How to organize your bill paying
Organize your bill paying with these simple and effective bookkeeping techniques
Paying bills is a stressful and time-consuming chore that can drain your energy as well as your bank account. Like any unpleasant task, the trick is to keep it as quick and easy as possible. Fortunately, once you determine how to organize your bill paying, this task becomes less monotonous.
Another way to organize your bill paying is to streamline your efforts. If you have bills to be paid via “snail mail,” make sure to keep plenty of pre-posted envelopes on hand. Also consider investing in a return address stamp to make it easier to post the necessary payments. Pre-addressing your return envelopes makes it easy to prepare payments in advance for mailing.
Payments that you make every month and which don’t vary in amount (such as car insurance, home alarm monitoring, and gym memberships) are good candidates for auto pay plans. Bills which can fluctuate from month to month should be reviewed for inaccuracies prior to payment. Automated payments can be set up for debit from your bank account on specific dates to ensure that you never miss a payment deadline again. (Just make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account to cover upcoming payments!)
Some payments can also be made online. These online payments can be made from specific websites or through your personal bank, and this can be a time-saving option for recurring payments.
before you make online payments, check for additional fees or charges
associated with this method of payment, since some websites charge a
“convenience fee” which can range from a few dollars to $10.00 or more per
transaction. If there are significant
convenience fees associated with making online payments, it might be more
cost-effective to simply mail payments instead.
Advance Scheduling of Payments
Online payments also offer the option of scheduling payment
dates at a later time. This allows for
the scheduling of later payments in anticipation of future deposits. For instance, if you are paid on the 1st
and 15th of the month, you could sit down and pay all bills for the
month, but schedule some payments to be debited after your deposit on the 15th. This is convenient for those who wish do all
of their bill paying at once.
Be aware, however, that if there are any problems or delays with a scheduled deposit, there may not be time for you to cancel your scheduled payments; this could result in additional fees if your account does not have sufficient funds to cover your scheduled payments.
Keeping a calendar of outgoing payments and their due dates can help with families that have pay periods that fall on different days each month.
To help organize payment, begin by making a list of all known expenses and their due dates, then determine which pay period will best accommodate the payment of each bill. Make sure to account for normal living expenses such as food, clothing, gasoline, and medical expenses while considering which pay period to utilize for each bill to be paid.
If you frequently forget to make payments, consider
downloading an app that will provide you with reminders of upcoming bills. Some of the apps are free, while others can
be downloaded for a small charge; however, a few dollars is a worthy investment
considering the cost and inconvenience associated with late fees and penalties.
You can also take advantage of a smart phone
calendar and set recurring appointment reminders for your monthly bills to
ensure that you receive timely reminders in advance of due dates.
There are many ways to tackle the chore of bill paying, from low tech to high tech; however, the best way take control of bill paying is to get organized and find a method that works for you.