I don’t know about you, but I think I paid more late fees last year than I did when I wasn’t a steadily employed, mostly responsible adult. Let me assure you, there is nothing stylish about late fees. Technology made it easier to pay most bills, but also created a bit of organizational confusion. There are some bills paid automatically, others online and a few that require bank bill pay or check. Even the way they arrive is difficult to track, some bills arrive via email, others in regular mail and a few arrive in a coupon book at the beginning of the year.
I’ve tried to simplify, but there are always a few companies that will not stick to the plan. For example, to get the best deal on cable I was forced to enroll in EFT. At first glance this seems like a great idea, but then I spent hours trying to get someone in customer service to help me because my cable box stopped working a month ago. Finally, I stopped the EFT and had someone on the phone in a matter of days. I restarted the EFT, to get the discount, but I dare not put the rest of my bills on EFT.
To avoid confusion (and late fees) I created this handy monthly bill organizer (download for free here). That way, even if a bill accidentally goes to my junk mail, it won’t be overlooked.I still use my Financial Organizer to keep anything I might need for future reference or taxes. I use a separate bill tracker for medical bills. Then keep my Health Savings Account Statements, Statement of Benefits and Medical Bills in a Paperwork Organizer until I reconcile and pay them.
So far this new system works like a charm. My cable is still acting up, but otherwise I’m in good shape.
When you're feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty getting started, it helps to make a list. Get all that stuff in your mind down on paper. Limit yourself to one line per item, if you have a due date include that next to the item. Don't worry about priority or additional detail at this time, just get it on paper. Once you've finished, group items into categories by priority, then type, for example errands, calls, urgent, etc. Relief will come as you work through the list and cross things off. To read past Quick Tips click here