Bills, Bills, Bills
How about we make paying bills a little less stressful?
How about creating an easy to use bill paying system?
Let’s start at the beginning. The beginning being when the mail arrives. I have said it before, and I am going to say it again, deal with your mail on a daily basis.
The beginning being when the mail arrives. I have said it before, and I am going to say it again, deal with your mail on a daily basis.
1. When the bills arrive in the mail, set them in the bill paying area immediately.
2. Set up a bill paying area. This is where all your bills live until you are ready to pay them. If you pay bills somewhere other than a desk, you will need to set up a special container for bill paying. It can be something as simple as a plastic shoe box. It will hold pending bills, checks, check register, deposit slips, a letter opener, payment coupon booklets, pens, stamps, envelopes, return address labels, a calculator and a stapler.
3. Pay bills on the same date(s) each month. Whether it is four times a month, twice a month or once a month, pick a day or days and make that bill paying day(s). Manilla and Mint have an app for that.
4. Automate as much as possible. Some vendors allow on line bill pay. If they do, set this up so your bill is paid automatically by either credit card or automatic draft. If you don’t want money automatically taken from your account and want a little more control, set up on line bill pay with your bank. This is a great way to pay bills.
5. Reduce the number of credit cards you use. By doing this, you reduce the number of bills you receive, and the number of bills you have to pay.
6. Use a money management program. Many people use Quicken. Or you can try something a little newer like Manilla or Mint.
6. When you are done paying the bills, place them in a 12 slot accordion file under the appropriate month. Do the same with your bank statements and necessary receipts. When tax time rolls around, everything is in one spot and easy to find. After the taxes are done, bundle up the container, label it with the year and keep for as many years as your tax accountant suggests and the IRS requires.
7. You could go paperless. Most major institutions would now prefer to send paperless bills. This means less paper for you to deal with.
Having a system in place is only part of the solution. But, using a system is imperative!