Nothing is more frustrating than a kitchen table piled high with bills needing payment. That is especially true if you are self-employed and need to pay for such things as insurance, quarterly taxes, and other expenses.
For every trick of the trade, there is an expert to guide you. Taking the advice of a financial guru is fine, but you must always do what works best for you. Here, we discuss ways to simplify the ugly process of paying bills.
David Allen is a financial guru who is considered to be one of the best. He advises against using hanging folders to organize your bills because they don’t hold much, are difficult to organize, and slip behind one another when they become overloaded.
Instead, Mr. Allen recommends using manila envelopes, titled in a way you understand. For example, a folder entitled “telephone bill” tells you all you need to know. You should write the due date on this envelope to avoid late fees. The whole idea is to get away from the archaic system of filing and all of the trouble that it entails.
Have a Routine
Experts say to set aside 1 day per week to pay bills. Organize these days around the time when most bills come due. If at all possible, work with lending institutions to have bills come due within a few days’ time frame so that you aren’t always wondering if something is paid or not.
Use Common Sense
Use direct deposit for paychecks. Don’t waste time carrying around a paycheck, and then have to spend time going to the bank, waiting in line, and depositing the check.
Do as much bill paying online as you possibly can. Many companies offer this service. You can set up a reminder in programs such as Outlook for due dates if you are forgetful. File electronic receipts in a specific folder on your hard drive, and ensure that you back-up electronic data on a regular basis.
Make a point of sorting your mail daily. Get in the habit of separating bills and junk mail. Put bills in a clearly defined manila envelope. Experts warn against having separate envelopes or folders for each bill. Searching through 10 different envelopes only makes the task of paying bills a harder one.
Buy an inexpensive computer software register and record each bill immediately as it is paid. Not doing so might mean that you forget whether a bill has been paid, leading to more frustration as you dig through everything to find the check or receipt.
Paying bills, even though painful, shouldn’t be even more so due to lack of organization. Use these simple tips to get your bill paying duties in order.