You're a responsible adult who pays your bills on time.
But occasionally life gets in the way, and you forget. You might even think it doesn't matter as long as your bills eventually get paid. This view may lead to you continually juggling payments and trying to figure out what's urgent versus what's important.
Paying bills on time can change your financial future. This simple act not only reduces stress and saves money, but it also lays the groundwork for improved financial health. Imagine no pesky late fees, a higher FICO Score and the ability to pay less for borrowed money. This is possible when you have a history of making your payments on time.
Not having a spending plan that takes into account payment due dates makes late payments inevitable.
Pay your bills on time to stop the accidental leaks in your spending plan that delay your financial goals. Use the money saved to start an emergency savings fund, pay off debt sooner, or save for next year’s summer vacation.
Here's how to never make a late payment again.
Make It Fun
Dedicate a spot in your home as the “bill pay station”. In this special area, keep everything you need to make timely bill payments. The primary tool at a bill pay station is the bill pay calendar. Record due dates in the calendar for upcoming months. You'll also want to keep special supplies in this area. A favorite pen, notepad, paper clips and other office supplies used explicitly for bill pay should be housed here.
Organize Paper and Electronic Bills
To simplify the bill paying process and reduce the stress of having to check more than one place for your bills, sign up for either paper or electronic bill notifications – not both. If you decide to receive all of your bills in a hardcopy format, then be sure to separate them from the other mail upon receipt. Add the paper bills to your bill pay station inbox.
If you decide only to receive your bills electronically, be sure to create an e-folder for your statements. Folders should be labeled by company or month and may include subfolders. When an e-statement arrives, move it to the upcoming folder for bill payment.
The most important thing to remember about bill organization is that hardcopy bill notifications and e-statements must be placed where they can easily be retrieved when it’s time to sit down and pay your bills.
Adjust Due Dates
Are your bills due before you receive your paycheck? Some creditors will allow you to change the due date to help you make on-time payments. All you have to do is ask. If a creditor is unwilling to change the due date, then consider splitting the typical amount in half and make payments that coincide with your paydays.
Pay Bills at Regular Intervals
Mark your calendar to review bills a few days in advance of each payday. Identifying and committing to pre-selected dates will help you form a habit of paying your bills on time. This also provides an excellent opportunity to review your prior payments to make sure they were correctly applied to your account.
Automate Your Payments
If you frequently find yourself forgetting to make a payment, then you should automate your payments. Set your payment to draft from your checking account in time for it to be posted by the due date. Not only is this a reliable way to never miss a payment, but autopay makes it easier to address a payment dispute.
Another bonus of using automatic payments is that it makes you live within your spending plan. You can’t spend money that has already been withdrawn to pay a bill.
Making on-time payments is easy to do if you have a plan. It’s as simple as knowing when bills are due and the total amount of the bill. The rest is as easy organizing your bill payment space. Taking just one of the steps presented here will allow you to take control of financial health. Make these changes a priority, and by this time next month you could be more confident and feel less stressed about your financial future. If you can't pay your essential bills, don't be discouraged. Help is available. Contact your creditor for alternate payment arrangements or speak with a credit union representative for additional assistance.