Saturday, April 26, 2008

Paying Myself First

Examining your budget and spending patterns leads to an examination of habits. Some of the things that come up are thing you knew and while others come as a surprise. Generally the surprises are things you should have been aware of but aren't for one reason or another.

What I've realized this month is I don't pay myself first. Usually this phrase is used to refer to putting money into savings before paying bills/expenses. My issue is applying for money otherwise due to me.

A few examples:
In the past two months I've gone on 4 trips for works. When things go as planned the rental cars and hotels go on a work card that I don't hold. I use my own cash/card to pay for food and gas. Supposedly I fill out a reimbursement form when I get home. I've yet to turn in anything from April and most of my food from March.

I also get a (paltry) mileage reimbursement for all non office driving I do. I think my last one went in mid March.

Last month I did some consulting work. I decided instead of submitting two sheets within two weeks I would wait for edit requests and then submit one sheet. A month later the edit requests still haven't come.
The biggest issue is that I hate reimbursement paperwork. It's boring, tedious, and usually a pain to fill out. Then there's the issue of having my million receipts (handily stored in a repurposed envelope) with me when the urge strikes. The final issue is time. After a trip I usually have a backlog of work, housework, and sleep to tackle. Getting caught up gets my effort instead of getting reimbursements done.

Now that I've identified the problem I need a plan. I'm going to write time into my schedule for keeping up with my personal paperwork. Instead of having things mass up on me after a full month I'm going to schedule paperwork time twice a month. Month end (when I usually try to do things) is a crazy stressful time in my office. So instead of waiting until the end of the month I'm going to schedule during the first and third weeks of the month.

I'll keep you posted on things working out.


SavingDiva said...

I have to admit that I fill out those stupid reimbusements things right away! I want my money back :)

sara l said...

last night i dealt with mystery shoping receipts when i wanted to get in bed. Now I just need to tackle the work pile.