The topic of infrequent payments has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks now. My wife and I had a couple of infrequent payments, within our finances over the last month, and I even saw a video today from someone who’s debt snowball plan was sidetracked because of a couple of infrequent payments which she failed to account for in doing her budgeting.
Infrequent payments, as the name implies, are any payments which are not due biweekly or monthly and so we tend to forget about them. These can be insurance premiums that are annual or semiannual, this can be quarterly tax payments, subscriptions to roadside assistance or magazines or other services, or even software license renewals.
So here are a few ways that I found works best for me to remember these infrequent payments, depending on what system I am using for my finances.
Set Up The Payment In Your Electronic Checkbook Register
I use Quicken Home & Business in order to manage our finances and in the software, I am able to go out into the future and set up a payment in the checkbook register. It is not as hard as it sounds – all you do is go to the first available space and type in the date, even if it’s a year in the future.
So what this does is every time you look at your finances, you are able to see this payment at the bottom of the current transactions, and you are even given what the available balance would be if that payment was to come out without any other transactions happening.
This is extremely helpful as you get closer to the payment date.
For a while I was actually using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that I set up to look like a checkbook. It will be no different in this case except you would have to cut and paste the transaction each time you wanted to insert more recent transactions. But the basic idea stays the same; you always have that transaction in your records so that as the date approaches, it becomes more relevant and it’s staring you in the face so you won’t forget.
Set Up A Recurring Expense In Your Software
Again, if you’re using financial software, you can set this up as a recurring payment the same thing should happen as in the case above when you manually enter it each time, except that you only have to enter it once.
It should still show up as you get closer to the date of that transaction and you should be able to modify your budget based on the reminder that set up the software. The great thing about setting it up this way is that if there are any changes to this payment (such as your auto insurance premiums increasing, decreasing) you can make the change one time and it will affect all future payments.
Set Up A Recurring Appointment In Your Calendar
When I noticed that my wife and I were forgetting that we had a payment due every May for our auto club expenses, I decided to set up a recurring appointment on our calendar.
So this way every time we look at our calendar – when we look at May 23rd, for example – it always shows up that there is a payment due to the company that provides our roadside assistance.
With so many people using smart phones and also having Microsoft Outlook and other e-mail, scheduling, and calendar programs available to them, this can be done in a matter of seconds and you can have multiple people alerted to each payment due.
It was great the other day when my wife sent a message to me to say don’t forget that this payment has to be made as I was getting the same reminder on my phone and computer. So this way whether one of us switches phones, change email accounts or something happens to one of our computers, we still have the reminder in multiple places.
It will show up on both of my computers, my phone, my wife’s phone, and it will show up on her computer as well. There is a very, very small chance of all of those things failing at one time.
Set Up The Reminder Manually
If you don’t like any of these methods, you can always leave yourself a note. If you have a date book then you can go to the month before the infrequent payment is due and write a reminder for yourself telling you that the next month will include one of these expenses that seem to throw off most monthly budgets.
That way, not only are you reminded the day that the payment is actually due when you finally turn to that date in your calendar, but you’re also reminded in advance so that you have time to adjust your budget for the next month.
No matter which way you choose to manage your finances, make sure that you have reminders letting you know that the annual payment for your credit card, you quarterly insurance premiums, your gym membership, (this is actually an expense that should be put on the credit card because it makes it easier to cancel), or any other infrequent charge is due so that it does not throw off your budget.
photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net
- What methods do you use to manage your finances?
- How do you keep track of these infrequent payments?
- Was there ever a time where you forgot to account for them and had to adjust your budget on the fly?