Bad News- having to sit down with your checkbook or at your computer and pay bills (but paying bills is something we have to do every month every month whether we like it or not).
Good news- there is a method to this that can make the job a little easier for you, and it will save you some time when tax season rolls around.
1. Keep all your bills on a spreadsheet, calendar or in a notebook. You will need to list the name, due date and amount; you can add other information if you need it. Make sure to pay attention to the due dates so you never miss a payment and incur late fees. Also, you need to remember to not pay too early if you have an interest-bearing checking account. Everyday your money stays in the account, the more interest you accrue.
2.Pay all your monthly bills that have a fixed amount. This would be your rent or mortgage first and then your other monthly bills. Fixed bills tend to be the most expensive and are always due on the same day every month (at least that makes it easy to remember). Pay your other monthly bills by the due date and in the order of importance. For example, pay the electric bill before paying the cable bill. Because if something should go wrong, you at least have heat and lights.
If for some reason you cannot pay a bill when it is due, don’t throw it aside and pretend it’s not there. Not only is that stressful for you, it’s UNEEDED stress. Make sure to all 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. I have found most companies to be quite accommodating.
3.File your receipts as you go and you will find tax season goes by a little easier (LOL, this is the part I am terrible at.. hopefully you do a better job!). Prepare files for all your categories like medical, donations , etc.. . After you pay the bill, then put the receipts into the appropriate file folder. This process only takes a few minutes and it can save you time in locating receipts when you need them.
4.While you are paying bills, sort your receipts for items you may have purchased that month. File the receipts alphabetically so you have instant access to them in case you need to use a warranty or return an item to the store. (which we did NOT do for a dishwasher we purchased less than a year ago and recently a piece broke off!)
It does take time to set up your filing system and account log whether it is on your computer or hard copy. It isn’t going to be a fun job, but if you take the time and do it, you will see that paying bills and keeping track of all your paperwork becomes second nature to you- and is TOTALLY worth it!
Go ahead and plan a time in the next couple days to start getting those files ready so you can make paying next months of bills a bit easier.
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