Never Be Late Again: How to Ensure Bills are Paid On-Time… Every Time
Being a good money manager means being prompt with your payments. Whether you owe the utility company, the bank, the government or your best friend, it’s a crucial life skill to pay bills on time. So how do you manage it all? Can it be done? What’s the best way to ensure you pay your bills on time?
Here are 5 strategies you can employ today to make sure you never (or at worst, rarely) pay late.
An Ounce of Prevention
- Enter loans and credit agreements carefully. Debt can be a useful financial tool, when used properly. Responsible consumers use loans and lines of credit to start small businesses, get reliable transportation to and from a good job, and to pay for a home that will gain value over time, among other things. “Good debt” is credit extended to you which will pay you financial returns later. Paying your credit card or bank loans on time is possible if you’ve only entered into loans with monthly payments that can be paid comfortably each month.
- Increase your income. Another way to be sure bills are paid on time is to boost your earning potential. This tip falls under the “prevention” category because if ever you’re late on payments, then it’s probably too late to use this strategy. Increasing your income means acquiring a trade certification, college degree, or promotion. It may take time and guts, but can be well worth the effort.
Once you are earning all you can and confident in your ability to comfortably make each payment, it’s time to tool up in order to avoid missing payments accidentally. You may be the best money manager in history, but if you miss a credit card payment for example, you’ll go from being an elite, preferred customer to feeling blacklisted overnight. That’s why these next strategies are especially valuable.
- Sign up for email alerts and texts Your banking institution doubtless has a way of alerting you before a problem arises. “Balance low”, “deadline approaching,” “statement closed,” are all preferable phrases to the ones you’ll see on an overdraft mailer or missed payment notice. Phone your creditor today, long before you’re in trouble, to find out what alerts they have available for and institute these alerts for your own administration.
It’s impossible to stress the importance of reminders, so take this a step further, and double up. Set your own monthly calendar reminders in your work and at-home email programs.
- Automate Auto bill pay is available for many checking and credit accounts, so ask to enroll in your bank’s auto-pay program. Auto-payments are simply one account paying for another. For example, you can have your checking account automatically pay the balance on your credit card every month after the statement closes. That way, you’re never late.
- Go digital. Get all of your information in one place. The best budgeting software options now have connected mobile apps, so when you’re out and about, you can check your balance as well as keep an eye on your default payment method, history, and schedule.
There’s nothing worse than realizing you are going to miss a payment, or worse – that you already have. If you’re having a hard time keeping your head above water and paying your bills on time, consider making a call to CESI -- a nonprofit debt counselor, to see what options are available to you. Remember, being late on bill payments isn’t your only option. With a little prevention, technological tips and some outside help, you can be paying on time – every time.
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