I thought I’d share a short post about preventing your bills from getting lost. If you keep things organized you can save money on fees and reduce the stress of worrying about bills being late.
Our bills are sorted by date–the due date is written on the envelope. Then the pile is organized by due date, with the ones due soonest on top. These are paper clipped in the checkbook. Top bill gets paid first.
My system is similar. I line my bills in order in a napkin holder (one that just has 2 bars to hold the napkins because I can see the bills easier), with my checkbook behind them.
Margaret, your system would be great if you need your bill paying to be portable, like if you don’t have room for a desk or travel a lot. My parents travel a lot and my mom takes her bills with her.
I hope I don’t blow some of your minds out there but, to be honest, I usually only have one or two bills in my bill holder because, when I can, I pay them the day after I receive them. To do this, I usually try to keep one or two extra months’ income in my checking account.
(Note from Mike: I do this with our bills, too. I pay most of them right away. Then I never have to wonder whether I paid all of the bills and if we have a sudden emergency, I can let it ride a week or two without consequences. We also keep some of our savings in the checking account at all times. Then, not only do we have the money when the bills arrive, but if we make a mistake with the checkbook we don’t bounce any checks. It took some work to save the “cushion” money for our checking account, but it has made out lives much easier!)
I know some people wait until the last minute to pay their bills because they don’t have the money or they have it and want to earn more interest. I have always felt since I have used these peoples services already, I owe them so I pay right away. It’s just one of my little quirks from being in business for myself years ago. I always appreciated it when my customers paid me right away. Sometimes I was desperate to be paid. If my customers hadn’t paid me we would have literally starved
(Note from Mike: Most people aren’t making enough interest on the money to make it worth holding the money anyway.)
I know in most cases people are dealing with big companies but I still feel if I use a service I should pay for it right away. As noble as that all sounds there are selfish reasons I pay my bills right away.
- I don’t want to spend my time thinking about or looking at an unpaid bill. It’s out the door, done and over with.
- Things happen. If I accidentally put a check in with the wrong bill or a wrong address on the envelope, I still have plenty of time to pay it without a late fee if it gets returned.
- If I get sick and have to go to the hospital I don’t have to worry whether I have bills that need to be paid. I am pretty well caught up.
I know that many of you pay over the Internet these days but this is for the handful of us ancients who pay bills the old fashioned way– with a checkbook.
P.S. Some of you can’t imagine being able to pay your bills instantly but it is doable. It is one of the lovely stress free perks about being debt free. That is why we work so hard at trying to teach people how to get out of debt– because, as many of you know, it feels so wonderful!