February Fun
Goodbye January ...

FCS Questions: What about bills and bulldog clips?

Good Sunday Morning, everyone! I'm not sure how much time I'll get to spend online today - the boys are all sick with a little bug (fever, aches, stomach issues). Crackerjack and Bookworm are already on the mend, but Earlybird got hit with it yesterday afternoon and right now, at 7 in the morning, he is back in bed asleep (having woken at his usual 4:30 a.m.). Hopefully it will pass as quickly for him as it did for his brothers.

But while I'm here I wanted to address a couple of FCS questions ... :)

The first one comes from Karen, who asks:

Where do you file bills? Do they go into your weekly folders? or do you have a completely separate place for the financial side of things?

Ok, truth be told Karen, I am not super organized when it comes to budgetkeeping. But my system works well enough for us so I hesitate to make any big changes. I do have a designated "bill basket" that I keep on my bookshelves (in my little work corner) where I place all incoming bills and statements. This basket also holds my checkbook, calculator, stamps and a pen. In the back of the basket is a large Ziploc bag standing upright where I "file" receipts and statements through the month. At the end of the month I close up the bag, and start another. (Note: anything tax deductible or health expense related, go directly to Bill.) 

Here's a picture of the basket (in all its messy glory!) sitting on my shelf:


As for bill paying, I sit down with the basket and my online bank statement once a month. Most of our payments are now automatic (aka "auto pay") but I do need to send out a few checks each month. I keep track of all this - current balance, bills paid, expenses coming up - in my journal. Now, you all know my journal is a real hodgepodge of information (a brain dump, if you will) but I find it easy enough to flip back through the pages and find my monthly budgetkeeping notes when I need to. I like to use those little post-it flags to mark the place. 

As I shop throughout the week I leave receipts in my purse, in a designated section of my wallet. I go through that section on Saturday afternoon after I've completed my weekly errands. If I make online purchases, I print out receipts and file them in the weekly folder - as I purge the file to store at week's end, I place these print outs in the ziploc bag.

I did toy with the idea of keeping receipts in my weekly folders, but it was a little ungainly - I was stapling the receipts to the inside cover. I think a much better option would be an adhesive pocket. Alternatively (or in addition), you could staple a budget sheet inside your folder for weekly expense tracking. You could also keep an envelope in your bi-monthly hanging folder for receipts and statements. Just a few ideas - I'd love to hear how others handle this necessary (and often tedious) aspect of household management.

OK ... another quick FCS question before I go, this one from OSG:

Sorry Dawn, here's another FCS question for you (I'm obsessed!). I recall you saying that your current week's file folder is attached to your diary/planner with a big clip. Does this mean the file folder travels everywhere with you?

Obsessed here too OSG, so no apology needed! :)

I do take my folder with me sometimes, and if I do, I store it inside the back cover of my calendar. I secure it with a large clip to keep things all together:


I'm a big fan of these clips as you can tell! (And I believe someone asked me recently where I find the large colored bulldog clips ... I got mine at Office Depot, but I found some here at Amazon.)  

I use a backpack-style bag for my everyday tote and it easily fits my calendar, folder, clipboard, wallet, cosmetic pouch and miscellaneous reading materials. Clipping the folder to the calendar keeps things from sliding around inside my bag.

I still have several more FCS questions to address and I hope to get to them all this week. Please feel free to leave more queries and/or comments if you have them. I will do my best to get back to you just as soon as I can ... 

Happy Last Day of January, everyone! :)