Never Forget to Pay Your Bills Again, Guaranteed
Paying bills is one of the responsibilities that comes with being an adult. Since I took over our finances in March 2016, we have never been late or missed a payment. Today I’m going to show you my system to guarantee you never forget to pay a bill again.
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I know, paying bills every month is something every responsible adult does, without question. I guess the argument could be made that up until last year, Sam and I weren’t the most responsible adults. I moved in with Sam and Zoe in October 2015 and I allowed myself to turn a blind eye to the financial reality of their (well, then our) life. I told myself, it’s his money, he makes the decisions, and it’s really none of my business. Ignorance is bliss. Until it isn’t.
When I really started paying attention to the financial situation, it didn’t make sense to me. How was it that the money never lasted long enough, when the numbers said it should? How were bills going unpaid, or worse, paid by other people? On paper we should not only be making ends meet, we should be able to tie a big ass bow with how well the ends were meeting. That’s when I stepped in, stepped up and took over.
My System for paying bills every month, like an adult.
My first rule when it came to managing our finances and paying our bills was simply Pay the bills first. Yes, I realize, that’s kind of common sense. Mark Twain is quoted as saying “Common sense ain’t so common”.
And he’s right. So, pay the bills first. And let’s be honest, wine isn’t a bill, it’s a luxury. Pay the bills first. The question became, how to make sure I get all the bills to pay. I sat up a binder for our bills to go into when they arrived in the mail.
I was gifted a Mead Five Star Flex Hybrid Notebinder one year for Christmas. I wasn’t using it for anything else, it was the only one I had, and that made it an excellent candidate to become our new Bills Binder. Because it was the only one like it in the house, it would never get confused with any other binder I might use.
I am a huge proponent of use what you’ve got. I had some binder folders left from when my girls were in school, plus the folders that came with the Five Star Notebinder. I put together our Bill Binder with things I had around the house.
At the front of the binder I put an empty folder. When we get a bill in the mail, it gets put in that folder in front. That way, they are never left lying around, they never get lost, and that increases the odds they will get paid.
Behind that folder, I have page protectors with a monthly calendar in each one. I write the bill on the calendar on the day it is due. I know my rent is always due on the 15th, and my car payments are made every other Friday. The rest of the bills vary every month so this calendar make all the due dates easy to see at once. I check our bill binder every Friday because that’s payday, and pay whatever is due. I also get it out on Sunday when I am filling in my planner for the following week and write the due dates in my planner as well.
Behind the monthly calendars, I have 12 folders, one for each month. When I pay a bill, I always write the confirmation number on the bill itself and then put it in the corresponding month’s PAID folder. Should a problem ever come up that somehow a payment didn’t get received or processed correctly, all the information needed to rectify the problem is in this binder.
At the end of the year, when all the bills are paid, I take them out of each month and file them away in a separate binder labeled “Paid Receipts” with the year.
This system is simple, straight forward, and has worked without fail for us since March. I also like this system, because if a bill should get lost in the mail, I can see at a glance I don’t have a cable bill or an electric bill due date on my calendar and I can contact the company to find out where it is, and get it paid.
What kind of system to you have for paying your bills on time?
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