Paying Bills – Method Prevents Madness

You may feel that there is nothing worse than having to sit down with your checkbook or at your computer and pay bills, yet it is something that has to be done every month whether we like it or not.  Here is some good news, you can impose a method on this madness that can make the job a little easier for you, and save you some time when tax season rolls around.

Here are some ideas…

Keep all your bills on a spreadsheet or in a notebook.  List the name, due date and amount; you can add other information if you need it.  Pay attention to the due dates so you never miss a payment and incur late fees.  Also remember to not pay too early if you have an interest-bearing checking account because everyday your money stays in the account, the more interest you accrue.

Pay the most important bills first.  Pay all your monthly bills that have a fixed amount like your rent or mortgage first and then go in and pay your other monthly bills.  Fixed bills are usually the most expensive and are always due on the same day every month.  Pay your other monthlies by the due date and in the order of importance.  For instance, pay the electric bill before paying the cable bill.  If something should go wrong, you at least have heat and lights.

Make payment arrangements if necessary.  If for some reason you cannot pay a bill when it is due, don’t throw it aside and pretend it’s not there.  Call the company and make arrangements to get it paid as soon as you can.  The last thing you need is to have a bill turned over to collections, especially if you can make payment arrangements.

Organize your receipts.  File your receipts as you go and you will find tax season goes by a little easier.  Make files for all your categories like medical, donations and the like.  After you pay the bill, put the receipts into the appropriate file folder.  This only takes a few minutes and it can save you time in locating receipts when you need them.

Keep important receipts.  While you are paying bills, it is a good time to sort receipts for items you may have purchased that month.  File receipts alphabetically so you have instant access to them in case you need to use a warranty or return an item to the store.

Take the time to do it now.  Setting up your filing system and your account log whether it is on your computer or hard copy, takes time.  It isn’t going to be a fun job, but if you take the time and do it, you will see that paying your bills and keeping track of all your paperwork becomes second nature to you.  Go ahead and start getting those files ready so you can make paying your next round of bills a little easier.

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