The busy holiday season is approaching. That means a few hundred more things to do on top of the thousand that we already do every day. Holidays can be overwhelming and make us forgetful, but there is one important chore we must not forget. Paying your bills and making sure they are on time.
Start by getting organized. Have a specific container for all your bills. It can be a file folder, basket, or a simple letter tray. If you have a file folder or bill divider you can separate the bills for a more added convenience. As soon as a bill arrives in the mail put it in your organizer.
Next, you will want to set up a clean and organized place to pay your bills. Make sure it has everything you need; your checkbook, checkbook register, calculator, calendar, pens and pencils, stamps, and anything else you might need to pay bills. If at all possible, designate a place where there is little distraction. It will be less stressful when the kids are not jumping around and yelling when you are trying to write out checks. You are less likely to make any mistakes and keep your checkbook correctly balanced.
Schedule a time each week where you can dedicate yourself to sit down and handle the bills. It will make it much easier if you do a little each week and you are more likely to make your deadlines.
When you open your bill, circle or highlight the due date, and put it in your organizer. Mark your calendar to make the payment at least one week before the bill is due. This will allow for plenty of time to get through the mail. This is more important around the holidays when mail delivery can lag behind due to all the extra packages. Constant late-payments could be recorded on your credit record and hurt your score.
When you are done paying the bill, make a note on the bottom with the date you paid and the check number that was used. If you pay your bill online or over the phone, write down the confirmation number that you are given and record it on the bill statement. File and keep your paid bills in a separate file in case there are any errors or bill disputes. Go through all your past bills once a year and if the payment went through with no problems, then you can shred them.
Another fast and convenient way of paying your bills is with an automatic withdrawal. This will save you time and ensure that your bills will not be paid late. We have also previously discussed online bill paying, which is another easy way to quickly pay bills and save some money and hassle.
Whatever method you choose it is important to stay focused and organized. Habits are hard to break and setting a time each week to take care of your bills is a good one to get hooked on.