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Paying Bills on Time

Category Paying Bills
Paying bills late can affect your credit and can also accrue late fees. This page has tips to help ensure that you pay your bills on time.
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February 15, 2012

When I get the mail each day, I immediately sort it and discard what I can. I do not hold bills to be paid later. I immediately "pay" them using the internet. I go to the website of the company and choose the option to pay my bill. Then, I change the date from the current day's date to the one I want the money to come from my checking account. This is almost always the due date!

This method reduces paper clutter, postponement, late charges, etc. I am a Senior citizen and have used many different methods, but to date this is the best one yet! I am able to shred the bill and not have it laying around the house.

By Carol Swanson from Wyoming, PA

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By 6 found this helpful
July 31, 2009

There are two different methods I use because I pay some bills with a check and others using my credit card. If paying with a check, when the bill comes in the mail, immediately upon opening it I write a check and get the envelope ready. On the inside of the envelope flap, I write the date it is to be mailed (allowing about 3-4 days mailing time) and put the stamp on the envelope. I place this envelope a plastic mail holder that has 31 different slots; one day for each day of the month (example: #25 for the 25th of the month).

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When that day arrives, I know to mail that envelope, so seal it and mail it. I don't mail until then because I don't want the funds drawn out of my account until necessary, allowing me to draw interest on that money, not the company collecting my check.

If it is a credit card I am paying the bill with, I simply put that bill in the slot on the day I am to call and pay that bill. When the call is completed, I make a note on the bill of the day it was paid, the amount, and confirmation number along with the persons name that took payment. I then file the paperwork knowing it has been paid and it's out of my way! Works for me!

Source: Learned from lady I used to work for.

By Kathleen from Ft. Collins, CO

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October 9, 2008

We are all into saving money and hopefully put away something for a rainy day. I have tried this and it works for me. I have a lot of medical bills and other bills in general that I am trying to pay off. Since I set myself up on a monthly budget, here's how I can pay the bills down and save at the same time.

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Once I come to the end of paying off a bill, I still continue to take out of my paycheck the same amount for that particular bill. I put half on another bill and the other half in a savings account or CD. Now each time I pay a bill off, I do the same thing to the next bill. That money was already earmarked, so I am not missing any extras.

By Georgetta from Waterloo, IA

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August 25, 20060 found this helpful

Tips and ideas to help you pay your bills on time.

Write The Date and Time Due on the Envelope

When I receive bills or any correspondence that has to be mailed at a certain time, I save time and aggravation by writing the date due to be mailed where the stamp goes. Only takes a second to let me know it is time to mail something.
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By Linda

Online Bill Paying

Use an online bill paying service. As soon as your bill comes in the mail, schedule the payment. If it is a recurring bill, many services will let you schedule it to be paid automatically each month so that you don't have to enter it each time.

By Regina Arlauckas

Paying Bills Right Away

I pay each bill the day after it comes in the mail. Then there's no forgetting a bill payment.

By Allison Dey

Credit Counseling

We really got into hot water by not paying our bills on time. We were close to losing our house. We went to a certified nonprofit credit counselor and we are doing much better. We have been with them for a year. They charge a fee for their service, but we save that much money in interest fees. They negotiated lower interest rates with some of our creditors. We will be out of debt in less than two years.
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I mention this only because some of the people who visit this site are coming because they are in the same situation.

If you go to a credit counselor, make sure they are certified and non-profit. Also make sure that they are not trying to get you to sign another loan on your house. Some outfits are simply mortgage companies. The people we work with (GreenPath) are certified, nonprofit and they are also certified HUD counselors. All of this makes it easier to deal with the creditors. The phone calls have stopped. We shop at Aldi's for food and we shop at Thrift stores for over half of our clothing (I rarely find clothes for my tall son at thrift shops, the best I can do is clearance at landsend.com and oldnavy.com. I can never find his size at brick and mortar stores.)

