A recent Bankrate survey finds that more than one in three Americans makes bill management a top financial priority. For some people, managing bills comes naturally and doesn’t take much thought or effort. However, for others the bill-payment process is a big headache that sometimes results in late payment fees, calls from collectors, and overwhelming anxiety. If the second description sounds more like you, it’s time to make a change. Here are a few ways to make managing your bills a bit less daunting.
1. Don’t throw your bills in a pile
While it may be easier to just toss your bills in a pile on your desk and get back to it later, the chances of actually remembering to open the bill and pay it on time are slim. If you receive paper statements, organize your bills by purchasing a bill organizer that you can place on top of your desk or kitchen countertop. Another option is to arrange to have your bills sent through email so that you can avoid the bill pile altogether.
2. Set up a payment calendar
Establish a calendar that is reserved just for tracking your payment due dates. This can be a paper calendar that you hang up on your wall or a digital calendar. Enter the names of your creditors into the appropriate calendar cells. If you opt for the digital reminder, set up alerts at least five days before the due date so that you’ll remember to send your payment. When it comes to bill payments, good intentions don’t count. What matters is consistently submitting your payments on time and in full. The billing representative couldn’t care less if you meant to send in your payment but you just forgot. Everyone is busy, so you get no sympathy.
3. Pay your bills as soon as they arrive
If your memory is so bad that reminders don’t work, your best choice is to pay your bills as soon as you get them in the mail or through email. This way, you won’t be burdened with remembering to send your payment. This eliminates excuses and the possibility of late or missed payments.
4. Use technology
Try out one of the many bill payment apps that are available. Technology can make your financial life a lot easier. Bill payment apps can assist you with tracking due dates, managing simple budgets, getting control over spending, and reaching financial goals. Two apps to consider are Mint Bills and Goodbudget.