Many people struggle to pay the bills on time each month. The mail comes in every day, right? (The majority of which is probably junk mail.) Maybe the mail gets tossed on the kitchen counter, maybe the corner of your desk, or maybe you open it right then and there…but what happens next? If you’re like a lot of people, once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. You tell yourself, “another bill to pay,” and you quickly move on to whatever is demanding your immediate attention.
Paying bills is something that HAS to get done. There’s just no way around it. Failure to pay the bills on time will not only reduce your credit score, it can cost you in large deposits should you move, higher interest rates, prevent you from getting your mortgage refinanced, having a low interest rate when buying a new car, and the list goes on.
It’s simple, really. You make a date with yourself to pay the bills.
Take out whatever calendar tool you use to keep track of important dates. Pick a date and time each week during which you will spend a few minutes opening the mail, paying the bills and filing paperwork. Make a commitment to treat this appointment with the importance it deserves. Treat it like you would an important doctor’s appointment, a special event, or a crucial business meeting.
Choose this date carefully so it doesn’t conflict with other important dates on your calendar. Tell your partner, if applicable, this date is to be considered important and cannot be usurped by other responsibilities or appointments. Guard this date and time to pay the bills.
Supercharge Your Success
Get to know your bills and your bill paying options. If you aren’t sure what gets paid how or if you don’t stick with the same process each month, paying the bills becomes a painful chore – one you’re likely to procrastinate doing. The more you know, the better prepared you are to set up a clear, easy to follow process.
Nowadays, most businesses allow you to choose your bill delivery method: paper bills via USPS and/or electronic bills delivered via email. They even offer handy options for bill reminders by email or text. And, when it comes time to pay the bills, you now have the ability to do so online, by phone, directly through your bank account, or the old-fashioned way via USPS. Payment options include credit card, debit card, electronic bank draft, or paper check.
Create a checklist that includes every bill you pay, its due date, the average amount due, its method of delivery, how it’s currently being paid (paper check or online; manually or auto-pay), and the method of reminder. Use this new checklist when you pay the bills on your monthly date night.
One More Thing
Do you just hate the idea of a date night to pay the bills? Then let’s reset your mindset.
A negative attitude will sabotage your efforts. Instead of having a mindset of dread, push the reset button on your thoughts and see it as an important key to a successful financial future. The small steps involved when you pay the bills on time each month lay the foundation for what you desire in the future. Make it a game if you want to, and you win every time you keep this date. Reward yourself and allow yourself to feel good about this accomplishment.
By making this your action plan, you will reduce stress around late notices and reduce the time it takes to pay the bills, open mail, and file paperwork, by not letting it pile up. Enjoy your date!
P.S. When daily financial tasks stress you out (or just bore you to death), a personal money manager can help.