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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Budget tracking with Remember The Milk

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

Keeping up with your bills each month is no small feat, especially considering the typical choices seem to be paying the basic ones automatically or keeping a stack of paper bills that arrive in the mail.

This week's tip, shared by hwebbjr, offers an easy method for tracking your bills each month with a simple way to draw a budget from each month's expenses.

Bob keeps trash of his cash

I'm hit-or-miss when it comes paying all my bills each month. I don't mind paying them, it's just that the task is large and spread out over the month. Therefore, it's easy to forget a bill or two or to forget an upcoming debit and spend too much before the bill is taken from the account, leaving me short. However, since using RTM to schedule my bill payments, forgetting is a thing of the past.

I first created a monthly list entitled, "Bills". Then, reviewing my last bank statement, I created a task for each bill payment due during the month, noting the payee, the date the payment is due or debited, and the amount. Here's what it looks like:

  • Pmt – Firestone Bill ($25)
  • Confirm – Mortgage Debit ($1,050)
  • Transfer – Food Funds to Ally Bank ($700)

I include the date I want to pay the bill in the date field, make it repeat "every 1 month", tag it "bills", and include the URL that takes me to the online payment website for each bill.

Not only do I get a reminder of when to pay each bill, I also can do a search for payments due for the balance of the month to make sure I have adequate funds in the account (My search query: tag:bills AND dueBefore:9/1 — changing the query to the first day of the next month each time I do the search). The result is a list of the remaining payables for the rest of the month.

This also helps with bills that are due only a few times a year by changing the repeat interval to "every 3 months" or "every 6 months" or even "every 1 year". This makes my vehicle taxes (due annually), Sirius radio bill (due every 3 months) easy to track and remember.

Thanks for sharing this tip, hwebbjr! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks