We all have bills and we all have to pay them. However, when it comes to personal finance and budgeting, some people pay their bills like this:
1. Get statement (in the mail- as in snail mail).
2. Avoid statement ("ack! a bill! I'm stressed about money!")
3. Two weeks later, remember said statement ("oh &$*%! I have to pay this or I will lose (fill in blank) service!")
4. Write check and send to service provider (and pay almost 50 cents to send it).
Sometimes this happens:
5. Forget about check, spend money that was reserved for bill, check bounces.
6. Never made it to step 3 and service is shut off and the mad dash to pay the bill ensues.
YIKES. If you are stressed about money and bills there are only two things to do: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and AUTOMATE IT.
Paying your bills this 'old school' way is stressful and it is what is putting you in a financial hole. You are human. Human's aren't reliable. We forget, we make reasons, we are impulsive, we choose 'want' over 'need'. It's our biological nature so don't be offended.
So what is that-person-you-know-who-has-control-over-their-finances doing that you aren't?!?! I mean, they are human too, right??!
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY and AUTOMATING.
They have been responsible about their bills and have set up a system that handles their finances for them. They have taken themselves out of the equation so they can't mess it up! If you do the same, you'll find you are less stressed and more in control of your finances.
Take the following steps today to set your finances straight. Old School is not COOL when it comes to your bank account.
1) You must be responsible about your finances and if you don't know how much TOTAL you need to cover your bills (this includes RENT) every month, you must discover this number, NOW. If you find that your bills leave little for necessities like food, you may need to re-evaluate your income/spending and downsize on services (or get a second job, but who wants to do that?! You work hard enough).
2) Whatever this number is, have it automatically deducted from your paycheck by your employer and put into a separate account. If you are self-employed, ask your bank to take this amount out on certain dates and put it into a separate account. Block the option to withdrawal from this 'bills' account with your debit card.
3) Make every 'mail statement' an electronic statement. 99% of services offer this option. It will come right to your inbox and save trees.
4) EVERY bank and EVERY service offers automatic payments. Most Landlords (if you are still renting-which is just another way of throwing away money by the way) allow e-payments as well. Either set up automatic payment for your bills through your bank or set it up with each service provider. If you do auto-pay with your service providers, I recommend setting them up by bank account/routing number and not debit card number. That way if you lose your debit card, you won't have to go to each service and update them all.
5) Live on stress-free. No more 'bill reminders', no more last minute scrambling. No late fees. Trust me, you will soon get used to only having access to a dedicated spending amount. You will have made your finances 'fool-proof' or rather YOU-proof.
Your credit rating will thank you.
Want a video version of this article? Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntgKondiQTY.