Tips To Make Bill Paying Easier

by Hank



    It’s sad to say that it took me a long time to begin to pay my bills online.  It took me even longer to become comfortable with ATM machines in the mid-1990’s, but that’s a story for another day.  I used to pay my bills right on the due date or sometimes late.  I was constantly getting charged late payment fees, and then I was stationed overseas and was preparing to deploy to Iraq.  My deployment woke me up to the fact that I needed a system to pay my bills while I was gone.  I didn’t want to just throw all of them on my wife’s lap.  So, I signed up with the online bill paying service offered by my bank.  It was the best decision I have ever made.

    My favorite personal finance book of all time is David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire.  One of the corner stones of his book are that you have to make saving, investing, and bill paying automatic or else you will never get out of the paycheck to paycheck grind.

Here are some tips to make paying bills a little easier:

  1. Pay your bills online.  Nearly every major utility and bank now offers the ability to pay your bills through the internet. Use them!  They are not complicated, and they make scheduling payments easy, fast, and pain free. 
  2. If you choose to continue writing checks, separate your mail right away.  Do not let it pile up.  Separate the junk from the important mail.  Pay your bills as soon as they arrive (the same day). 
  3. Keep all of your bills in a single location if you do not pay them right way.  My mom used to have an old fashion ledger book where she wedged all her bills into it until it was bill paying day (the one day of the month she sat down to write checks). 
  4. Keep good records.  If there is an error in your statement, you need to be able to look back at the old statements.  I have a filing cabinet whose sole function is only for credit card, bills, and other statements.
  5. To keep from getting hit by late payment fees, try and pay your bills on a certain night of the week.  Be consistent.  I wouldn’t recommend waiting for one specific day every month to pay all your bills like my mother used to do.  That must take an amazing amount of discipline to stick with a budget if you only pay all bills on the 1st or 30th.  Now credit cards are decreasing their processing times.  A bill that is due on the 15th of the month might only get to you by the 1st.  The days of 30 day graces are pretty much over.
  6. Prepaying your bills is also a good idea if you are able to do it.  For example, there is a tax advantage for paying mortgage interest for January during December.

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navycs August 19, 2008 at 10:53 am

I know this will come across as spam –
In a hope to help your readers I have the proposed basic pay chart for 2009 up and running for active/reserve officer and enlisted.

R/Tom Goering

Jarheadead August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

I have in my opinion the best way for any military member to pay his or her bills. The first thing that i did was set up an allotment for just more than my rent amount. This allotment is placed in one of my checking accounts on the first and I can easily pay my biggest bill on time without having to worry that I will not have enough money for the rest of my bills.

That leaves the rest of my monthly income to be deposited into my other bank on the 1st and the 15th. This way I know exactly how much I have until the next pay day. This really helps because I used to have to budget my money from the 15th to make sure I had enough for rent and everything else that I paid off with the 1st’s paycheck.

Now for the rest of my bills. I use online bill pay (through my bank not the company sites) to pay the rest of my bills. If a bill is due between the 1st and the 14th it gets paid on the first. If it is due between the 15th and the end of the month it gets paid on the 15th. This way by the 2nd or 16 I know exactly where I stand financially until the next payday.

This system has allowed my to pay all my bills on time thus saving me money by not paying late charges. Also I know how much descretionary money I have because all bills are paid early in the pay cycle and I really only have to have a money for gas and a few groceries. now instead of living from paycheck to paycheck I routinely have about $125-175 in my account come the next payday.

Peter August 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm

This may not work for most folks, but I have nearly all my bills billed to one credit card. I always, no matter what, always pay that card off each month. Some of the bills I don’t need to mess with are: electric, cable, auto insurance, cell phone, special property insurance, marina fees, and etc. Boat loan and air card (for reasons beyond my control are not billed to my card, but are set up for auto pay.

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