You ever had the unfortunate experience of opening the mail only to be shocked to find your annual car insurance bill in the mail? It comes at the same time every year, yet every year you find yourself surprised when it shows up. In this post, I’ll walk you through creating a calendar that will eliminate any shock and help you prepare for large annual payments.

A few years ago, I was tired of not having a handle on my finances. Annual bills would show up, leaving me totally off-guard and shuffling money around to scrounge up enough to pay it.

On top of that, waiting until insurance bills arrived didn’t allow me time to shop around. I wanted to compare rates and make sure we weren’t overpaying, but with only a few weeks until the payment was due, and not wanting coverage to lapse, I’d suck it up and just pay the bill.

So, I came up with a simple system to keep track of these annual bills (can also be used for semi-annual or quarterly bills). Simply put, it’s an annual calendar where you can see all the dates of the entire year at a glance. You can quickly see which bills are coming due in the next couple of months, make plans to set money aside and compare rates with other companies.

How to fill out an annual bills calendar

Easiest but longest way

The first way to fill out the bills calendar is the easiest:

  1. Print the calendar from the PDF above.
  2. Choose a place for it to reside where it won’t get lost (the side of the fridge or in a drawer where you keep your checkbook or stamps.)
  3. As bills show up in the mail or online, write the type of bill and typical amount on the line for its typical due date. (Say you receive a car insurance bill for $600, due July 8th. On the July 8th line, write “Car Insurance, $600” or “Farmers (Car Ins.), $600”.)
  4. After a full year, you will have a completed calendar.

More difficult but quicker

The second way requires a little bit more work up front, but will get you set up quicker:

  1. Print the calendar from the PDF above.
  2. On a separate sheet of paper, brainstorm a list of your annual bills. Typical annual bills:
    1. Car insurance
    2. Car registration
    3. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
    4. Property tax
    5. Life insurance
    6. Disability insurance
  3. Go back through your bills, either in paper or online to find the amounts and dates due.
  4. Write the type of bill and typical amount on the line for its typical due date. (Say your last car registration was for $200, due March 31st. On the March 31st line, write “Car Registration, $200”.)

On your way to financial awesomeness

I know, I know…doing this is B-O-R-I-N-G. But it sets you on a great path towards getting control of your finances and not being blindsided when a $500 bill shows up in the mail.

Imagine the peace you will feel when a big bill arrives and it’s no problem because you saved up the money. Phew, what a relief!

Stick with it and you will find yourself succeeding little by little. You can do this!

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