PAY YOUR BILLS AND SAVE MONEY

Paying your bills is the easiest way to save money.  Every year people give away hundreds or thousands of dollars on late fees.  If you are juggling your money, or just forget bills are due, it is important to have a system to ensure on time payments.

Here are some tips to make the bill-paying process a little easier:

Reduce your intake:  Cancel services and subscriptions you no longer use or value and consolidate services whenever possible.  Cutting down on the amount of bills received will make it easier for you to manage what you do receive.

Take a few minutes:  Process your mail as soon as you get it.  When you bring in your mail take a few minutes to open each piece and put it in correct stacks.  Recycle the junk mail, shred credit card offers, stack magazines, and prepare bills to be paid.  Lable your bills:  Once you are aware of a bill, you can write the amount and the date the payment is due on the front of the envelope so it will be easy to see quickly.  Put everything in it’s place:  Have a distinctive place set aside for your bills.  Have a box, bin, envelope, etc for bills that are to be paid.  For extra organization, they can be filed in the order of the date they are due.

Stay on top of your dates:  At a minimum, go through your bills weekly to ensure you don’t forget about a bill.

Pay online:  Nearly every major utility and bank offers the ability to pay your bills via the web, or you can use your banks automatic bill payment process.  This is a great way to set up an automatic payment to be delivered before the date they are due.  Prepay your bills:  If you are really forgetful or going out of town, pay extra the month before.  It is ok to pay a month early to ensure things are taken care of and you avoid late fees.

File:  After bills have been paid be sure to put them in a paid file.  It is a good idea to file according to the type of bill, (insurance, utilities, credit cards, mortgage, etc.) or per month (Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.)  This will allow you to retrieve payment information if needed later and have everything in order for end of the year taxes.

You will also want to review your bills to ensure that they are correct and that last months payments were applied correctly.  Finding errors can be an added savings.  Always make sure you have funds in your account when making payments.  Using over-draft on your account will charge you additional fees that can add up quickly.  Some bills do not send out regular reminders, so it is important to keep a list of those bills.  Make sure you know when these bills are do and either set up an automatic payment through your bank, mark you calendar, or put it on an electronic calendar reminder.  Paying your bills on-time will save you monthly late fees and will help your credit as well.