Just Bill Me.
I am over whelmed by the amount of monthly payments that I have to keep up with. Does your site or can you recommend an organizer for the due date of bills and how to get organized? Any program to help me get all in front of me to see?
If the following scenario sounds familiar, take heart you’re not alone! You come home from work to find a “past due” cable bill in the mailbox. You think you paid it, but your unbalanced checkbook says otherwise. A few weeks later, your check bounces and you have another late charge. In frustration, you rummage around your home cleaning up stacks of clutter and find the original bill, unopened. Often, problems people have paying bills have nothing to do with the money and everything to do with organization. We’ve got a few tips to make the dreaded chore easier for you that will save you hours and stress wrinkles.
Set Up a Bill Payment Station. It’s important to have an efficient system for bill paying, which means setting aside one place to do your bookkeeping and bill paying. First, make a place to put all of your bill paying accessories. This includes your checkbook, calculator, envelopes, stamps, mailing labels, etc. This doesn’t have to be elaborate! If you don’t have drawer space in a desk or bureau, you can easily store these items in a covered box or basket. Giving them a permanent “home” will free up time you spend looking for these items each week. Second, make sure you have a spot to place all of your unpaid bills. It’s a lot easier paying the bills when you don’t have to search for everything first!
Create Two Stacks of Bills. Arranging your bills by due date does not have to be a complicated affair. We’ve found that two, simple stacks are useful in identifying bills that need to be paid by the 15th of the month and bills that need to be paid by the 30th. It’s a straigtforward enough system that once a bill comes in, you can check the due date and immediately place it one of the two piles. If you want additional granularity, you can expand to four piles: the fifteenth and thirtieth of this month, the fifteenth and thirtieth of next month. Then when you sit down to pay your bills, you can focus your bill paying and bookkeeping efforts on the pile that matters most. To corral the piles, we recommend a wire mail sorter with at least two (or four) slots. You can get them at the Container Store (www.containerstore.com) for less than $15.
Set Your Schedule. To ensure you don’t fall behind on any bills, set either a weekly or bi-weekly appointment in your calendar to pay the bill. It may seem extreme, but designating a day and time for bill paying each week will keep you on the straight and narrow. When you stray from your plan, it is easy to procrastinate and “end up” falling behind. Be sure to pick a time where you are not likely to be interrupted by others. For a lot of parents that means after the children are tucked away in bed. Set recurring “appointment reminders” on your electronic calendar and your cell phone so that you don’t forget.