Does it sometimes seem like keeping track of when your bills are due and how much you owe is a juggling act? Try these simple solutions that may help you organize and manage your bills more easily:
- Create and follow a budget - When you know how much money you have coming in and going out each month, you can get a better handle on your spending and set aside money for when you need to pay your bills. If you need to cut expenses, consider increasing insurance deductibles or switching to a less expensive cell phone, internet, or cable plan. Other cost-saving ideas include carpooling to work, brown-bagging your lunch, and reducing takeout.
- Keep all your bills in one place - Get a folder or large envelope and open and put each bill into it when it arrives in the mail. Keep the folder or envelope in a place where you’ll see it frequently to help you remember that you have bills due. If you receive your bills by email, consider setting up a separate email account that’s just for bills. That way you’re less likely to lose a bill among the other emails you receive.
- Set up a reminder system - If you use an electronic calendar, set reminders for when you need to pay bills. It may be easier if you group your bills into two or three payment dates a month based on when the bills are due and when you get paid. There are also apps that can send you bill payment reminders. If you don’t use an electronic calendar, get a big wall calendar and post it somewhere prominent, like on the refrigerator. Mark you bill paying dates on the calendar and cross them off as you pay the bills.
- Know how long it takes your payment to post - To make sure your payments are received on time, mail them at least five working days before the due date. If you pay bills online, check and see how soon your payments will be credited. Some online payments can take several days to post to your account. You may also want to consider auto-pay. Your payments are automatically deducted from your bank account on a set date. If you choose this option, make sure to check your bank balance to ensure you have enough in the account to cover the payments.
- If you’re facing a large or unexpected bill, consider asking for a payment plan - Even with the best planning, there may be times when you’re faced with a large bill you can’t pay in full like a costly car or home repair or medical bill. Call the creditor and ask if you can set up a payment plan so that you can make smaller payments over a longer period of time.
Getting your bill paying organized can help you keep on track financially, strengthen your credit score, and take the stress out the process.
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