With adulthood comes responsibility and with responsibility comes bills. Yes, bills. Pen pals are no longer a “thing” definitely. However, your creditors still love sending you bills in form of mails – in the mailbox or digitally. Failure to pay your bills on time could result in stoppage of services, utilities, or eviction. These actions could leave a dent on your credit profile.
Bills typically come with due dates. While it might be convenient for you to pay your bills at a certain time of the month, for example, when your paycheck hits the bank account, be mindful that the due dates might not necessarily align with such times. As a matter of fact, the due dates might be staggered throughout the month; especially, if you have no say in establishing a preferred due date.
So, how do you ensure that your bills are paid on time and, more importantly, have enough money in the bank to pay your them, when due? If you are making way more money than you spend on bills monthly, simply pay the bills as soon as you receive them. However, you will have to get creative in both tracking your bills and managing your money if you are just barely getting by.
You can set up automatic payments, so you do not have to worry about remembering when bills are due. These could be linked directly to your bank account or your credit card. You must be disciplined in making sure you have sufficient funds in your bank account for such bills to be paid without issues. The last thing you want is your bank charging you overdraft fees or your creditors charging you for failed transactions.
Setting up automatic payment via your credit card could earn you reward points on your credit card. This will also consolidate your payments such that you only have to manually pay your credit card bill monthly. Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance. See our article on credit cards. You also want to keep track of your credit card expiration date so you can update the information on applicable websites.
Another way to ensure your bills are paid timely is by using a simple spreadsheet to keep track of them. After a few months, you will have a pretty good idea around which dates certain bills come in and when they are usually due as such you can determine which paycheck to pay them from if you get paid on the 1st and 15th like most people do.
Whether you have automatic payments set up or not, it is advisable to always maintain a tracker. Reconcile the tracker periodically and check your emails for notifications incase a payment fails to process. This will help you identify and resolve any issues timeously. For instance, you might not realize increase to your insurance premium or even internet bill if they are set on automatic payment. A monthly reconciliation of your tracker will quickly bring these to your attention.
You can use our free bill-tracking spreadsheet to help you stay on top of your bills. Download a copy here.