Mortgage payment. Utility bills. Credit card bills. Student loans.
For some people, managing a variety of bills and due dates is no problem. For others, it may require more time and effort to keep their payments up to date.
If you could use a few suggestions to fine-tune your process, here are four tips that might help you pay your monthly bills on time:
1. Create a calendar strictly for bills
Do you keep a personal calendar for appointments and other commitments? If so, creating a separate calendar for bills could help you organize the financial obligations in your life as well.
For example: if you keep track of your personal calendar on a dry erase board, buy a paper desk calendar for your monthly due dates. Keeping the two separate could allow you to focus more and not get confused by an overload of information. Also, it might help you devote a certain area of your home to keeping your finances organized.
Here are some additional details for creating a calendar strictly for bills:
- Mark the dates when each bill is due.
- Mark specific days each month to pay your bills. It could be helpful to plan these days based on when you get paid (ex: pay upcoming bills on the 1st and 15th).
- Check your calendar at the beginning of each week to keep upcoming bills in mind.
- If you plan to mail in a payment, mark the date that it needs to be mailed by to arrive before the due date.
- After each bill is paid, make note of what day it was paid and cross it out.
2. Request to change your due dates
In order to pay your bills on time, you need available funds to cover the cost. If your due dates don’t align with your flow of income, you might have difficulty avoiding late payments.
This issue could be simply resolved by changing your due dates. However, the possibility of changing the date may come down to your lender and what type of debt you have.
If you have an installment loan, such as an auto loan or personal loan, your odds of changing the date could be favorable. The payment amount for this type of debt is the same each month, so the lender could be more lenient. On the other hand, when it comes to fluctuating bills like credit cards and utilities, your lender may not be as flexible.
If you’re interested in changing a due date, try the following:
- Make sure your account is up to date.
- Determine the new payment date and make sure it doesn’t affect due dates for other bills.
- Contact the customer service department of your lender or credit company to request the change.
- If approved, get confirmation of when the due date change becomes effective.
3. Automate your payments
Automated bill pay is another good option to manage monthly debts. When you sign up for automated bill pay, the amount you owe will be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month. For added convenience, some companies might allow you to choose the payment date, payment amount and a bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly payment schedule.
Before you sign up for automatic payments, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, find out if the service is free or costs money. Second, make sure you choose a date for the withdrawal that fits in your existing bill calendar. And finally, ask what needs to be done if you choose to stop automatic payments in the future.
Common ways to sign up for automated payments include:
- Visit your service provider or lender’s website and complete an enrollment form
- Sign in to your online user profile and complete an enrollment form
- Call the customer service number of your service provider or lender
4. Use mobile apps and financial software
Whether you’re tech-savvy or a beginner to technology, there’s a variety of mobile apps and software available to assist with monthly bills. In fact, some of the platforms can do a lot more than keep track of your due dates.
Based on your preferences, you could track your spending, build a budget or save for retirementalong with paying your bills. Some of these features might require you to provide personal and bank account information. To find the best financial technology for your needs, research your options for mobile finance apps and financial software.
Some benefits of this technology include:
- Seeing all of your bills and finances in one glance
- Getting reminders for approaching due dates
- Submitting payments directly through the app or software
- Accessing a detailed record of all payments submitted
Make on-time payments a priority
If you’re having difficulty paying bills on time, you may want to consider trying a new routine. Start with a few small changes at first and see what works best for you. Over time, your new habit of bill paying could become part of your everyday life.