Create a bill paying checklist.

If you don’t already use Quicken or an app or a spreadsheet or some other system that works for you, today is the day to get your bills in order.  Not having those in order means you may end up paying late fees or interest.  In the past, I had clients who paid hundreds every month just because they didn’t have their bills and dates together, so this task could end up saving you money as well as time.

If you don’t already have one, create a list of your monthly bills.  (I put biyearly and yearly bills on my calendar instead.  You do what works for you.)  I have published a digital download for both a monthly and yearly bill pay checklist/organizer/tracker for just $1.00 in my store at Bridget E Creations.  Or you can create your own on a piece of paper if you like.  Include columns for the payee, the due date, the amount due, and a checkbox for whether the bill has been paid.  You can start this month by listing the bills as you remember them.  Then next month, when you revise the list, list your bills by the dates they are due.

Pay the bills as you feel comfortable.  I know my parents refuse to pay any bills online, and I’m sure some of you feel the same way.  You do you.  As for our household, I have streamlined our bill-paying process.  Most of our bills and particularly our mortgage, car payment, and are automatically debited from our accounts.  I don’t trust credit card companies not to make a mistake, so I schedule those once a month after I’ve viewed my charges.  I pay bills only once per month; I just schedule the bills in advance.  For example, if my credit card bill is due on the 20th, I pay the charges in full on the 20th, even though I may schedule that payment on the 5th.  I do review my accounts regularly to ensure that the payments were actually deducted and were correct.  I don’t check the “paid” checkbox until the money is actually withdrawn from my account.

Getting this list complete may take you a month.  For example, I tend to forget our health insurance because it’s automatically debited from our account and I never receive a statement.  But if it doesn’t get paid, it’s my fault, and I have found on occasion that I don’t always get that letter notifying me that the payment didn’t go through for some reason.  (Our health insurance payment doesn’t process correctly approximately once per year, and it’s never because the money isn’t in the account.)  But as I’m sure you know, if we get disenrolled from our health insurance for nonpayment, whether the account was on autodebit and whether the funds were in the bank, we have a big problem.  Review the list with your bank and credit card statements at the end of the month to ensure that you didn’t forget to list any bills.

I’ll follow up next month with a reminder to revise your list in date order.

Time required:  Several hours for me.  Your time required depends on how organized you are and how many accounts and bills you have.

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