Personal Finance 101: 3 Tips to Help You Pay Bills on Time
If you’re a regular reader of personal finance websites and blogs, you will always find similar tips and advice on them: create a budget, pay off debt, stay on top of bills, invest, and build your fortune. Easier said than done, right?
Being an adult in America means being inundated with bills every single month. Whether they’re for rent or mortgage, car payments, cellphone bills, subscriptions, utilities—bills just keep coming, and unfortunately, they’re never really going to stop.
Living in the world means you have to keep paying for things; that’s just the simple truth. The best thing you can do is to keep up with these payments as best you can because late fees and penalties will only bury you further. Here are a few simple tips that can help you make all your payments perfectly on time:
Tip #1: Write Everything Down
Every personal finance journey begins with a reckoning and continues with meticulous record keeping. You will not be able to pay all of your bills on time if you don’t know what you’re paying for. Letting one or two bills fall through the cracks can be a hassle at best and expensive at worst.
Check your debit and credit card statements to identify every single recurring expense, whether it’s for your Netflix subscription, your gym membership, or anything else you’re paying for every single month. (This is also the perfect time to pull a Marie Kondo and downsize some of those subscriptions. If you haven’t used something in three months, why keep paying for it?)
List down all bill payment details, including specific amounts, vendors, due dates, and whether or not you have them enrolled in an automatic payment system. You will need to keep a close eye on those you have to pay manually.
Tip #2: Strategize
Once you have all the details of every single bill in order, it’s time to strategize. This will depend mainly on how often you receive your income. You need to set a bill payment schedule that ensures all your obligations are paid for before the due date and arrange your budget so that you will always have money left over for emergencies and other expenses.
It’s best practice to pay all your bills in full every single time. Carrying a monthly balance usually means burying yourself in interest.
Tip #3: Set Up Reminders
Once you have your budget and bill payment schedule laid out, you need to make it easy to remember all your due dates. You can add your payment schedule to your online calendar and set up alarms and reminders to ping during the day.
Make it a habit to always pay attention to your calendar reminders. If you just swipe the alert away and forget about it later, all your efforts will be in vain. You know your own habits and tendencies, so you should always set yourself up for success. If you will respond better to a physical calendar posted on your wall, then do that. If you need to keep a note right on your eye line while you work, then invest in Post-Its that you can’t ignore.
No one will keep up with your financial obligations for you. The bills are never going to go away, so you need to make it easy for you to keep up with them month in and month out. These simple tips will make sure that you never miss a payment ever again!
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