Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Due Dates? What are those?

My filing system has been a disorganized disaster ever since we’ve moved, and I am still finding bills that are a month (or even more) late.  Some of these get assessed with a $5.00 late fee and then get listed as a “previous balance” on the next bill.  If I do this with only one bill per month, I’m still paying $60 a year for the privilege of only paying once every other month.  It can really start to stack up if we start talking about more than one bill, and especially so if we get to the bill that charges a percentage or higher late fee.

Some bills just got lost in the transition from one address to another, so it probably won’t be as big a deal from now on, but it is still frustrating that between last month and this month, I’ve spent about $20 on late fees  (No credit cards or consumer debt, because it is all on auto-pay).

To rectify this situation, I’ve decided that, no matter when the bill is due, I’m going to go ahead and pay it.  Right then, right there.  There is usually enough fluff in my checking account to handle a bill, even if it comes a few days earlier than it should, and I’m working on getting my short-term emergency fund back up to the place it needs to be so that I can handle paying even a large bill a week or two earlier than normal.

How do you handle bill payments?  Do you wait until the last minute?  Or do you pay the bill when it comes in?


  1. Five days after payday, in most cases. I get paid in the middle and end of the month, so usually most bills come in between one or the two periods of time. I usually end up paying credit cards a week in advance and utilities within days of the bill being issued. I don't know why I wait a few days, maybe deep down I just like seeing money in my bank account for a bit, before the bills take it away. I don’t use checks either, they can get lost or delay the processing of a payment, everything is electronic so I know it’s paid.

    Hopefully you will get caught up after the move is completed. It takes time to really get settled into a system, a house is a much more complex system than rent. I keep a spreadsheet with the bill, amount, and due date. Every time the bills are paid I check them off. Something like that might help keep you on track and avoid those late fees. Good luck.

  2. Since I am paid on the 15th and last day of the month I have my bills divided up to pay some near the 15th and some near the end of the month. I keep it all in an Excel spreadsheet so I can check off each one as it gets paid (and simultaneously deducted from Quicken). I copy and paste each new two week period below the previous ones in the spreadsheet, so can go back for quite a long time to see what was paid previously. I pay all of them two weeks prior to the due date so no worries about late fees, etc. The second paycheck is the one I pay all the credit card bills, making payments online from the credit card site, having them withdraw money from my checking account. I only pay about four bills manually, and use BillPay to do that.