This last week I discovered Google Calendar and I am in love! I know many of you are snickering (like my daughter) because you’ve been using it for ages… but humor me and read on. I may have something to benefit you.
For those of you not in the know, Google Calendar is a free tool that you can access by signing up with a Google account. It’s always handy, with some other great tools I haven’t learned yet, at the top of your regular Google search page. See?
Here’s the beauty of it. I recently just purchased my first smart phone, a Galaxy Precedent. Before you lecture me on how not thrifty a smart phone is, hear me out. I bought it reconditioned on Straight Talk for $20 and, for $45 a month I have no contract with unlimited talk, text and web. If you can beat that deal… well… just give up now. You can’t beat it.
So now I have a smart phone with my Google calendar automatically updated. I can access this calendar online from any computer and it organizes my writing events, personal stuff, kids schedules, chores and *drum roll, please* our finances. Here’s a peek at a week.
That is a combo of six calendars, all color coded. They were a breeze to set up, I think it took me two hours. Blog posts are grey, tasks are bold red with a place to check them off, writer events are blue and regular tasks are brown. Finally, what I want to talk about, are the finance entries in green.
Usually, when I have a bill come due, I wind up paying it out of the preceding paycheck. Some paychecks wind up being stretched tight and it always seems like that’s when I will have an emergency (like last week’s tire replacement) that stretches the budget to almost breaking.
Since my paychecks and bills are pretty much the same each month I decided to make a calendar for them. It doesn’t really matter what time of day the bills are paid, so I used the a.m. and p.m. designations to help me organize the entries. The first bill will be scheduled at 1 p.m., the second at 2 p.m., and so on. That way, on my list view, all I see is this. I turned the other calendars off for a simple view.
I chose to designate bills as p.m. because I get a “p” next to the number, which in my mind represents “pay.” Here I can easily see that on the 30th of this month I will have electricity and rent to pay. The other entry, “payday” was set as 1 a.m. so I can tell whether it’s a bill or income at a quick glance. Here’s the last two days of that original week again with just the finances.
Now that I can so easily see my bills, I can plan ahead. After my next paycheck on the 9th I can see that I have a $90 water bill due. I can wait and pay the whole thing out of that check, but then it leaves us a bit snug, especially since the next week auto insurance is due (not pictured).
This week’s paycheck has no bills though, so I decided to set aside $45, or half of my water bill, for next week. I have two bank accounts and they are all online so for me that is simple. I move one from the other. My bank doesn’t charge for checking to checking transfers. Now I’ve set aside a little this week to make sure next week is more pleasant. I’m paying for the “testing” entry with cash we raised from Craiglist so it doesn’t count.
Now again, I know some of you have realized this a long time ago and are snickering. Snicker away, I’m still proud of myself. I’ve done something similar with rent, but because that is such a large payment I divide it up among every paycheck that month. This I set aside in savings to draw a tiny bit of interest.
Now, with a $20 smart phone and my free Google calendar, I am all organized up… and I just learned another way to not be a starving artist ;D