We’re all well aware that clutter is stressful and can be a hassle to deal with. You know what else is stressful and tempting to avoid? Household bills!
How to Organize your Bill Paying Process
Whether it’s the tedium of staying on top of them, or the challenge of finding the funds to pay them, we’ve all been tempted to designate a dark corner, let them stack up, and pretend they’re just not there. Not a pretty picture, and definitely not helpful if you want to keep the lights on and the Netflix binge weekends on the calendar.
You need a strategy for organizing your bill paying process to keep from being buried by financial clutter. One that doesn’t involve sweeping bills out of sight or letting them stack up until a crisis happens.
A great way to cut out clutter and deal with bills at the same time is to shift to a digital-first model. Say no to envelopes stacking up on your end tables and taunting you every time you walk into the room. Opt for digital bills to save paper, and check to see if issuers are offering any bonus or discount for doing so – many now support eco-friendly, paperless processes. But be sure to program a calendar alert or configure an auto-payment through your credit card or bank account so the bill still gets paid.
Set Your Billing Dates
To make recurring bill payments even easier on yourself, consider contacting issuers to see if your billing date can be altered. You might choose to set all your bills on the same date, and then choose one calendar alert to remind you to make all the payments in one go. Or, to handle a delicate cash flow situation, you could see about staggering payments. If the amount is consistent, setting an auto-payment will save you even more time and energy.
Of course, not all bills are recurring. There are those surprise expenses: the washer that breaks down during flu season; the boiler that gives up the ghost in January; the fridge that melts in July. There might be a whole list of home repair grants or rebates that can help reclaim some of the cost, but that won’t necessarily help you by the time such shock payments come due. Part of organizing your bill paying process should be setting aside a contingency fund as if it were a regular bill, so when surprises happen, you’re prepared in the moment.
Create a Landing Space
Not a fan of automation? Luddite businesses still insisting on issuing paper? Organize your bills with a dedicated landing place that corrals all that paper in an attractive, and most importantly, contained location. It has to be visible enough that you won’t just ignore it, but appealing enough that you don’t feel ill every time you pass it. Open bills immediately to keep from putting it off too long. Sort them by payment date, and have a day on the calendar at least once a month for making payments to keep from being slapped with late payment fees.
Paying bills is no one’s favorite chore, but by getting organized with a reliable digital process or physical system, you can take the sting out of it, cut down on the stress and frustration, and avoid late fees.