Finance Binder Tour

UPDATE: I’ve had a lot of requests for me to make a completed finance binder, so I now offer a complete, assembled finance binder like this one in my Etsy shop. Click here to view it in my shop.

I’ve just created a new system for my bill paying in 2014, and I’m so excited to share it with you! I think this is going to work really well for me.

BudgetBinder

I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t previously super organized with my bill paying. I always paid my bills as soon as they arrived, and then saved them for a few months before tossing them out (with of a few exceptions of specific bills I thought I should save longer).  Some (like our internet bill) I just tossed right away. Some of our bills are auto drafted, some come via e-mail and I pay them online, and some come via snail mail. Since I just pay them when they arrive, I don’t pay a lot of attention and couldn’t really remember which came via e-mail and which were snail mail. We keep a good buffer in our bank account and only live on the income we actually brought in the previous month, so fortunately I never have to worry if there is money in the account to cover the bill.

Once last year I had a clothing credit card bill (you know the ones where you save so much percent by signing up for their credit card?) that got lost in the mail. Since it never arrived at my house, and I wasn’t really organized about making sure I paid each bill each month, I had no idea it was outstanding. By the time the next bill actually did arrive, they had tacked a $20 late fee on to my $29 pair of jeans! Yikes, those were some expensive jeans! So much for the 20% I saved by using their credit card! Needless to say, I knew then that I needed a much better system.

BudgetBinder 3

I’m using an Arc (from Staples) full size cover and discbound system. It came with the flower and butterfly design on it. I cut the “2014 Finances” part out of white vinyl and put it on the cover. I did put some bigger rings on than what it came with because I know I’ll need the extra space by the end of the year, and it’s much easier to do before it’s full of pages.

BudgetBinder 18

Next, I printed the Due Date Tracker from my 2014 Sweet Life Planner set. I went through last month’s bank statement and wrote each bill down on the day it was due. For bills that are a fixed amount, I wrote the amount in that column. In the notes column, I wrote how I pay bill the bill (auto draft, online, or physical check) and whether I receive a paper bill or not. This sheet alone is helpful just to get an idea of what bills we have each month and to know how they’re paid.

BudgetBinder 13

Next, I printed the Bill Tracker, and I think this is the most useful part of the whole system. Using the due date tracker I had just filled out as a guide, I wrote down my bills in order of when they’re due and put the due date beside them. I used the pink ink for bills that are auto drafted (meaning I don’t need to actually do anything to pay them), and grey ink for the ones that I actually need to do something to pay. There is a box for each month so I can check off when I pay them. This way I can see at a glance if there’s a bill I have forgotten or haven’t paid. I already felt so much more organized!

BudgetBinder 21

Next, I made some pretty dividers (using my Silhouette machine and a template I created myself). I find that having a beautiful organizing system helps keep me motivated and excited to use it, so I don’t skimp on making it pretty.

BudgetBinder 23

Each section is for a different type of bill. When I pay the bill, I simply punch it and put in the appropriate section. This year, we are required to keep all utility and household bills for tax purposes, so I want to be sure I don’t lose any of them. I find this system to be so much better than filing. First, it’s much easier to flip through everything and find what I need instead of pulling out a file folder and digging through it. Second, I only have one small file drawer for our personal files, so they would quickly get way too full if I tried to file everything. I did consider scanning my bills, but it really takes some time. This is so much faster.

BudgetBinder 6

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my finance binder. I don’t do any actual budgeting in this binder. I use an online system called mvelopes.com which I really love and have used for 6 years, but that’s another topic for another post. How do you organize your bill paying and bills?

Comments

  1. Ruby says

    I love all you planner pages ~ you are so talented.. they are pretty, but “clean”.
    I use my banks online bill pay and enter all my bills in at the end of the previous month. So the last week of Jan I will go in an “pay” all my bills for February putting the “send date” so they arrive on time. I have never missed a bill payment since I began doing this over 10 years ago. I use an account that the payroll is deposited into to, and used for paying bills and a separate account for “everyday spending”. : ) each pay day I move money into my “everyday spending” and savings and tithe. Super Easy!

