Staying on top of paying your bills can feel like an impossible chore when you have mounds of account statements and bills arriving in your mailbox or email account. However, it's a responsibility that you need to pay attention to, because it can be very costly to push it aside. Missing a payment will trigger late fees and can even damage your credit score if the bill was for a credit card or loan.
How to organize bills that come in the mail
Your bill organization strategy should start by designating a specific spot where you put your bills the day they arrive in the mail. You do not want to lump them in with the place where you keep the rest of the mail, because they are time sensitive and can get buried quickly. The spot where you keep your bills could be an inbox on your desk, a basket on a bookshelf or a hanging slot on a wall.
When a bill arrives, you also may want to take a minute to open it, find the due date, and write it in marker on the front of the envelope. That way, it is easy to sort bills by the due date, so you can keep a close eye on the ones with due dates coming up soon.
Best bill payment practices
Start by scheduling a regular time when you will pay your upcoming bills. For some people, it's easiest to pay bills weekly to get in a consistent routine. Others like to pay bills the day after receiving each paycheck.
Set up a reminder to help you get in the habit of paying bills every time your scheduled day comes around. Use whatever calendar you use for other reminders in your life. This might be on your phone, on the computer, on a paper wall calendar or in a day planner.
You should mail a check at least seven days before the bill is due to ensure it arrives and gets processed on time. Therefore, unless a bill is due at least seven days after your next scheduled bill paying session, you will want to pay it in this session to ensure it gets paid on time.
How to use online bill payment
Today, more than half of all bills are paid electronically, and you may opt for this approach instead of sending payment by mail. Online bill payment saves money, because you don't need to pay for checks or stamps. It's also helpful because you can set up payment reminders to arrive in your email just a few days before a bill is due, enabling you to avoid late fees.
An even easier option is to opt for automatic bill payment. If you set this up, your bills will automatically be paid on their due date every month, without you having to do a thing. You will just need to ensure that you have money in your bank account for the scheduled date of each bill. Otherwise, you might incur overdraft charges.
Another aspect of online bill payment that can help with organization is eBills. Many bill payees, such as retailers, provide the option for you to receive your bill electronically too. This is typically an option you can select within online bill pay.
To use online bill payment, you will need to set it up with the bank that you have your checking account with or directly with individual companies that you owe. Each bill should be very easy to pay once you go through the initial step of setting up payment information for every account. Using bill payment through your bank allows you to do that all in one place.
Learn about Digital Banking
There are many features within Digital Banking that give you the ability to bank wherever you are. Learn about Text Banking, Money Management, Mobile Deposit, Account to Account Transfers, Online Bill Pay and more.
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