Paying bills can sometimes feel like a drag, and the more bills we incur the more overwhelming it can get. This makes it easy for bills to slip through the cracks and go unpaid, hitting us with late fees and dinging our credit reports. Don’t worry — we’re here to help you better manage paying your bills, and it’s super easy to do.
Keep a list of bills and due dates.
As bills start to add up, it can be hard to keep track of them all and easy to forget when they’re due. Start by making a list of everything you need to pay — rent or mortgage, utilities, credit cards, car payments, insurance, and so on. You can write them down in a notebook, keep them in a spreadsheet, or use one of the many apps available to compile the list.
Seeing all of your bills in one place helps keep them more organized in your mind, especially if they land on different dates throughout the month. With that in mind, it is also helpful to include each due date in your list along with any grace periods you’re allowed. Whenever you check the list, you can see exactly when each bill is due and how long you have until you’ll be charged a late fee. Keep in mind, grace periods offer some flexibility but shouldn’t be used too often — if you take advantage of them regularly, you may want to consider adjusting your due date with your biller.
If you receive physical bills in the mail, keep a designated space for them alongside your list. When you receive them, put them there right away and line them up with the monthly dues on your list. This will help ensure you haven’t lost any and aren’t accidentally missing payments.
Go digital and turn on alerts.
Many landlords, banks, and lenders have encouraged people to go paperless in recent years, both for environmental friendliness and more convenience. Organizing your bills digitally can have a lot of benefit, from eliminating the risk of losing a bill to receiving automatic reminders about upcoming bills.
If you decide to go paperless, be sure to turn on automatic alerts. Many institutions will send them via email, text, or through an app to let you know how many days until your payment is due. This helps you better manage paying your bills. And, it reminds you of due dates and allows you to pay early if you can, lessening the possibility of being charged a late fee.
Set up automatic payments.
To remove some of the stress of making manual payments on time, set up automatic bill payments when you can. Most billers allow you to connect a bank account from which your payments will be deducted on the due date.
If you have a strong budgeting plan and are confident that the money you need to make payments will be in your account when the due date comes, automatic payments take one step of the process off your plate. Be cautious if you are not sure that your account has the funds for your payments, as some billers will charge fees for insufficient funds or may even cancel a loan or insurance plan. If that’s the case, try adding up all your monthly bill expenses and putting at least that amount into your account at the start of every month before turning on automatic payments.
Review your bills regularly.
Even if you set up automatic payments, you should still keep an eye on your transactions to make sure you have enough money to cover the bills, there aren’t any charge errors, and that your bills haven’t changed.
Sometimes the amount of your bills can fluctuate — for example, insurance premiums can go up or down based on certain criteria, interest rates can change, promotional rates expire, and so on. Monitoring this can help ensure you’re not accidentally going over your budget or ending up with insufficient funds. It also ensures there aren’t any errors occurring, such as being charged twice or the incorrect amount.
Have questions? Ask us!
Managing bill payments, budgeting your money, and other financial management doesn’t have to be complicated. At Republic Bank of Chicago, we have amazing team members ready to help you and the tools you need to better manage paying your bills. Give us a call at 800-526-9127 or browse through our other money tips and tricks.