Have you ever had to pay a fee for paying a bill late? It happens to most of us at least once. Let me ask you another question. Was that bill late because you totally forgot about it? I’d be lying if I said that it has never happened to me. There was one year my eye doctor didn’t get paid for quite some time. Which is a shame as I like my eye doctor. Without them, I can’t drive, see my kids, or basically do anything that involves being able to see more than 16 inches in front of me.
It can be so easy to misplace a bill, even if you place it on your desk, in a basket, etc. as soon as it comes in. However, that is a great first step to creating a bill paying system.
Bill Paying System- Pen and Paper
A lot of being organized in all areas of life is using systems. We all use systems to clean our house, get dinner made, do our shopping, and get our children ready for the day/ready for bed. Why should bill paying be any different?
There can be lots of different bill paying systems from automatic to digital to pen and paper. The trick is to find one that works for you. We are going to mostly focus on the old school pen and paper method today because that is my preferred method.
Use a calendar
This is a huge one. You can have a special calendar just for keeping track of your bills or you can use your regular family calendar. I use the family calendar. My trick here is to color code different things. My activities are one color, my husband’s another, etc. Bills have their own color and the amount due is written on the day they are due. The color coding makes it super easy to look at the calendar and know what’s going on.
The next part is to assign bills to each paycheck. Doesn’t matter if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly or twice a month, assign bills to each paycheck. For me, the first week of the month is my television service, my monthly wellness order with Young Living, and saving for our next car. The second week is my student loan and the cell phones. And so on throughout the month. To help keep track, at the end of the previous month, on a small puece of paper that I clip to the calendar, I write down the date of each paycheck for the next month and assign bills to those paychecks. I try to balance the assigned weeks with due date and not having too much to pay from one paycheck, making it difficult to pay for things like gas and groceries.
Organizing paper bills
99% of our bills are paid online and do not have paper statements, but we do have a few that need to be paid by mail and those not regularly occurring bills like eye doctor visits and such. These bills also need to be assigned a week. Be careful not to just through it in a basket and forget about it. The trick here is to figure out its assigned week as soon as you receive the bill. If you just can’t do that right away, a good method would be to clip the bill straight your calendar.Never have a late fee again with a bill paying system Click To Tweet
Bill Paying System- Digital
We’re not going to talk much about digital as it has never been a method that works well for me. Similar to the pen and paper method, the trick here is to still assign weeks to each bill. Auto bill pay can be a great option if you have regular pay and aren’t so great at remembering to pay bills. A lot of banks offer this through their online banking or you can check with each bill you have. Sometimes student loan companies will give a little discount if you enroll in their auto-pay.
Even with a digital bill paying system and auto-pay, you’ll still have the occasional paper bill you will need to deal with. For this, do the “clip to the calendar” tip mentioned above. Or another very obvious way that will help you remember.
With whatever method you decide to do, your bill paying system will only work if you stick with it. It might take a couple months to decide what works best for you. You might even discover that you do a mash-up of different methods. The important thing is to figure out what works for you and make it a habit. If, after a few months, you discover that the system is no longer working for you, don’t be afraid to tweak it to work better. Your bill paying system is entirely up to you! Just make sure you have one and you will never have to deal with a late fee again.