Are you disorganised when it comes to paying your bills? Do you never seem to have enough money to cover bills because you've spent too much on going out? Nobody likes paying bills, but it has to be done. Here are some tips to help make paying your bills simple and stress-free …
1. Separate Account
One thing that can help organise paying your bills is to open a separate account for them. This can be especially useful if you live with a partner or roommate. Each of you can pay your share into the account. It also helps organise your general finances, as you then know how much money you have left for non-essential purchases.
2. Prioritise Bills
Paying bills may be far from enjoyable, but it should always be your priority. Failure to keep up with bills could damage your credit rating and lead to legal action or your services being cut off. Ensure that bills are paid before anything else, and you'll know how much you have left for other things. You'll also be able to relax and not worry about how you're going to pay the bills.
3. Direct Debits
If your problem is remembering to pay the bills, or not having the time to rush to the bank, then setting up direct debits will save a lot of hassle. Using this payment method can also save you money, as many providers offer a discount for direct debits. Just remember to make sure that there are sufficient funds in the account to cover the bills each month!
4. Online Payments
It's also quick and easy to pay bills online. This is particularly useful if you are paying a one-off or occasional bill. If you use online payments, check that the site has 'https:' in the address, and that your anti-virus software is up to date. Also avoid making payments on unsecure networks.
If you still have paper bills, keep them in a folder with a section for each bill. This way you will easily be able to find them if you need to. Go through them periodically and shred old bills - you probably won't need to keep them for more than a year or two.
Online banking has made it very easy to keep on top of your finances. Even if you have set up direct debits, always check the payments going out of your account. Then you can see immediately if there have been any errors, and deal with them straight away. If you know exactly how much is in your account at any one time, you will avoid charges for late payments.
7. Contact Companies
However well organised you are, there may still be times when you have a cash-flow problem. If you can't pay a bill, always contact the company before the due date. Never stick your head in the sand and pretend that there isn't a problem. Many companies are surprisingly sympathetic if they are made aware in advance, and will arrange a payment plan.
Bills are an essential part of life, so make sure that you deal with yours. We'd all much rather spend our money on fun things, but since bills can't be avoided, it's vital to pay them promptly. Knowing that your bills are sorted is comforting. Have you ever made any financial mistakes?