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Potential Pitfalls

July 29th, 2007 at 09:49 am

Problem 1: a consistent bill-paying schedule. Iím really haphazard with checking my mail every day and my house is a paper explosion on the best days. Also my debts require that I return the statement that comes in the mail with my payment and I hate it: it means that if for whatever reason, I canít put my hands on the actual statement, I canít pay it right then.

Also, my payments come due at different times in the month, but I pay all my bills at payday. So there are some that come early, and others that come late. I donít know if I can make phone payments, and Iím leery of auto-debits from my bank accounts. Iíve heard horror stories about how inadvertent multiple payments send an account bouncing all over the city, incurring steep fees.

But honestly, Iím a super-disorganized person, mentally and physically, so keeping track of stuff like this is definitely not my strong point. I always say Iím just going to buckle down and be more disciplined, but I think I also need to make my situation a little easier.

When I had more debts, and no real payment plan for any of them, I drafted letters that I had saved (on disk). The letters had my account information, plus a comment about how much was being sent each month. I liked having the letters saved on computer, because I can find the computer a lot easier than I could find the letters from my creditors. But I didnít like having to wait until I got to a computer and printer (I donít have one at home).

So I made a set of coupons and labels for each of my bills. They wonít have the current balance, but my debt payments are the same each month and my utilities are pretty constant each time. I can keep the coupons, labels, envelopes and stamps in a folder at home, and then all I need to do is transfer money from my checking account into my bill paying account each payday. This is easy for me, because I can do it by ATM.

Iíll have to get on a different schedule though: all the bills will have to be paid early, instead of near on time. It will take a small removal of $$ from the E-fund to do this, but Iíll be able to replace it by the end of the month. Of course, this comes on the heels of the deposit I made to the e-fund just a few days ago. Frown

4 Responses to “Potential Pitfalls”

  1. wyozozo Says:

    You really need to look into on-line banking! I don't know why everyone is so afraid of this!!! At my bank it's free and esy to set up. It's very user friendly, enabling me to change payment amounts, dates, etc. I can set it up to automatically make payments (for bills where the amount doesn't change from month to month) or I can tell them who, when and how much to pay. No check writing, no stamps to buy, no remembering to mail the envelope. And the best part? No late payments.

  2. JanH Says:

    I think you can call and reset the payment days for many bills. I'd give it a try if they come at odd or bad times of the month.

  3. disneysteve Says:

    I'm with wyozozo. Go to online banking and pay your bills that way. If there are recurring bills that are always the same amount, you can have them scheduled to be paid automatically.

    I also have numerous bills that either automatically draw from my checking account or get charged to my rewards credit card. That's the best option because then I rack up reward points for a bunch of household bills that I'd be paying anyway, like our local, long distance and cell phones, alarm company, cable bill, Netflix membership, auto insurance and others.

  4. Merry Maid Says:

    I live for online banking! You can sit down with someone you trust and do it together. Understand that it will take more than a few hours if you're not organized. It might also take you a few sessions. You could always start with just the 2-3 bills that stress you out the most, then gradually add more over time. Smile

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