Staying on top of your bills is necessary for building a healthy financial bottom line and ensuring your credit score is good. And let’s face it - It’s much less stressful to maintain control of your finances than it is to fall behind on payments. Here are some general guidelines to help you stay on top of all your bills:
- Create a Filing System for Your Bills
One critical step you should take to stay on top of your bills is to establish a filing system. This doesn’t have to be a physical filing cabinet, as much as it should just be one central location - whether that be a physical location for your paper bills, a digital folder with your electronic bills, or even a spreadsheet outlining all of your monthly bills. Without a central place for all of your bills, you could easily overlook some of them which could lead to missed payments, late fees, and damage to your credit score.
- Consider Automated, Digital Payments
Automatic payments can be a great help in making sure all of your bills get paid on time. Services like automatic bill pay can take away the stress of trying to remember which bills are due at what time. However, it’s important to note that setting up payments to withdraw from your bank account automatically, means you’ll need to make sure your account has the necessary funds for all automated payments. Otherwise, you could face steep overdraft fees or insufficient funds fees.
- Make Time to Evaluate Your Financial Situation
It doesn't have to be daily, but make sure you set aside some time either weekly or monthly to evaluate all of your bills, bank accounts, and credit card accounts. Dedicating some time to comb through your monthly bills and accounts can help you judge if any of your scheduled payments or account balances require some adjusting. It can also help you ensure that you have been billed for the correct amounts and that there is no suspicious activity in any of your accounts. Evaluating your budget and current financial picture will also allow you to see where you stand in terms of your debt repayments and if you are overextending yourself financially in any specific area. It can also show whether you have any leftover funds that you could potentially move over to a high-interest savings account.
- Try Online Services
If the old “paper and pen” approach is simply not cutting it for you in terms of staying on top of your payments, you could opt for an online service to help you manage your finances. There are a host of websites and apps that do just this, including the following:
• Mint.com: The Mint app allows you to link your bank accounts, credit cards, and bills, so you can see everything in one centralized place.
• Finovera.com: This free online bill organizer allows you to link to your creditors and download bills to a central website.
• MoneyStream.com: This is another free service that provides help with bill organization. It also features a helpful calendar interface that lets you see where your money is going and when.
When considering an online service or app to help you streamline your finances, just be sure to do your homework to ensure a company is legitimate. Read customer reviews and look for any complaints that may be floating around about them.
No matter how you choose to manage your bills, staying organized is the number one priority. By mastering your finances, you’ll be well on your way to a brighter financial future!