5 Tips to Get Your Bills Paid on Time
Busy owners tend to focus on the fire at hand, and often set aside mundane tasks such as paying bills on time. Here are five great tips for helping you get those bills paid on time, assuming you have the funds to do so:
1. Online Bill Pay
Many banks offer an online EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) service that allows you to set up one-time or automatic recurring payments to vendors. These are great for saving postage and quickly paying a bill that is about to come due. They are also excellent for paying recurring payments of the same amount monthly, such as insurance payments, lease payments, and minimum payment amounts (e.g., to ensure a credit card bill gets paid $100 per month, for example, so in case you forget to pay the full bill on time, you will at least have the minimum covered so you don’t get extra charges.)
2. Set Up Auto-pay Using Your Credit Card
Simple versions of this include setting up billing to charge your credit card instead of sending paper billing that requires you to write a check. This allows you to just pay the single credit card bill every month instead of multiple bills. If you get frequent flyer miles on that credit card, this is extra cool as long as the vendor doesn’t charge an extra fee to use the credit card.
3. Set Up Auto-pay for Your Credit Card
To avoid a late payment on your credit card bill, most credit card companies allow you to set up a minimum payment every month. In most cases, you can choose to cover the minimum due that month or a fixed amount. The goal here is to ensure you cover the minimum payment to avoid late charges in case you forget to make the payment on time. If you make the payment on time, this backup payment can be automatically cancelled for that month. Many credit card companies will allow you to pay the entire balance automatically. These payments are typically handled through ACH (see below).
4. Set up ACH (Automated Clearing House network) Payment Systems
Most big suppliers, and more and more smaller ones, offer an ACH payment options where they take the funds directly out of your bank account. This is about as simple as it gets. Some business owners get a little nervous with smaller vendors being able to draw directly from their bank account in case a mistake or evil intentions drain the account. In these cases, they might use a separate bank account and transfer payment funds into that account monthly.
5. Old School Organizer
For paper bills that you still need to pay, consider obtaining a 31-slot bill organizer (or file folder if you can’t obtain a bill holder). When each bill is received, open it, determine when you need to make the payment, and place the bill into that numbered slot. When it’s time to pay bills, grab all the upcoming bills and deal with them.
NOTE: I have a slotted bill organizer just like this in my office. It saved my hide many times!
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