By Cindy

My Three Rules

Rule #1:

Keep all your bills in one place. Take them there straight from the mailbox to avoid misplacing one.
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Rule #2:

Select one day of the week (or every other week) for paying bills. Sometimes time gets away from me and I realize I haven't paid bills in a while and there is something due tomorrow. If I pay bills every Thursday, I am unlikely to miss it. Then on that day I pay everything that is due within the next 10 days so I don't have to worry about them again until the next week. That gives enough time for them to get through the mail. This goes for online bill pay services as well because sometimes it takes up to 5 days for them to process it and mail it to the company being paid.

Rule #3:

Keep a list of the bills that don't have a reminder coming every month, like rent or bills with a payment book. Better yet, keep a list of all bills you have due every month with the approximate date of the month they are due. Example:

1st of month House payment
10th of the month insurance payment

This really helps keep track of auto debits because it is easy to screw up your balance if you forget that an auto debit posted. Also, when you pay regularly and get into a rhythm like this it becomes easier to know how much money you are going to need later in the month so you know when to quit spending.

By Tabitha

Pocket Calendar

Purchase cheap yearly pocket calendar or better yet, get one from a vendor with advertising on it for free. Each month has a margin, write mortgage or rent, car payment, water, phone, electric, standard monthly bills. As soon as bill comes in, record the amount. When paid, check it off list. List credit cards and balances, add insurance payments to list on months due. I keep one in my desk at work.

By Sandy

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January 13, 2006

I have been paying many of my bills over the phone with my debit card. It is a win-win situation. Not only do I save writing a check and saving a stamp...

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By 2 found this helpful
April 25, 2012

Set up five file folders labeled Week One, Week Two, and so forth. As you open your mail each day file the bills into the week of the month it is due. Choose one day a week to pay your bills. Monday works best if you mail your payment, if paying online it doesn't matter which day you choose.

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January 13, 20061 found this helpful

I had an idea to organize household bills. I purchased a large recipe box and index card dividers that were already numbered 1-31. I placed the dividers inside the box and placed each bill based on when it is due behind the respective divider.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 12, 2012

I sometimes open my mail and leave it in my car. The way I know that I haven't paid it yet is because it isn't folded in half. I can then go to my bill pay and take care of it immediately.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 4, 2009

This is my tip for paying bills on time. As soon as I receive a bill in the mail, or an email saying my bill is due soon, I write the due date and the amount on the calendar.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 22, 2014

What is the best way to keep up with your bills due dates? All of my bills come on different dates. When I call to inquire about a bill, I like to make note of the conversation and who I spoke to. I was keeping this information on a spreadsheet on my computer. When I am at work, I don't have access to a computer. Then sometimes I forget to even check the spreadsheet, because of other pending appointments. Any better suggestions?

By Onesummer

Answers

July 23, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

When we ran a business before computers, I would keep a file folder holder on top of my desk. I had file folders for each week of the month and would put the bills for each month in their proper holder. Week 1 held bills for the 1st thru the 7th, week 2, 8th through the 14 and so on. I had no trouble keeping up with what was due with this system.

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

I am never late paying bills because as soon as they come in, I place the due date on my calendar. My calendar sits in front of my computer so I see it every day.

By Nikki from Lake Worth, FL

Answers:

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

I put the due date on the envelope where the stamp goes. I've never been late yet getting bills paid. (01/24/2007)

By irene

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

GREAT idea, but for me, I am paid SS on a certain date, and all bills get paid that day, late or not! Can't help it. All of my creditors know this by now and understand, praise God. lol : ) (01/25/2007)

By Lynda

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

I do the same thing, marking bill and amount, circled in red, on the due date on calendar above my computer. If I mail the check, I note mailing date on calendar also, and check off each bill as I pay it. I used to just rely on my memory, but this little system is so much better. (01/26/2007)

By Janice C.

