Is it hot yet? We’ve had some scorching days here in North Central Texas, but today it’s cool and we’re receiving some much needed rain. I hope you’re enjoying your summer!
My family has been busy and we’re about to get even busier! Family parties, birthdays, new baby arrivals – the fun stuff that life is made of!
I apologize for the late arrival of the June newsletter. I normally get the newsletter out much earlier in the month. However, I’ve been busy writing new pages for Straighten-Up-Now and doing research for future pages. Additionally, my husband and I are consulting together about writing a new website for babies either end of this year or first of next year as a part of our overall strategy for retirement.
He already has a website (check it out) 4-the-love-of-jeeps for Jeep enthusiasts and between the two websites we already have, we are making a steady income. Our future plans for my retirement (hopefully in a few short years) include having a total of 4 websites and multiple streams of income.
If this sounds interesting to you, check out the information on the bottom of this newsletter about “Breaking the 9 to 5 Routine” at the bottom of this newsletter.
Okay . . . enough of the advertisement!
Speaking of money, the tips in this newsletter on Bill Paying will help you save money by getting organized. No more late fees!Bill Organizers -- Create Good Bill Paying Habits & Make Bill Paying Faster & Easier
Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone!
Thank you for your continued interest in Messy Makeover Magazine.
Bill paying . . . what a pain! No one likes this chore, but it has to be done. Unfortunately, many people do not have a system for organizing their bills. This can mean lost money in fees, penalties and bad reports on your credit. A bad credit rating can cost you even more money -- bad ratings equal higher interest payments and less money in YOUR pocket!
While no one solution works for everyone, here are some quick and easy tips to get your bills organized so you can get through the bill-paying chore quickly, efficiently and get on with your life.
Tip No. 1 – Assign one person to take care of the finances. When more than one person is paying the bills and writing checks, it can get confusing. This can cause bills to be over-looked, paid twice and/or a bounced-check or two on occasion. Having one person primarily responsible for handling the finances can help eliminate the problem. The person paying the bills should probably be the person who is better at numbers. ONE CAUTION – make sure you BOTH know what’s coming in and going out each month, the financial institutions and other important information. In the event of ill health or death, it will take less time for the other partner to come up to speed on the finances.
Tip No. 2 – Create a Home for your bills when they arrive. Don’t pile them up with the other mail. Create a system that works for you – bins, baskets, accordion file (numbers 1-31), bill organizer, etc. Have a specific place to store them and put ONLY the bills in this area.
Tip No. 3 -- Open the bills the day they arrive and check them for accuracy. Remove excess paperwork (advertising, etc.) and shred anything that has personal information on it (name, address, account number, etc.). File the bills in your system (created in Tip No. 2) by due date.
Tip No. 4 – Calendar the due dates and check it regularly. After opening the bills and getting rid of the excess, mark the due dates of each bill on a wall calendar, PDA, Outlook Calendar, etc. Be sure to pay the bill so that it arrives well BEFORE the due date. If using a PDA or Outlook, you can schedule this as a “Task” with a reminder 15 days before that will pop up on your computer to remind you.
Tip No. 5 – Keep all necessary supplies for paying your bills together with the bills. This includes such items as envelopes, stamps, return labels, pens, calculator, stapler, etc. Having everything in one place ready to go will make the chore run more smoothly and save you time running around collecting your supplies each time you pay the bills.
Tip No. 6 – Pay your bills in the same location in your home each time you pay the bills. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your home office desk, the kitchen table or a lap desk in your easy chair. Consistency will help you create an efficient system.
Tip No. 7 – Set aside a specific time each month to pay your bills. Keeping to a regular routine will help you stay on track. You can schedule this around your paychecks (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).
Tip No. 8 – Record your payments immediately in your check register. Record the payments in your check register as you go. Don’t forget automatic withdrawals.
Tip No. 9 – Auto withdrawals and paying online. Many companies (utilities, insurance, auto payments, charitable contributions, etc.) offer you the opportunity to have your payment automatically withdrawn from your checking account. This can be a great way to be sure your bills are paid on time as long as you keep sufficient money in your account to cover the expenses. Another alternative is paying your bills online. Many banks now offer this as a free service (or with a minimal fee). It saves postage and most systems allow you to set these as a “regularly occurring” payment with reminders to keep you on track. Just be sure you enter these automatic withdrawals and/or online payments in your checkbook register. If paying online, it is usually recorded for you to see automatically.
Tip No. 10 -- Store your receipts. If paying your bills the “old-fashioned” way, be sure to keep receipts by year/month in a file or other system where you can easily find them if you should need proof of payment. Make new file folders every year.
Tip No. 11 – Keep good notes. Be sure to keep good notes on any discrepancies including dates, phone numbers and names of people you spoke with as well as what was discussed and decided upon.
Tip No. 12 – Consider starting a monthly budget. Most people hate the budgeting process, but setting a simple budget can help you know how much money is coming in and where it is going. This will allow you to make adjustments if you feel you may be over-spending on one or more areas. You will be better able to set goals for savings and accomplish things such as buying your first home much easier. A budget can be as simple as a computer spreadsheet.
For help creating budgets, tips on setting financial goals, learning how to handle your money, free resource downloads and other helpful information, visit Crown Financial Ministries.
Happy Bill Paying!
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