When I was married, I managed the books for both of our businesses, did all his payroll, paid all the bills both business and personal, filed all our taxes and was obsessive about keeping my Quickbooks and Quicken files in balance. I knew where every dime was, when every bill was due, everything. It was a daily task for me, and by daily, I mean daily. Fast forward six years almost seven years…
I’ve not maintained a Quicken/Quickbooks file at all. Yes, on a couple of occasions, I would get it set up, do all the set up to synch my accounts and then promptly and completely forget about it or just plain ignore it. I have lived by the seat of my pants since then. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, forgetting that I paid Paul and then having to borrow from Jane…and so forth. I’ve been the queen of knowing exactly how long payments took to come out of my account and then rolling the dice on whether a pay check would come in before then, or using my card and banking on it not hitting the bank until a few days later to buy just that much more time. It got so bad that I have refused to use paper checks at all, since I couldn’t predict when they would get cashed and frankly, wasn’t really monitoring my accounts that closely. It was bad, super bad.
I would guesstimate that in my worst years I spent several hundred dollars are year on overdraft fees. I knew it was wrong, I knew it was dumb, but between the marriage fail, the housing debacle (this is not the recent one, but the two rental homes I have written about previously,) being the sole provider for then two children, well I was a mess.
Now, in the last maybe, year and a half, I have started to get myself in order. Keeping lists of bills and due dates, monitoring my bank accounts more closely and trying my best to avoid that stupid bank fees. But I’ve still not returned to my obsessive nature that was we marriage fail. And now it’s time…
Okay, not necessarily for the obsessive, daily financial craziness, but for a more organized, traditional book-keeping methodology. So as of this month, I have updated my version (previous 2012) of Quicken Home & Business, begun the set up with my existing budget and categories, etc. And I am determined to get back into at least a weekly habit of checks and balances as far as budget, planning and business review.
These last seven years have been a long, hard road. I would like to say that I never signed up to be a single parent, but the fact of the matter is that I would have become a foster parent whether I got married/had biological kids or not. So I can’t say I didn’t sign up for that part. I certainly didn’t sign up for it the way it happened. It wasn’t my plan. But you know what, I/we are in a really good place right now. There is a light, not just a light, but a BRIGHT light at the end of this tunnel and we are plugging away for full steam ahead despite setbacks and hardships this past year.
So for your Quicken users, specifically those who may be entrepreneurs/business owners, got any suggestions or tips and tricks to share with me?