Never Miss Another Bill Payment

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Posted June 24, 2013 by Kelley Long in Life After Five
paid_bills

 

When people ask me for ways to improve their credit score, the first thing I always say is, “Pay all your bills on time. Every time.” Paying late even once can have a detrimental effect on your credit score and it takes years to wipe a black mark from your history. And yet so many people struggle with this directive.

I think the reason people don’t pay on time is because they’re worried about having enough money to pay for unplanned expenses like food and gas, so they wait until the last minute to pay bills. Then even though the money is there, they pay late because they forgot. In the meantime, worrying about maybe not being able to make the payment causes unnecessary stress.

Struggle no more, I have the solution.

The best way to ensure that you pay your bills on time every month is to open a separate account just for bills and put it on autopilot. Let’s break it down.

  1. Add up your recurring monthly bills such as mortgage/rent, utilities, cell phone, gym membership, Netflix, insurance, etc. to find the total you need each month. Don’t forget to include an amount to save if you can. For amounts that fluctuate each month, use the highest amount from the past 12 months.
  2. Divide that number by the number of paychecks you receive each month to figure out how much per paycheck you need to set aside. If your monthly total is $2,000 and you’re paid every other week, then it’s $1,000 per paycheck.
  3. Open a separate checking account and have that amount deposited directly into that account from your paycheck.
  4. Set up as many of your bills as possible on autopay. For bills that can’t be put on autopay, just make sure you’re paying them out of your new account. And pay them as soon as you receive them.
  5. Because the money has been specially designated for your bills, you can write the check or click the ‘Pay Now’ button without a worry.
  6. Relax. Whatever money you have in your regular checking account is what you have available for everything else: food, entertainment, travel, etc.

Voilà! You’re free from the monthly stress of bill payment and can now focus on reaching some of your bigger goals.


About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. Formerly the head of her own practice, KCL Financial Coaching, Kelley parlayed the knowledge and experience gained from starting her own business into her dream job as the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Chicago-based CPA firm Shepard Schwartz & Harris. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.

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