If you’ve found yourself paying one or more late fees because you misplaced or forgot a bill, it’s easier than you might think to get back on track.
Keep a checklist on hand for every bill you are expecting to receive. When you sit down to write out your budget you’ll quickly see if anything is missing.
Include infrequent items such as taxes, home insurance, pest control, etc., making note of the month you normally receive the bill.
Also, make note of which bills are paid electronically so that you can make sure the money is in your account when they are posted.
This avoids any nasty surprises and also ensures you won’t spend the “extra money” in your account that should have gone towards a bill you didn’t receive.
To help reign in spending create a list for other things such as your miscellaneous household spending. (e.g. toilet paper, cleaning supplies, groceries, etc.)
Keep a running total of the estimated cost of each item to ensure that you stay within your budget, and use when you go shopping.
Set a schedule
Whether you pay bills online or you still deal with paper it’s important to have a routine for paying bills.
Set a date at the end of each month to go over the next month’s bills, and assign each and every dollar to a category.
If you pay your bills online choose two days to pay those bills. Pick one date towards the first and the other towards the end of the month to help with cash flow.
If you don’t see your money, you can’t spend your money.
Set up auto draft for your savings to take money out of your paycheck before you get it and you’ll save more than if you try to save after getting paid.
Create a paperwork station
Store your bills and all paperwork in a file cabinet or folder and keep it in a central location that’s easy to access.
Keep your checkbook, postage, envelopes, pens, notepads, and a calculator in the same location to make bill paying fast and easy.
Store receipts digitally or file them each time you pay bills to ensure that they don’t get out of hand.
If you opt to save them digitally make back-ups and shred the originals to reduce your paperwork and eliminate the potential for double posting them.
Same day bill pay
If you know you have the money in your account available then pay each bill on the day you receive it.
To prevent double paying, ensure that the paper bill you’ve received isn’t one that you normally receive electronically.
Check in with others on the account
If you have a joint account, make sure that the balance your account shows is accurate.
Nothing is more frustrating than paying an overdraft fee because someone forgot to mention that they used the bank card and spent money that you had set aside to pay a bill.
Confirm your direct deposit
Sometimes it happens…direct deposits aren’t made when they are scheduled to be made.
Confirm the money has been deposited into your account before writing any checks on it.
Use two accounts
To simplify your bill paying set up two accounts; one for discretionary spending and the other for bills.
This will prevent any accidents and will give you a clear idea of the money you have available after bills have been paid.