Thanks to modern technology, we can pretty much set our financial lives on autopilot.  Paychecks are automatically deposited, and bills are automatically withdrawn.  For most of us, bidding farewell to the days of bill-paying sessions at the kitchen table has been a huge relief.  

But it can also come back to bite us.


That’s because some bills are paid twice a month, while others are due every other week.  And if you work different hours each week, your paycheck amounts will vary.  So, when unexpected expenses hit, that whole delicate financial ecosystem you work so hard to keep in place is in serious danger of collapsing.


Luckily, a little planning can go a long way.  But traditional budgeting is not the answer.  Here are a few tricks to help keep your day-to-day finances tamed. 




If your bills are sporadic, it helps to see the big picture. Keep better track of your bills by listing them all in a spreadsheet, arranged by the date that each bill is due. That way, you’ll always know how much you have available to spend, without interfering with your bills. This is especially helpful if you’re a two-income family.



Knowing how much you actually have to spend on a given day can help you avoid confusion, overspending, and even some overdraft fees.


For instance, say you have $300 in your bank account. You might assume there’s enough in there to buy some much-needed clothes for the kids or  some extra groceries. But what if you also have a $250 bill that will come out of your account tomorrow? If your next payday isn’t until next week, then you really only have $50 available in your account. Not $300.


The takeaway? Spreadsheets make it easy to track your bills and your available funds. But if spreadsheets aren’t your thing, no worries. You can always try using a designated notebook instead.



If your bill due dates just aren’t lining up with your paycheck dates, try giving your lenders a call. Most credit cards and some lenders, like RISE, will actually work with you. If possible, set a payment due date that’s more convenient for you and your family. And then start counting down the days to your financial freedom.



Is taking control of your finances as simple as making a phone call? Well, sometimes it can be. At the end of the day, lenders want to consistently receive payment. For that to happen, many lenders are willing to be flexible.



For many of us, overspending on your debit card is a daily battle. The good news: you can combat this by simply pulling out any cash that you’ve earmarked for disposable spending at the beginning of each month and setting it aside. This way, you can always make certain you’ll have enough in your bank account to cover your bills for the month.



Knowing how much you have to spend because the amount is physically in your wallet is the surest way to keep “real” about your spending. Plus, this will give you peace of mind in knowing that the money you need to pay your bills is safely tucked away in your bank account. 



While you may not be able to completely control your finances by simply cruising on autopilot, most of these helpful tricks require minimal effort on your end. And remember, there’s nothing like the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing exactly where your finances stand. 

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