It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the details of managing your day-to-day finances, especially if you don’t have a clear-cut plan or habit in place for handling them.
One of the areas that often becomes a source of disorganization are the bills that arrive in the mail. If you’re not careful, they can really pile up. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s how you can organize your bills in six easy steps.
1. Choose your preference
Decide whether you prefer to handle your bills electronically or using the paper method. If you prefer paper, invest in a small bill organizer and a file cabinet or file box. If you prefer paying them electronically, sign up to do so online (either with your bank via online bill pay or through automatic payments with each company that you do business with regularly).
2. Choose a method
Decide on a method for paying the bills. Common methods include paying the bills as soon as they come in (no matter when they are due), paying them once a week on a set day, paying them on paydays, or paying having them automatically paid from your account on set days.
3. List your bills
Make a list of the due dates for all of your bills to be sure that they fit your chosen method. List them out in order by first by date, then by amount. Include the dates you get paid as well. If your bills are nicely spaced out, great. If not, consider asking for a change in due date for those that are less than ideal. (Many companies will be happy to change the due date for you.)
4. Schedule payments
Schedule the payments using planner, wall calendar, or electronically. If you use Quicken, you can schedule recurring payments, which can cut down on the time it takes to balance your account.
5. Make a commitment
Commit to a “handle things once” philosophy. This is actually the most important thing you can do to organize your bills. Make it a rule that when you get the mail you immediately open all of the envelopes, recycle advertisements, inserts, & junk mail, and then either enter the already electronically-scheduled bills into your account, pay them, or place them in your bill organizer for payment on the scheduled date. (That last bit is really handling them twice, but at least they won’t be piled up on the counter or accidentally taken out with the trash.)
Make your bill paying method a habit, and you can relax knowing that you’ve got one less thing to worry about.Posted in Money Management on 10.02.13 with 6 comments.