    • LauraJane says

      I do sell dividers in my Etsy shop (www.shop.supersweetlife.com). Right now I don’t have any full size dividers listed, but if you convo I can create a custom order for them. Also, I do plan to put some full size ones in the shop soon.

  2. Liz says

    Love, love, love this!!! I have been trying to figure out a way to keep all of our bill organized without the filing… I hate to file! Not only is your system very workable its also super cute!

  3. jennifer S says

    I actually just finished my project the first weekend in January and pretty much did the same things that you have done. Since I have so many accounts to keep up with and have set a financial goal for myself I really needed to be organized. Just so happen Michael’s craft store had their scrapbooking papers on sale 4/$1, so I used those to cover my extra wide tab dividers. Like you I need to make this as pretty as possible so that I won’t actually mind looking at the bills inside, lol!

  4. Angella says

    I love it! I’m a huge fan of the ARC system by Staples. I use the smaller size for my daily planner. I just put together a household/budget binder, using a standard 3-ring notebook, but after having an ARC, I’m thinking about switching back to it. I think your lovely dividers have practically sold me on getting a Silhouette too! Well done.

  5. Heidi says

    I love this! I am so unorganized that I forget to pay things, or forget when they are being deducted. Are the budget/finance pages only available if you buy the whole planner?

  6. kirsten says

    Wow! This looks fantastic! Will you be selling any if these all put together in your etsy shop? I would definitely buy one!

    • LauraJane says

      I hadn’t really thought about it, but that’s a good idea. I’ll need to get the supplies in stock before I can list it. However, I think I do have supplies on hand to make at least one more, so you can convo me on Etsy if you want to a custom order. (www.etsy.com/shop/SuperSweetLife)

  7. Sarah says

    Hi! I was wondering if you sell parts of your planner? I have a system set up for daily planning already but love your finance sheets! Is it possible to buy just those instead of the whole package?

  8. Lori gEORGE says

    Love Love Love your binder…short and sweet without a lot of extra “stuff” that will never get used…Love it love it love it!!! My only question is what are your different “types” of bills? I see you have 6 dividers…is that just as an example or do you have 6 types? I tend to “over categorize” when I start sorting out types (of ANYTHING) so if you have a simple solution I’m all ears :)

    • LauraJane says

      I do have a separate tab for each paper bill. I only have 6 different paper bills, because some of my bills are only online, and I don’t receive paper statements. So one tab is my mortgage, one is my gas utility, one is my electric bill, one is my medical bills, one is my water trash/bill.

  9. Rob says

    I handle the budget and finances in my household because I am an accountant. When I got married, my wife was more than glad to let me do all the finances. All posts I have been reading lately looking for budget and finance binder systems are all directed to women. Do you have or know of a system for a man to use that is not full of flowers and bright colors etc.? My wife handles the kids, household chores etc. but I need to get more organized with finances and keep better track of my work, business and volunteer items.

    • LauraJane says

      That’s a great question. I really don’t know of any printables that don’t have a lot of decoration. Dave Ramsey has a couple free printable forms, I know, and Get Rich Slowly is a great personal finance blog, but I’m not sure if they offer printables.

  10. Lindy says

    This is WONDERFUL!!!!! I love it!!! I am a somewhat organized person but I really really struggle with budgeting and finances for some reason. This is sooooo super cute!!!! I will be visiting your etsy shop! :)

    However I have never heard of the ARC system? Can you explain a little more about it?

  11. Johanna says

    Did you use a Arc hole puncher or were you able to do it yourself? I’m trying to figure that part out because I don’t want to pay $40 for the hole puncher when i’ll only use it a couple times.

    • LauraJane says

      I use an Arc hole puncher. I invested in it because I use it all the time. Sometimes you can get a coupon for 40% off of it. It’s also a really good punch that will do several pages at a time. I’m not sure if there is an alternate solution that doesn’t involve the punch.

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