Step-by-Step to Paying Bills on Time
These suggestions can help you avoid the stress and expense of late payments
Paying bills late (or not at all) can lead to financial trouble like late fees, increased debt and a damaged credit score, but it isn’t always easy to keep track of invoices and due dates. These suggestions can help you set up a system to pay bills on time so you can avoid the stress and expense of late payments.
Keep a list of all bills
For starters, it's a good idea to keep a list of all of your bills. This will help you keep track of your expenses and plan accordingly. It doesn't matter if you keep this list in a notebook or in a digital document as long as you refer to it regularly and use it as a guide for where you put your money on a day-to-day basis. List out each expense along with the date the payment is due. Include amounts owed as well as the dates on which you will be getting paid yourself.
Set up auto-pay when possible
Most utilities and recurring billable services will allow you to set up an automatic payment each month. This is good for the sellers because it gets them paid on time, and it's good for you because it doesn't give you a chance to forget to pay your bills. Use this option whenever possible to help you stay up to date on your payments. However, you must always make sure you have the money in your bank account to cover the payment before it goes through. Otherwise, you'll be looking at late payments and associated fees, along with potential overdraft fees from your bank.
You can also set up automatic bill-pay with your bank to take care of your mortgage, insurance premiums, etc. on the due date each month. Nevada State Bank’s online bill pay service allows you to get alerts when a payment date is coming so you can make sure to have the funds in place.
Pay other bills as soon as you get them
If you have bills that are not set up for auto-pay, try to pay them as soon as you get them if you have the funds to do so. This will help ensure that they are paid on time, and keep you ahead of the game before you receive more bills.
Keep your bill folder where you will see it and check it regularly
For many people, paying all the bills as soon as they are received simply isn't realistic. Keep your bills in a bill folder or inbox in an area of your home where you'll see it regularly. Organize the bills by due-date with the top priority ones in front. This will help you keep the bills in mind so you can pay them as soon as possible.
Make sure the money is in your bank account before due dates
Just as you need to make sure you have the money in your bank account to cover automatic payments, you'll need to do the same before due dates on paper bills. Don't risk overdraft fees or bounced checks.
If you get email notifications, keep them marked as unread until they're paid
Many service providers will send you email notifications as bills become available. These can serve as helpful reminders, and if you keep them marked as unread in your inbox until you've paid them, they will be there to remind you every time you check your email.
Utilize calendars (digital and physical)
Get a physical calendar if you don't already have one, and every time you receive a bill, add a note on the corresponding due date. Keep the calendar in a place where you will see it often, whether it's on or near your desk or on your refrigerator. You can also use a digital calendar, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook, to keep track of these dates. Most calendars will even let you set up repeat reminders on the same day every month.
Most of us carry smartphones with us, and there are plenty of apps available that can help you stay on top of your bills. One app that virtually every smartphone comes with is a clock, which features the ability to set multiple alarms. You can use this feature to remind you to pay specific bills on certain days, as well.
Everyone is different, so try out these suggestions and see which ones work best for you. Then set up your own system for paying your bills on time and make it a part of your regular routine.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC