Getting yourself on a bill payment schedule

I was at a bit of a loss today. I had no idea what to write about. I have a ton of topics written down but nothing inspired me. I headed over to Facebook and Twitter to ask the friends for suggestions and Ashley asked a great question. She wanted to know more about getting herself on a bill payment schedule.

I know a lot of people who struggle with this. Cash flow can be a huge problem in households. Here’s what I do:

1. When I started a monthly budgeting plan, I got all my bills together and made a list. The list had four columns: Who to pay, approximate amount each month, date the bill comes in the mail, date the bill is due. I use this list to do my master budget for the month.

2. I only pay bills as often as we get paid. Since we get paid once every two weeks, I pay bills twice a month. I made another list (spreadsheets are good for this since it does the math for you) with how much we get paid each month at the top and then I started listing the bills that would need to be paid with that paycheck. Each bill must be paid sometime between the time you get the bill and the time it’s due. Some bills come early enough that you could pay them from either paycheck. Some bills, like credit card bills, give you a very small window to pay them. Once you have that spreadsheet, put it in the same place you keep your bills. Every time you are scheduled to pay bills, pull out the list and you’ll know exactly what you should pay with that paycheck.

A few more tips:

If you have too many bills that are due at one time, call some of your vendors and ask if you can move the due date. When my husband got paid once a month, I was able to move all of our bills, except the phone bill, to the 5th of the month. He got paid the 26th of each month which gave me plenty of time to get everything paid before the due date. Most companies are very accommodating.

Try online bill pay. It saves me a ton of time when paying the bills and most banks provide the service free of charge.

Once you get comfortable with your schedule, put your bills on autopay. I love autopay because I don’t have to think about my bills. I review the statements when they come in and then shread them. It’s wonderful. You can even put your rent on autopay. Sign up for online bill pay from your bank and then preschedule your rent payments. One less thing to worry about. I currently have 95% of our bills on autopay. It saves me so much time.

What bill payment suggestions do you have?