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

I don't understand any of this. Knowing about what the bills are going to be, I keep enough in the checking account to pay them. When a bill comes in, I sit down, write the check for it, and mail it out the next day. How come this is a problem for so many people? (12/04/2007)

By Walt Moore

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

I don't understand any of this. Knowing about what the bills are going to be, I keep enough in the checking account to pay them. When a bill comes in, I sit down, write the check for it, and mail it out the next day. How come this is a problem for so many people? (12/04/2007)

By Walt Moore

Place Bills Right On Your Calendar

Speaking for my daughter, she pays her bills when she she gets enough money in her checking account to pay them. She has a debit card and it makes it waaaayy to easy to spend money. Myself, when the bill comes in I make the check out and send it in the next day. I don't have a debit card, and I don't spend foolishly. We only eat out once a week and it's fast food. I know it's bad for us, but I get tired of cooking and look forward to it. Luckily my husband and I have jobs, we don't live beyond our means. A little older a little wiser. :) (12/04/2007)

By Ariela

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July 30, 20090 found this helpful

I never miss paying a bill on time. As I receive bills in the mail, I check to see that the amount owing is accurate, write on the outside of the envelope, at the very top, the date that I either need to mail in my payment for it to reach the company on time, or the date that the amount will be deducted automatically from my checking account. The envelopes are kept on the window ledge just above my desk in an old, decorative napkin holder in date order.

I sit at my desk first thing every day to plan my day, always remembering to glance up at my bills to be paid. Any that have that day's date on them, I take care of immediately. Since I do not get paid interest on my checking account, as soon as I get my credit card bill, I check to make sure all my saved sales slips, which I keep in date order in the pocket of my Account Book, match the amount on the statement and write the check.

In 35 years, I have never had to pay interest on any credit card because I pay the balance off every time I receive a bill.

By Betty from Portland, OR

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December 28, 20060 found this helpful

You've heard it before. "You always have to pay your bills on
time or it will hurt your credit rating". The fact is that not
paying your bills on time can also cost you a bunch of money.

The last time I checked being late on a credit card payment
can cost you as much as $29 each time. In some cases this is
more than the payment.

Most banks and loan companies also charge some sort of late fee.
Even my electric company tacks on 10% if you don't pay on time.

The bad part of this is that most of the time making late
payments can be avoided. That's because they are simply a
result of a lack of organization. If your bills and receipts
aren't kept organized there is a good chance you will eventually
be late on a payment.

There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a bill for
something you know you've already paid and not being able
to find the receipt or cancelled check. In this case, if
you can't prove you already paid it then you still owe it.

You have to have an organized filing system that you keep
up with faithfully. At Budget Stretcher I have a system so
that you can have your budget, bill paying and filing system
all in one convenient 3 ring binder.

To use this system you will need to setup a budget using
The Complete Budget and Bill Organizer. This organizer is
available free at http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/BBOonline.html . I
would suggest visiting this page to setup your budget before
you try to set up your organizer.

Whether you decide to use my Bill Organizer system or another
system you need to have one. I am going to go through my
system step by step.

Keeping track of your bills each month can be a headache. How
to organize your bill paying and keep track of those receipts,
canceled checks, loan papers and other important paperwork can
be made easy.

Below is a list of supplies you will need. These are available
at all department and office supply stores.

  • 1 - Three Ring Binder 1 ?"
  • 3 - Document Protectors(Designed to insert in 3 ring binder)
  • 15 - Pocket Dividers
  • 1 - Write on Tab Divider

SETUP

Step One: Open your three ring binder. Insert your pocket tab
dividers. In front of the pocket dividers, place 1 Write on Tab
Divider. The Write on Tab Divider is designed to provide support
while you are writing on the Monthly Bill Summary.

Step Two: After you complete your Budget as outlined in the
The Complete Budget and Bill Organizer
http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/BBOonline.html
label the dividers. Start by labeling the first divider, Bills
to be Paid. Then label the rest of the dividers with the names
of your bills. See the below sample:

  • Divider Tab's Labels
  • Bills To Be Paid
  • House Payment
  • Car Payments
  • Utilities
  • Telephone
  • etc.

