home.

Unfortunately, I had trouble finding options that would work for me. Most of the opportunities I came across required a pushy sales pitch or just seemed like downright scams or pyramid schemes. I tried selling beauty products through companies like Arbonne, but failed terribly. I also attempted to work for a company that made cold calls. It was fairly easy, but they had unrealistic expectations in regards to how many people we needed to call daily. Personally, I think they did it on purpose so that they could keep all of their employees in the “probation period”.

After about three years of searching, I finally came across a few ways to make legitimate income from home! There are a few pros and cons to each of them, but they don’t require any cold calling or selling! Here are the top 5 ways I make an income from home:

1.) *User Testing
To be honest, I am not sure how I even came across User Testing, but this is for sure my favorite way to make $$$ from home. Basically, User Testing connects testers with companies that want to hear your opinion and feedback about their website or app. You are paid $10 for 5-20 minutes of your time and there are a lot of opportunities for moderated test (which are scheduled and pay more). For example, I recently participated in a moderated test that took 3 days to complete, but I only spent about 30 minutes a day completing the required tasks. In the end I was compensated $280! Not bad for an hour and a half of “work”. Another great thing about User Testing is that you are paid weekly through Paypal and you don’t have to reach a minimum amount before you get paid!

On average, I make about $200-300 a month through User Testing. If interested click here to sign up and start testing today!

2.) Ebates
At first I was reluctant to try Ebates because it sounded too good to be true. With Ebates, you can earn up to 40% cash back at your favorite stores. Retailers pay Ebates a fee when you shop and then they share the fee directly with you! You can also make money by referring customers to Ebates. For example, if you refer 10 friends you will be compensated $5 per person plus a $100 bonus! Instead of being paid weekly, Ebates will send you a big fat check quarterly. A few days ago I purchased a Dell laptop and received $140 cash back!

On average, I make about $100 a month ($300 quarterly) through Ebates without referrals. If you are interested in joining for FREE and getting an additional $10 cash back please click here!!

* Just a note, I am compensated if anyone signs up for Ebates through the above links. For those that do sign up, thank you! I appreciate the support and it allows me more time to work on my blog and provide additional free materials and resources for y’all 🙂

3.) Cross Media Panel

Cross Media Panel is a downloadable browser extension which helps Google better understand how consumers use technology and digital media by keeping track of what you search on the computer. You can add up to three devices and receive up to $12 a month for participating. It isnt much, but once the browser is installed you literally don’t do anything…just search as you normally would and it will collect the data. Back when it was called Screenwise Trends, they paid me through Paypal which was convenient, but now you can select from several gift cards once you reach $25. We usually save them up to use as gifts come Christmas time or we like to choose the Hotels.com gift card to help lower the cost of hotels while traveling.

Each month I earn $12 through Cross Media Panel. If interested click here to learn more.

4.) Opinion Outpost and Inbox dollars
Both Opinion Outpost and Inbox Dollars reward its members for completing surveys online. I prefer Opinion Outpost because I earn money a lot faster, but I have been successful at both. Opinion Outpost allows you to collect points that you can then redeem for money through Paypal. Earning 100 points is equal to $10 in cold hard cash. Most surveys I take pay around 20 points and take about 20 minutes to complete. Inbox Dollars pays per survey and most range from $.10 – $.75 each. You can also make money through Inbox Dollars by watching videos and purchasing content.

On average I can make about $50 a month through Opinion Outpost and $20 a month through Inbox Dollars, although lately I have been getting lazy and not completing many surveys.

5.) Freelance Graphic Design
The best way to make an income long term is to learn a skill or trade. I am currently finishing up my AS degree in Graphic Design, which is great because it gives me the flexibility to work for a company or freelance from home. Many colleges like mine also offer students the option to enroll in a graphic arts certificate program instead of a degree program. This means you can start making money from home in as little as 6 months! Sometimes staying home with minimal adult interaction can put me in a funk and being able to express myself creatively really helps me stay sane.

The pay here varies, but with a certification and a great portfolio you can easily charge clients $30 an hour for freelance work. Last month I made about $600 in additional income from freelance graphic design work.

So how do you make money from home? Do you think working from home is more challenging with little ones around or more freeing? I would love to hear your thoughts and let me know if any of the above help you start making additional income for your home!

Thank you for reading.

Jasmine