Saving & Spending
Bills, Bills, Bills
The wise philosopher group, Destiny’s Child, once asked:
Can you pay my bills?
Can you pay my telephone bills?
Can you pay my automo-bills?
Pose these questions to anybody, and you’ll more than likely be hit with a “no.” That’s why it’s important to be able to handle your bills yourself!
Want to be in control of your finances? Make sure you pay your bills! Knowing when your bills are due and paying them before the deadline can boost your credit score and save you money.
Most recurring bills such as your rent and utilities have the option to have the amount you owe automatically deducted from your checking account. The pro? You’ll never miss a payment! The con? You have to be careful not to let the balance in your accounts get too low…
For bills without auto-pay options, it is a good idea to set a recurring calendar reminder to alert you of upcoming due-dates days or weeks in advance!
It might also be beneficial to carve out a specific amount of time to pay your bills on a regular basis. By sticking to a set schedule, you will get into the habit of paying your bills on time.
You should pay your bills on time to establish a good credit record and improve your credit score. As an added bonus, you will avoid any late fees associated with missing a due date.
Auto-pay is great way to ensure you’re making payments on time.
Setting up Auto-Pay
Always struggled with remembering to pay your bills on time? Tired of mailing checks or cash to make payments? Well you should consider setting up auto bill pay! Auto bill pay allows you to pay for bills online through your banking services. It’s a great way to save time and reduce your chances of missing another payment.
The first thing you should do is go online to your bank’s website and sign up for online checking. Without an online checking account, you won’t be able to enroll in auto bill pay. When setting up the account, the bank will generally ask for personal information, contact information, and your social security number.
Once you’ve logged into your banks’ online checking account, locate the Bill Pay section of the site. This is where you will begin to set up the auto-pay bill. You are going to need to have copies of bills that you intend to pay on hand. This is so you can enter the payee’s address, account number, and other essential information.
Once you’ve gathered all the bills, click on the relevant link to add a new payee and then begin to fill in the recipient’s information: company name, account number, etc. Next, provide the amount of money to be deducted from your account and schedule when the payment should be sent. Ensure you have enough funds in your account before proceeding!
Finally, you should be prompted to select either a one-time or recurring payment. If you want your bank to only make the payment once on the designated date, select one-time payment. This is a great option for infrequently used services. However, if you want your bank to make this payment regularly (monthly/annually), then select recurring payment.
Bills are inevitable, but you can still be smart about them!
Saving Money on Bills
Finding ways to cut back on expenses is one of the biggest challenges people face in personal finance. If you can successfully spend less money by reducing monthly expenses, you can have more funds to act as a safety net in case of an emergency.
Driving a car can be quite costly with all the gas, maintenance and parking expenses required. In efforts to reduce these costs, you can consider taking public transportation or set up a carpool system with friends or employees. Although public transportation does cost a fee, it’s far less money than you would pay for monthly car expenses.
People spend a lot of money on energy bills. The average household spends around $2,060 per year! Luckily, we can use energy efficient technology to reduce these costs. For instance, you can update your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs. These bulbs last longer and are nearly 4 times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Often times people pay for unused monthly subscriptions and memberships without even realizing. To deter this from happening, make sure to check your credit card statements to see what monthly expenses you’re paying for. Next, determine if you should cancel the membership, if unused, or reduce the cost by switching to an inexpensive package deal.
Although food is an essential, we can often spend too much by ordering take-out or dining out. As an alternative, you can cook your meals at home and then save the leftovers for another day. If concerned about time, you can prepare a few meals at once and then freeze them to heat up later in the week.
To Wrap It All Up
Bills fall under the category of inescapable expenses. Paying your bills in a timely manner is crucial to maintaining good financial standing. And bills don’t have to break your bank! Look for ways to cut down on these expenses so that you can use that money in smarter ways.