When you are first on your own, it may seem very easy to manage bills. Just keep the cupboards full, make rent on time, and keep your cell phone on. It’s when various other things start to come into play that the management becomes more than just something you can remember off the top of your head. Other bills include: Car payments, car insurance, home owners insurance, mortgage, electricity, gas, water, cable, Internet, credit card payments, daycare, lot rent, and many other problematic bills that pile on top of each other.
So how to manage all of this? Of course you can submit to one of the various companies that will do all of your bill paying for you, but is this the smartest way to go? Most of these companies tend to take a healthy chunk of your pay check aside from bills and keep it for their selves. I recommend several different ways of managing your bills on your own.
Manage bills Online. If you are someone who spends a lot of time on the computer, there is a lot of potential for managing all of your bills online. You can set up book marks for different web sites in which you will be required to pay bills at by a certain date, or you can set up re-curring payments that will deduct the money from your financial institution or credit card at a certain date. I personally do not like automatic payments, because my bank account fluctuates and I do not like that there is the possibility I may not have the money when it becomes due.
Use a Calendar. Whether it is an electronic calendar that you carry in your phone or PDA, or one that you stick in your purse, make sure to always keep a record of when bills are due, and put it somewhere that it will either automatically remind you (leaving enough time to pay them) or that you will check frequently. I personally use Google Calendar, and then I sync the calendar to my phone (So I can view both online at Gmail.com and on my phone, with mobile and email alerts).
Setup Automatic Payments through your Bank. Many banks have the option to setup automatic bill payments. And even if this is not an option, you can always save the problem of having to write a check out to several bill collectors by paying through your bank online. Even merchants that don’t take credit cards are often listed as bill collectors on many bank websites. Consumers, for example, does not take credit card payment, but if you wish to pay by bank account, you can do so on the 5th/3rd website. This is true for various other bank websites as well.
Set aside money. And set it aside from each paycheck rather than the one closest to when the bill is due. You may find that something else comes up, better to already have half of the money ready than to have to use all of your next pay check to pay the bill. Calculate out on average what your monthly bills are, and if you are paid weekly, divide that amount by 4, (2 for biweekly), and set aside that much money from each paycheck for bills. This way you are prepared before the bill even comes or is after the next immediate payday.
Contact collectors when necessary. If you cannot make a bill on time, do not just avoid paying it and let it slide. Almost all bill collectors will work with you to some extent if you are not going to be able to pay on time. You can avoid many shut-offs, evictions, and other problems simply by calling the person in which you are supposed to pay to inform them that you will be paying, you will just be late, and give them a date when you can pay all or part of the amount past due.