Paying your bills on time is essential to your financial health. Not only will it help you avoid late payment fees and interest rate hikes, it will also help you maintain or build good credit and save money among other benefits because payment history is the biggest credit score component. Our 5 simple tips below will help you pay your bills on time and in full. And the second you find that you can’t afford to pay all your bill(s) in full or on time, you should immediately prioritize them and get on phone with your service providers to postpone or split your payment(s).
Here are 5 simple tips to help you manage and pay bills on time:
Always Update Your Address
This tip often overlooked but having your bills sent to the wrong address could easily mean late payment penalties, interest rate hikes and a hit on your credit. So make sure your address is always up to date especially if you move around quite a bit like I do.
Create and Stick to a Prioritized Budget
Create a feasible budget that accounts for ALL your bills and prioritizes them (rent, car insurance, high interest credit cards, etc.) If your budget is not balanced (your income is less than your expenses), then you need to either make more money or cut unnecessary expenditures ASAP. You can identify unnecessary expenditures by tracking every dollar you spend for an entire month and identifying your Tiny Giants!
Develop and Stick to a Payment Rhythm
Whether you get paid once a month, twice a month or once a week, the key is to maintain a payment rhythm that’s based on the due dates of your bills. I get paid twice a month so I always pay my bills on the twice a months on paydays…and I pay all the bills that are due up to the Thursday before the next paycheck. You could either set up automatic reminders to help you pay your bills or you can use my method and manage your bills on paydays by paying all the bills leading up to the next payday.
Consolidate Your Bills
Consolidating your bills reduces the number touch points and payments you have to make each month which reduces your likelihood of missing due dates. If you’re cellphone service, internet access and TV are from the same provider, it makes perfect sense to consolidate these bills and get just 1 monthly statement rather than paying 3 separate monthly bills. You should also be negotiating a discount based on those consolidations.
Monitor ALL Your Bills
You should also get into the rhythm of checking ALL your bills, including the automatic online bills, for inconsistencies while verify and validating payments. Also monitor your credit score at least monthly since that’s the measure of your financial health! Credit Karma provides free credit reports online and through their app. They also provide tools and tips to help you understand your score and take next steps.
Beware of Convenience Fees
Although automated online bill payments can save you a lot of time and money (especially if you do not keep a budget and are disorganized), pay attention to those services that charge an additional convenience fees for paying online or with a credit card. My water bill is always around $8/month but they charge an additional $4.99 for paying online or with a credit card. So it’s obviously cheaper for me to get a $0.40 stamp and mail out a check once a month.
However you choose to pay your bills, keep it simple, put some thought into it and remember that the ultimate goal is to pay ALL your bills on time and avoid late fees, interest rate hikes and unnecessarily hits to your credit score.
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