A few years ago I created a worksheet for my business to help me keep on top of all the moving parts of accounting, taxes, inventory etc. I was a disaster before….but now I am always on top of everything. I’ve adapted it into a household worksheet as well to keep our monthly finances and other things in order. As technical as I am with computers and smart phones, over time I’ve come to the realization that there’s nothing better than handwritten notes and records. A few things I like about this system:
1. I physically write each bill down and it makes me more aware of what I am paying.
2. I can file away all other paperwork and I have notes on what I need to follow up on in one place.
3. I never stress out about accounting because I always know where I left off.
4. When getting ready for tax season I can refer back to all 12 worksheets for questions and notes.
5. I always know whether or not refunds and rebates come through! I can’t believe how many never get processed without me following up and hounding the company. Or those magazine drives? I know exactly when to expect a magazine and who to follow up with if it doesn’t show up.
I always print the household worksheet off onto a different color paper so that it’s always easy to find among other paperwork. I keep it with my calendar.
The first page of the worksheet is where I jot down bill amounts and how they were paid (check, bill pay etc). Because I hand write them I notice anything out of the ordinary. If I move onto the next month and a bill hasn’t been checked off I know to follow up on it. For example, I just realized my CA sales tax hasn’t been checked off in a while for my business…..California doesn’t care if it was their mistake or mine that a deadline might have gone by…..so I’m going to follow up on it and see what’s due before they start charging me interest. Customize your worksheets to have everything you have to remember on a month to month basis.
Who knew lavender worksheets would reduce my stress level by 99%?
Fear is always about the unknown…..this reduces my “unknowns”…
Also, for accounting software I never do automatic downloads….even for my business. I always enter in everything one by one after the end of the month….and I CLOSE the month so nothing else can ever be added without a password being entered. I’m too picky about everything being right and automatic downloads create too much margin for error. It also forces me to go through each transaction once to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary.
I always write down anything I send by mail to return to make sure I get the correct refund…or that I even GET a refund! I had to email a company yesterday to ask if they were ever going to process my refund on some defective thread…..minutes later a Paypal refund showed up in my inbox….and I checked it off my sheet. I also write down rebates to expect by mail and things like new magazine subscriptions. By writing it down I know to always check up on it the next month.
Page 2 of the worksheet is a place to write down travel, donations and large purchases. This is a great place to write down how much you paid for something and quickly jot down the serial number for insurance purposes. Also, write down if you purchases a protection plan for an item…..this way you always know where to refer back to without having to dig up old receipts.
There’s a place for notes to keep track of questions and other items that you don’t want to forget about:
Page 3 is an optional page. I use this mostly in my business because I manually enter charges. This way I can tackle a portion at a time and come back to it later and I know exactly where I left off. This is important if you have multiple accounts. Also, if you have multiple sources of income it’s a great way to record that you received a check or deposit.
The above checklist always reminds me which statements I have to print off as well. I always print off my monthly account summaries based on the calendar month for entry. Nothing is more annoying to me than a bank account statement or credit card statement that goes from the middle of the month to the next mid-month! OCD overload. It’s enough to send me into shock…..
Every month I do a quick observation on where we blew our budget or where we saved…..and budgeting goals going forward. Writing this down is a great reminder when I look back after a few months. For example: why was the credit card bill so high? What bills should I follow up on to see if they can be reduced somehow? Did we do any large household improvements that should affect our energy bill?
After the sheet for that month is finished I file away all miscellaneous paperwork and keep the worksheets handy in a folder to refer back to:
And finally…..I just use these sheets as a way to manage anything important I need to remember! It’s a month by month log outside of my calendar to keep me organized. I never lose my to-do list because it’s a purple packet that can’t be missed….
I keep all of these worksheets in a folder near the mail and phone until the end of the year. Then I put them in a binder by year. I uploaded a sample worksheet template in a Word Document and a PDF version as well so you can customize it:
Stay tuned in a day or two for the small business worksheet!
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