Bills… From utilities and cell phones to credit cards and miscellaneous services, everybody has them. Bills are a necessary evil for survival and leading a lifestyle you want but also a pain in the neck if you let them get out of hand. It’s very easy to incur late fees, insufficient funds fees, increased interest, and even shut-offs, chargeoffs, and collections. When this happens, of course, it results in more debt and a ruined financial reputation.
That’s why financial experts stress the importance of staying on top of your bills. In getting organized and developing a system that works best for you, you avoid accumulating costs you can’t afford and save your credit. If you’ve been bombarded with bills and the consequences of improperly managing them, these tips should help you get back on track.
Organize Your Bills
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to bill management is failing to be organized. When bills come in the mail or statements are sent to your email, they’re often ignored until the very last minute (or never opened at all). This is how you end up with late fees and other adverse actions developing.
It’s best to organize your bills. Create a designated area in the house where you’ll store all of your paper bills such as a filing system. As for electronic notifications, flag the senders as important and be sure to store them in a folder so they don’t end up lost with your other emails.
Lastly, create a list of every bill you have each month. This will prevent you from overlooking something important.
Develop a Pay Schedule
Paying your bills on time is of the utmost importance. When you do, you avoid additional fees or the risk of having your items repossessed and your credit ruined. Now that you know exactly which bills you have coming in each month, it’s time to develop a payment schedule that works for you.
As most bills are due at the beginning or middle of the month, you may need to find solutions if your pay schedule doesn’t line up. You could contact the service providers and ask to switch your due date to something more appropriate, you could opt to pay bills on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, or you could apply for an advance check cashing loan to pay the bill upfront and repay it once you get paid.
Once you’ve determined when you’ll pay each bill every month, write this down on a calendar or store it in your virtual calendar with a reminder so you always pay in a timely fashion.
Automate Where You Can
A final bit of advice for effectively managing your bills would be to automate the process where you can. You could set up automatic debits with the service provider so that they deduct the amount owed on the due date or you could utilize online bill pay services through your bank to set up automatic payments.
Bills are something that you’ll have for the rest of your life. So, why allow them to overwhelm you emotionally and financially? In order to stay on top of things, maintain good credit, and cover your expenses every month, it’s a good idea to utilize the above bill management tips.