You’re busy. I get it. I’m busy, too, and sometimes I forget to sit down and pay my bills in a timely manner. However, I don’t want a ding to my credit score. Because I’m so busy with my kids and their many activities, and L.I.F.E., I use several strategies to make sure my bills get paid on time.
Here are some of my favorite strategies:
Set e-mail reminders.
For each of my credit cards, I have set up e-mail reminders. Depending on the company, I’m sent an e-mail reminder six to 10 days before my payment is due. I can’t tell you how many times these e-mail reminders have meant the difference between a late and on-time payment. Everyone should set e-mail reminders for their bills, in my opinion, especially if you have a very busy schedule.
Set up recurring payments to your credit card.
While I generally avoid setting up recurring payments to my checking account, I do advocate setting up recurring payments to credit cards. Why? If a charge is fraudulently applied to your credit card, the credit card company protects you. If the same thing happens to your checking account, your entire account could be emptied, and then you would miss other payments to other creditors and have to pay for bounced checks.
In addition, if you have a credit card with a rewards program, you could gain rewards simply for paying your monthly bills that you used to pay via check and snail mail. Those points can add up quickly when you’re paying your monthly recurring bills with credit cards. Just make sure to pay off your credit card each month.
Set up a special account for automatic payments from your savings or checking.
If you still prefer to set up automatic payments to your bank account, I’d suggest setting up a separate account just for automatic payments. Then, if there is an error on the vendor’s part, you don’t risk paying overdraft fees on your regular checking account.
I have one account that is devoted solely to automatic payments for my husband’s student loans and our life insurance (the only two payments I have set to auto pay from our bank account). These are both fixed expenses, so at the beginning of every month, I just schedule a transfer to that account so the payments can be deducted. Since I don’t use this account for any other purpose, there is no worry about not being able to make other payments or bouncing checks.
Keep all of your bills in one place.
If you’re still receiving bills in the mail rather than electronically, keep all of your bills in one place. If you use snail mail, also keep stamps there. Then, when you’re ready to sit down to pay your bills, you have everything you need right in one place.
What are your strategies to make sure your bills get paid on time? What suggestions would you add to this list?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.