I’m a control freak. I’ll admit it. I live by my Outlook calendar to keep me organized and each week I print it out to make sure I have the tasks in a realistic lineup for completion. Every last day of the month and every fourteenth of the month I have the task of paying bills.
My husband has never been “in charge” of paying the bills. I think this is a result of some of that control freak in me but also because he deployed and so it was easier if I just always managed things.
I pay most of my bills online either through the website that they are associated with, direct debit through my checking, or via USAA Web BillPay® (which, by the way, makes my life SO much easier).
I watch our accounts and keep them balanced online. Admittedly, I have a Word document that lists each bill that I print out each month. That’s how I pay my bills. They’re scheduled on one of the two dates that we get paid each month in a way to assure nothing is late. It’s always worked for me. I just can’t make myself go 100% online. Must. Touch. Paper. Usually, just so I can get the satisfaction of crossing something off the list. (OCD much, Tara?)
My schedule looks something like this (obviously not exactly due to privacy):
1st of the month:
- House Payment
- Cell Phone
15th of the month:
- Water & Trash
- Credit Card (if balance)
- Student Loan
Remember this is a list of bills to pay (standard expenses) and not our full “budget” that would include things like our income, variable expenses, small expenses, investments/savings, etc.
I find this a very important exercise and it was something I did early on in my marriage and adult life. This way nothing gets “lost in the sauce” and no payments get missed. It can also be important for your credit score. Military Saves tells us, “Thirty-five percent of your credit score comes from your payment history. This includes paying your bills on time and paying at least the amount owed on each statement. If you have been past due on your bills in the past, the best thing you can do is get current with them and remain current. And if you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to pay a particular bill on time, you should contact your creditor and let them know.”
If you haven’t got a system in place already, take time to make this list for you and your family. Get organized. Start a new money habit.
Do you get paid every two weeks, twice a month, or monthly?
Do you have a schedule for your bills?
Who does the bills/budget in your household?