Paying bills is a necessary evil, there’s no way around it and it can be painful at times. Despite this, it’s vital to organize your bills and pay them on or before any due dates. Being negligent with paying your bills can lead to fees and penalties, but it can be the beginning of deep debt and bad credit.
Sometimes it can feel like you’re just hanging on, month to month, and keeping up on your bills can be overwhelming. If that describes you sometimes, or if you just need a few ideas on how to organize a little more consistently, here are some guidelines for helping you to organize your bill-paying process.
You’ll want to grab some basic supplies first. Get a nice notebook, envelopes, stamps, a red pen, and a trash can with a paper shredder nearby. Then decide where you will be paying your bills, if it’s a desk in your office, the kitchen table, wherever, and set your supplies up there.
Organize Paper And Online Bills
Most creditors, lenders, and billers have the faculties to accept online billing. If so, take advantage of them. This way you only need to retain confirmation numbers in your records, making for a cleaner and easier notetaking.
If you are still using paper billing for any reason, make sure you open them as soon as they arrive. Using your red pen, mark the amount owed and the due date on the envelope. Note any issues to be addressed later.
Make a point to pick at least 30 minutes per week to review and pay your bills. Schedule it like any other appointment that you should not cancel. While reviewing your bills, make it a point to check your bank accounts for accuracy.
Make It A Routine
You’ll need to be attentive to your weekly bill payment appointment, and be sure you stay accountable for it. By incorporating it as another part of your weekly routine, you make it easier for yourself to stay up to date with your finances.
Pay Your Bills
During your weekly bill-paying appointment, make sure you give proper attention to each of the bill payment types, both online and paper. Be sure to pay your paper bills far enough ahead of time that they do not arrive after their potential due date. Online bills are generally much quicker and will reflect payments made within a business day or two, sometimes they will even post the same day they are paid.
If you still feel you need some help, there are a number of personal finance apps, like Mint, or Prism. You connect your bank account, billers, and lenders, and the apps monitor for bill due dates and facilitate payments. They have arrangements for automatic online payments, as well as automatically mailed checks. Apps like these offer you a deeper look into your spending and budgets, often helping you to better your finances and pay down debt.