Continue this until you have a divider for each bill. If you
donít have enough dividers I suggest that you combine similar
bills. This could be all car payments, utilities or credit
cards.

Step Three: Place your Budget Form, Monthly Bill Summary and
Page 2 of the Monthly Bill Summary in the document protectors.
Then place them in the three ring binder in this order:

  • Monthly Bill Summary (this will be the first form you see when
    you open your binder)
  • Budget Form
  • Monthly Bill Summary Page 2

USING YOUR BILL ORGANIZER

Step One: Gather all of your bill statements and payment books
and place them in the pocket divider labeled Bills to be Paid.
This is where all the bills are to be placed when you receive
them.

Step Two: On payday, look at section 2 of the Monthly Bill
Summary to determine which bills need to be paid that payday.
Write out your checks for these bills and get them ready to
mail. On the statement for each bill or in your payment book,
write the check number and date paid.

Step Three: File all statements in the pocket divider
corresponding to that bill. When you receive your bank
statement and after you reconcile it, also put the canceled
checks in the pocket divider corresponding to that bill.
File any correspondence in these pocket dividers.

Read more about Your Checking Account at: http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/checkingaccount.html

One of the biggest problems people have with organizing their
bills and receipts is not knowing what to keep and what to
throw away.

First, there are really four types of files. Personal
(bill receipts, etc), tax files (any paperwork that is
required for taxes), long term files (mortgages, car contracts,
or any other contract) and important papers (will, birth
certificates, etc.)

Personal files are the files mentioned in the Bill Organizer.
At the end of the year, if the files aren't too thick you can
consolidate them into one folder labeled with the year.
Examples of things in this category are: monthly insurance
statements, credit card statements, mortgage receipts, and
any other monthly statement. KEEP THESE RECORDS FOR TWO YEARS.

Tax files can be filed in a folder or accordion folder. These
items include: W2 forms, 1099 forms, All tax forms with
attachments and any other form that you receive that must be
reported on your taxes. KEEP THESE RECORDS FOR THREE YEARS.
It is best to keep your previous years tax forms plus the
three years before that. The IRS only audits back three years.
You can destroy older files.

Long Term files include your mortgage or lease agreements,
notes on car purchases or any contract that is still in effect.
Keep these files in a safe place. KEEP THESE FILES AT LEASE
UNTIL THE AGREEMENT HAS ENDED. MY SUGGESTION IS TO KEEP THEM
FOR FIVE YEARS AFTER THE AGREEMENT HAS ENDED.

Important papers should be kept together where you can lay
your hands on them quickly. You might want to use a safety
deposit box or at least a locked drawer. These items include:
wills, deeds, trusts, stock certificates, birth and death
certificates and any other extremely important documents.
KEEP THESE FILES INDEFINITLY.

As you can see this organizer will help you keep everything
in order. However, no organizer will be any good if you
don't keep up with it.

One tip that will help you keep this organizer neat is to
eliminate any paper that doesn't need to be there. Many
people keep the envelope that the bill is received in. You
will find that this will clutter your organizer faster than
anything else.

It is also not a good idea to fold your receipts or copies
of your statements unless you absolutely must to make them
fit.

Having a system to file your bills and receipts will make it
much easier to know what bills are due and when they are due.
Once you know this paying your bills on time is much easier.

About The Author:
Terry Rigg is the author of Living Within Your Means - The Easy
Way http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/ebookadpage.html and editor
of The FREE Budget Stretcher Newsletter and Budget Stretcher
web site http://www.homemoneyhelp.com. He has 25 years of
experience counseling individuals and families concerning their
personal finances. Use this email link to get a list of all of
Terry's articles by autoresponder at: articlelist@budgetstretcherpremium.com

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