Sometimes paying the bills on time can slip through the cracks. Maybe you’ve been traveling and the due date sneaks up on you. Suddenly you have late fees, penalties, increased interest rates and sometimes your credit rating can be damaged. To avoid those consequences we’ve created steps to make your bill paying process a smoother one.
- Create a bill paying spot. Find a spot in your house where you can put a basket to hold all the bills that come in the mail and also anything you’ll need when you start paying them. Having a designated spot keeps you organized so you don’t have to go searching for all your bills when you finally have the time to pay them.
- Organize your bills. Make sure you open every bill right away and mark the due date on the outside of the envelope. If you see anything that seems off, make sure you highlight it so it’s easy to follow up on. Also shred everything that has personal information on it.
- Organize electronic bills. For electronic bills emailed to you, create a seperate folder in your email to store when they arrive. Open each bill to make sure its correct or to remind you to cancel that subscription and then put in the folder. If you’re afraid that you won’t remember to pay them, leave the message unread. You can also write down what the bill is for, when it’s due and how much is owed and place it in the basket with your physical bills.
- Schedule your time. If you struggle finding time to pay bills, create a weekly reminder in your calendar and block the time. Sit down at the same time every week and pay everything that is coming due. The more frequently you do this, the more of a habit it will become and the less likely you will miss any due dates.
- Learn your bill cycle. Part of scheduling time to pay your bills is knowing when your bills are due. Pay attention to the bill cycle so that you can budget the money needed. Bills should usually fall into the two categories, those due earlier in the month and those due later. When you get your paycheck you should immediately pay the ones that are coming up next. If you don’t have enough money to do that, contact some of your creditors to see if you can get the due date changed on your bills. It’s also good to use a software to remind you of your bill due dates if you have trouble remembering, both Microsoft Money and Quicken can remind you about bill dates.
- Budget time for your payment to arrive. If you are paying by mail, create time for your payment to physically arrive at the destination and be sorted. Pay your bills a couple days or more ahead so you can factor in the postal service delivery time.
- Pay online or over the phone. If you can, the easiest way to pay your bills is over the phone or online, you eliminate the delivery time.
- Set up autopay. If possible, set up autopay on your bills so you don’t have to worry about due dates. The only thing to worry about is having enough money in the account to autopay your bills. Automating your bill paying process makes it simpler and drastically reduces the chance of late payments.