Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pay Your Bills Week: Part 2

Do you ever have trouble finding your checkbook? How about stamps, or a pen that works? Maybe your address labels are in one place in the house and your envelopes in another. This can make paying the bills take more time than is necessary and can add to the stress of what many people find to be a task that they would rather not have to do altogether.

Having things in order for paying your bills can make the process go faster and leave you more time to move on with the rest of your day. Not to mention it can save you paying fees and keep you from missing a due date on a bill.

Here are 6 ways to make bill paying more efficient:

1) Online bill pay. (This one was mentioned in my last blog to help decrease stress related to bill paying, but is worth mentioning a second time.)

2) Create a nook in your apartment or house just for paying your bills where you can keep supplies you need like: your checkbook, a couple of good pens, a calculator, a stapler, stamps, envelopes, address labels, etc.

3) If you don't have a special spot devoted to bill paying, create a bill paying caddy and fill it with office supplies listed above. This way you can grab it and take it to where ever you want to sit and pay your bills.

4) Decide when the best time to pay your bills is ahead of time and mark it in your planner. If certain bills are due the same time each month decide to pay them on the same day each month. Go through and mark a whole year's worth of bill paying reminders in your planner; this way you won't forget. If you want, you could use a different sticker in your planner for each bill and have a key with what each sticker stands for. Keep the sticker key with your bill paying supplies.

5) Have a place to keep receipts you collect throughout the week and month. Have everybody put their receipts in the same place so nothing gets lost. Get in the habit of emptying your wallet at the end of each day of any receipts. If every day is just too often for you, aim to do it at least at the end of each week. You can keep receipts and bills together with large paperclips labeled: Credit Card, Check Card, Bills to Pay, etc. Put these in a bowl, basket or in a desktop file holder. Whatever works for you.

6)Next time you pay your bills, time yourself. Make bill paying a little like the winter olympic games going on right now, and the next time after that try and see if you can beat your last time. (Okay, maybe that isn't so much of a tip for being orderly, but why not make a mundane task a little more exciting.)

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