First, I guess I am not too qualified to make and suggestions since we are in a tight (to put it nicely) spot ourselves. But, something simple and pretty cheap… In the office section of your local Wal-Mart, they sell financial folders. I have used these for years and Love them. It is spiral bound and has a page with a pocket for each month. You put your bills in the front and then when you have paid them you move them to the pocket of the folder for that month. I think that is how they want you to use it.
Also, there is a graph for each month on that month’s page where you write all your bills- what it is, when it is due, the amount due, the amount you paid and any comments/ conf. numbers, etc. It is simple and all hard copy so no worries about computer crashes, etc either. I save mine for three years so that if there were ever any questions I have all my records. I think they are about 7 or 10 dollars. I can see at a quick glance at what I have and have not paid. Just a thought.
That is such a good suggestion I cant believe I forgot to mention it!! lol. I did this about 2 years ago because I kept forgetting things. I have all of our household/car and living expenses due at the beginning of the month and then the 3rd week of the month I pay all loans, credit cards and money(what little if any is left) into savings. It took me a couple of months to get it all squared away but it made things much easier. I know just by the date if I need to be taking care of bills or anticipating paying things. It helps if you are disorganized like I tend to be.
Maybe you haven’t given it enough time? Not knowing your complete scenario of income and expenses it’s hard to suggest anything specific. I know I’ve been using Quicken ever since it came out and before that a simple check balancing program. It helped me see where I was spending so that I soon became in the habit of not buying on compulsion. I now only buy what is needed. I have a throwaway account where I budget about $10 a week to blow but I rarely use it.
Habit, it takes getting in the habit to quit spending and start paying off the debt. Once you are debt-free then the extra money each month goes into savings. Then, you buy with cash only there on out. Quit giving the banks your money as interest and late fees. I can’t dwell on this last statement enough. It makes me angry, get angry about it. It works.