It is important that all areas of our home are as organized as possible. That includes your bills! If you can’t find them, then you can’t pay them. That results in late fees …. or worse!!!
If your routine for handling your mail is to walk through the door and toss it onto the kitchen counter, the table or even shove it into a drawer, then you need to keep reading. I am going to help you create systems that will actually work!
It will require a little bit of effort on your part. So, if you are ready to jump in and make a change, then keep on reading. I’m truly here to help!!!
ORGANIZING YOUR BILLS
Note the due date on your calendar
Use your paper or electronic calendar to keep track of your bill. However, rather than jot down the due date, write down the date you need to mail or submit your bill. The reason is that if you happen to notice it on the day it is due, it is probably too late to pay it and you may already start accruing late charges.
If you use an electronic calendar, be sure to set it up to remind you to make the payment. This way, it will pop up on your phone or computer and you will not forget. If you use a paper calendar or day runner, you will notice it when you check your day’s events.
Use a bill payment log
Make a list of your bills including the amount and when they are due. When you make the payment, mark it as sent. You’ll always know when your bills are due and can keep better track of when they are paid.
You can use a regular notepad, or you can use our free Bill Payment log printable form.
Utilize online payments through your bank
A simple way to save time, paper, and stamps is to utilize your online payment system. When your bills arrive, log into your account and set up the payment so it happens on the date the bill is due. Now, you don’t have to remember to mail a check and the payment will not be deducted from your account until the date you need.
Keep in mind mailing time. Some payees will be paid via transfer, but some will have a check mailed to them. Make certain the timing of your bills accounts for processing and the time it may take for the check to arrive in the mail.
Use a storage box or basket
Whether you pay your bills yourself or electronically, you need to have a place to store them so that you don’t forget to pay them on time.
One option is a storage box with hanging folders inside. Use tabs which state: “Bills Due This Week”, “Bills Due Next Week”, etc. As your bills arrive in the mail, place the bill in the appropriate folder. Set aside time each week or other week to pull out the bills due this week and pay them accordingly.
Once the current week’s bills have been paid, look at those due next week (just to make sure you did not miss them). Then, go through the bills in the “due next week” folder and move them to the “due this week” one instead. By keeping your bills in one central location, you shouldn’t have to search to find your bills when it is time to pay them (or forget to pay them).
You may also want to use a small basket and place the bills there. Just make sure that the basket only contains bills so that other items do not get mixed in with them.
Watch your checking account
An organized checkbook saves you money. When you overdraw your account, you must not have had the money to pay the original withdrawal, so how is it that you have money to pay overdraft fees? Simply put – you don’t. In addition, when your check bounces, your payment is considered not received – which means late fees.
Make sure you keep good records by recording every check and debit timely (read – immediately) so that you have an accurate balance at all times. If your bank offers it, sign up for overdraft protection. We all can make mathematical errors, so this gives you coverage should this happen.
If you do find that you forgot to pay a bill, don’t immediately cut a check for the bill + late charges. Take a moment to call and ask the company if they would waive them for you. Advise them that you have never been late in the past and that it was an oversight on your part. They should be able to pull up your account and see that this is true. I have had companies do this for me in the past, with the stipulation that it is a one time service.
Create a bill-paying center
Before you sit down to pay bills, you need to make sure you have everything you need such as the checkbook, stamps, pen, computer (as needed) and of course the bills.
Make a small box that keeps these items handy so you can pull that out when it is time to pay the bills or keep them on your desk or central location so that everything you need is there when you sit down to focus on paying your bills.