Managing The Family Finances – Part 3 – Saving Money On Your Bills

 It’s time to get on track with the family finances.  If you are following this series you will now have….

1. Done Your Homework – Using bank statements you have outlined the amounts coming in and going out of your accounts. You have also sorted these items into categories (Non negotiable, and recorded the frequency of the payments (Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly, Quarterly)

2. Created a Family Finance Folder – This is where you will “file” away all family financial papers, particularly, bills and receipts. This folder is sorted into categories such as Rates, Mortgage, Electricity, Phone, Internet, Insurance. It is best to have one section for each separate category for example, a separate section for each type of insurance (Health, Life, House, Car) You will see why this works best in the next step!

You are now ready to……..

GET YOUR FINANCE FOLDER  ORGANISED!

Family Finance Folder Form

Family Finance Folder Form

  • Print out the FAMILY FINANCE FOLDER FORM (Above).
  • You will need one for each category of your folder.
  • Glue this form on the inside of each divider in the Family Finance Folder.
  • Record on the top part of the form “the details” for each company. This includes the company name, phone number, your account number, policy name, phone pin numbers and internet passwords. By doing this, each time you need information about that company or need to correspond with them you have everything you need in one place. If you don’t have all of this information, don’t worry as we are about to fix that!
  • The bottom “Correspondence” section is for you to record, any correspondence with the company. This includes any phone calls or emails sent or received.

NOW ITS TIME TO SAVE MONEY!

  1. Ring Each company.
  2.  Firstly check all the details are current and ask for your customer number or any other information you don’t currently have on your FAMILY FINANCE FORM.
  3. Now ask them to give you a deal! Literally that’s what you need to ask.
  • Is this the best deal for me?
  • Have you got any better deals seeing as though I have been a loyal customer for “x” amount of years?
  • My circumstances have changed and I want to save money but stay with your company, what do you suggest?

Companies want to keep business and you will be surprised with how quickly they will offer you savings!

Also consider: 

  • Is your package negotiable?
  • Does it still suit your needs? (Do you really need all the Foxtel channels? Do you use STD calls or do you need less data allowance on your internet)
  • Can you package multiple items to save money ? (E.g Car, Health and House Insurance or Phone and Internet)
  • Can you commit to a longer term plan in order to save money?
  • Have you seen a great deal at another company? Many companies will price match their competitors.

This week by doing this I halved our Foxtel bill and realised we were hundreds of dollars in CREDIT with our rates.  I organised to have that amount refunded to us so I could use it to pay off our credit card!  When any money is in Credit it is earning them money, not YOU! How we got in Credit?  We paid more than the required amount by paying fortnightly via direct debit instead of quarterly as the company suggested.  Over the period of 2 years we saved over $600!!!!

By recording the details of this on the correspondence form you have all the information you need in case of disputes, errors in payment and to remind you to call again in 6 months to check for more deals and SAVE MORE MONEY!

Any other tips for saving money on your bills? 

Family Finances ~ The Cash Envelope System

As part of our plan to simplify our life, we have begun a new finance system for our family.  We are very lucky to have learnt long ago to not use credit cards for daily spending or bill paying.  We primarily use debit cards for daily spending and a combination of direct debit or Bpay for our bills.  This system was working but we really felt like we could do better!  

I thought about a time when I was really good at budgeting, saving and not impulse buying.  I remembered that when I had my first job I was paid in cash.  Those hard earned dollars were given to me in a little yellow envelope with the payment details on the front.  There was something about handing over cash when paying for something, that really made me double think about what I was buying.  Looking in that little envelope to see how much cash was left was a great way of keeping my spending in check!  Once the money was gone it was gone!

With this in mind I started researching budgeting systems that involved the use of cash.  I found the Dave Ramsey – Cash Envelope System.  On his site he said exactly what I was thinking, well actually what I was experiencing.

“There’s something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic.”

This was us.  So we started to set up the system.  With the right tools it was SIMPLE!

I ordered this gorgeous Cash Envelope Wallet from etsy.  Inside it is divided by plastic cards into 6 categories or envelopes.  You simply label each “envelope” with a category for spending.
You need to work out the following things.

  1. What will your “payment” cycle be. Weekly, Monthly, Fortnightly?  
  2. What are your regular costs? Put them into categories.  For us we have Groceries, Petrol, TakeAway (coffee, snacks at shops etc) Home (decorating etc)
  3. What will you budget for each category.  Be HARSH.  We have only budgeted the absolute minimum.  I am determined to save.
You can now set the system up!
 
 
Later this week I will share with you how the system works, some other Do’s and Dont’s of using the Cash System and check in with how we are going!
Do you use cash?