TGIP: Organization is priceless

TGIP Kitty PennyWelcome to another TGIP, the weekly post where I explore ways to not be a starving artist…!

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?

Google search

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.

Google 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.google bill

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.

Google finance

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

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Dandilyon Fluff is moving towards its five year mark and is written by those in the publishing industry. Among the regular contributors are published authors, editors, book cover designers and reviewers.
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One Response to TGIP: Organization is priceless

  1. Pingback: TGIP: Making extra | :Dandilyon Fluff

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