One thing that I am sure we can all agree on is this — WE HATE PAYING BILLS!!! They are not much fun at all – are they? While that is the case, the one thing that is really important is to pay them on time. While I do love romance as much as the next woman, having the electric company deciding when to give us a candle lit dinner surely won’t put me in the mood!!
When you get your bill in the mail, place it somewhere you will not lose it. I recommend either getting a desk top bill sorter or a file folder with a label – Bills To Pay on it. Drop the bill in there, with the envelope. Then, when it is time to pay bills, you aren’t wondering what is due or wondering WHERE you put that telephone bill.
Now that you know where to find the bill, you have to remember to pay it — timely. There are a few ways to do this. I’ll share what I do first and then a couple of ways that might work for you.
I always use my bank’s on line bill pay system. In my opinion, this is by far the simplest way to pay my bills! I have set up to get e-mail reminders as to when my bills are due, so I don’t forget. And, these come in plenty of time for me to get the bill paid so that is receive on the due date.
Then, to pay those bills, I let my bank wire transfer or issue the check for me. In fact, I normally go in when I get the bill and input the payment info and the date I want the money deducted from my account. I can select any future date for the payment to be made, which helps me to not forget to pay it on time.
Some of you may be thinking – Why not sign up for automatic payments then? Well, I like to control the date the money comes out and not just on the day it is due. Sometimes, with the way our monthly income falls, I may need to pay a bill early rather than having to keep the money in my account until the due date. By my going in and indicating the date it needs to paid, I have a little more control.
As soon as I input the on line payment information, I go right into my Quicken account and input the date it will come out and the amount, so I can be sure to take that pending payment into account when needing to check my current checking account balance.
You can set up your own e-mail reminders or jot the payment due date on a calendar. I also have suggested to have bill payment folders based upon paychecks coming in. For example, if you are paid every two weeks, you could have two folders. One would hold the bills to be paid from the next paycheck and the other would be future bills to be paid.
You can also purchase bill sorters with slots for each day of the month. These let you easily slide the bill/envelope into the date you need to write the check. You can check this every day and see what needs to paid.
One thing I do recommend to always do – no matter how you remember to pay your bills – is to check the prior month’s payment received. Be sure it reconciles to the amount you say you mailed to them. I also make sure that there are not any late charges and that I was credited within the appropriate time frame as it relates to when the money was mailed. That way, I can contact the company if there any problems.
Another thing that you should ALWAYS do before you pay a bill is to go through all of the charges. Make sure you agree with all of them. It seems that recently, friends of mine are finding monthly charges for services that they may have accidentally signed up for while surfing the net. While $10.00 may not seem like much, after 10 months of the additional payment you are out $100.00 –which IS a sizable amount.
When you do place calls to dispute charges, be sure to always document the name, date, time and Customer Service Rep name/number. I also recommend that they send something to you in writing to confirm the call and if possibly, ask for a confirmation number for the dispute so you have it for easy reference. Keep this information within your bill paying folder so you don’t forget to check into it with your next several month’s bills — to be sure the charge really was reversed and not just credited for only the month you contacted them.
By keeping tabs on your bills and paying them on time, you can feel like you are in control of the outflow of money and not be cut off mid-sentence of your next cell phone conversation.