Budgeting is one of the best ways to gain financial freedom. That does not make the process easy to manage, though. For many, budgeting can be a challenge simply because of its numerous financial limitations. But, other times, we just need a way to keep things organized.
With busy lives and an endless list of things to do, it is easy to forget how to keep your budget aligned with your goals. Without a doubt, it is necessary to take some time to do this. Yet, you may find a bit of help by using a calendar. Take a look at a few of the most effective ways to use a calendar to make budgeting happen.
1. Put Due Dates into Your Calendar
The first step is the hardest and will take the longest to complete. But it’s easy after that. Take this advice, please, and do it. Once you have the due dates entered on your Calendar one time, the Calendar repeat will do the work for you — to remind you over and over so you won’t miss those important dates — indefinitely.
As bills come in for the month, go into your calendar app and add those due dates to it. Note what the bill is and the amount due. This way, you can easily see what is coming over the course of several weeks. That makes planning much easier to manage.
2. Set Up Auto Pay
Looking at all the inputs you have placed on your calendar, go back and start calculating how much money needs to be in your account each week. This way, you know how much to deposit into your checking account.
Once you do that, and the money is going to hit your account, set up auto pay. Each of your lenders or the accounts you owe money to should be able to help you to set up autopay. The auto pay will allow you to schedule how much you want to be taken out each month. That way, you have the ability to never have to remember to make that payment on time.
3. Remember to Transfer Funds
Now that you know what’s coming out of your accounts, you can set up your calendar to remind you to transfer funds to your bank account. For example, let’s say your paycheck lands in your checking account on Monday. You know that you need $500 in your bill payment checking account by Friday. Use your calendar app to help you to remember to transfer those funds before they are due.
In some situations, you may be able to set up an automatic transfer. While that works well, be sure to check back before the auto drafts will take place. You want to be sure that everything is in order before money comes out of your account.
4. Use Reminders to Help You
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is just remembering to log in and check out what’s happening with your finances. One of the best ways to do this is to set up reminders in your calendar app. It only takes a few minutes to do this.
The app then sends you a reminder a day or a couple of days before an event. This could be an email or even a text message. That way, you can open the app, see how much you need to transfer, and then process that transfer right away.
5. Writing a Check?
As you take care of your bills each month, there may be a few companies and lenders you still have to write a check for to pay them. That makes things a bit harder because you have to actually write the check and mail it.
Use your app to manage these accounts, too. Your first step is to include the due date in the app. Set up a reminder to alert you at least a week prior to this to write the check. That way, there is plenty of time to get the check mailed to your lender so you do not have to pay late fees.
You can do this with any of the accounts that you need to write checks for on a consistent basis. It also works for those bills you have to pay infrequently but still have a deadline to meet.
6. Schedule Upcoming Dues
Do you have to pay HOA fees each month? You may have to pay for your child’s musical instrument, bad costs, or even their sports membership. These are some of the most forgotten bills that can hurt a budget.
It is best to use your app to input the due dates for these bills just like you would any other. Set them up like a check if you need to. That way, you do not have to worry about making those payments late. You can easily receive a reminder to pay them quickly.
7. Big Expenses Need Reminders, Too
You may be making payments to some things infrequently, but they could be large bills to pay. For example, you may need to pay your real estate taxes every six months. You may have to pay your taxes every quarter. Some people have large expenses for insurance or investments. Set up these as reminders as well.
However, if you need a bit more time to plan for the bigger costs, create smaller reminders throughout the weeks leading up to that due date. For example, you may have a $2,000 tax payment to make. In the weeks leading up to that, you remind yourself through your app to deposit $500 each week, so there’s enough money to make the payment. That makes it a bit easier to pay.
8. Schedule Savings, Too
While a budget is often all about setting aside money for bills, savings matter too. It is a bit easier than you think to save when you make the process a bit more streamlined. Set up a reminder after each pay period to deposit $100, $200, or any amount you like into your savings account.
You may be able to make this happen automatically with some banks. The key is to make sure you schedule it to happen. When you do this, it is less likely that you will find yourself facing financial risks later. You have money in your savings to cover those costs.
9. Set Up a Monthly Review
Use your app to help you oversee what is happening with your account over the coming months. Schedule some time for you and your partner, if you have one, to sit down and review your finances. This is a great way to update the budget to be sure it is more reflective of what you are really spending.
Making this an appointment and treating it like that may help to ensure you get the results you need. That is, you’ll have the time, and you will get it done. That can help ensure your budget stays on track.
10. Use Features to Make Notes
No matter what you are planning on, sometimes things go wrong. There may be an expense that arises that puts you at risk of being late. Use your calendar to help you. For example, let’s say you remember while waiting at practice that you need to pay a loan. Use the app to remind you of this. You know you’ll be too busy tonight to do so. Set it up to remind you about your needs the next day.
When you work with an app to manage your budget, you create opportunities for investing in your budget. That means investing the time and money you need to keep your finances on track.
The main point here is to do what it takes to pay your bills and pay them on time. It does not have to take long to do this. You can make all of your responsible money handling a habit. Then sit back and watch your finances improve over time.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!