Everyone has a different process for paying bills. But whatever your process or however often you pay your bills, a bill pay checklist can help you ensure that you never waste money or time on a late payment.
To begin, you’ll need a bill pay checklist.
I have a free monthly bill pay checklist available to my newsletter subscribers.
You can find the checklist here. Click here to subscribe so that you can access it. If you’ve already subscribed, you can download it directly from the subscriber vault here. You can print this bill pay checklist and write on it with a pen, or you can save the file to your computer and type directly into it and save or print it, whichever you prefer. (I personally prefer less paper in my house, but you can always scan and shred the printed checklist at the end of the month.)
After you have downloaded the bill pay checklist, you need to complete it. Start by listing your bills for the month. I’d recommend keeping a list of your non-regular bills elsewhere and include those when appropriate. (For example, I pay our life insurance once per year, our identity theft insurance once per year, our vehicle insurance twice per year (we save on installment payments that way!), our AAA roadside once per year, our flood insurance once per year, and our home warranty and HVAC maintenance plans once per year.)
I recommend listing your bills one of two ways, depending on your situation. If your income covers your bills each month, list your bills by due date. If your income does not cover your bills each month, list your bills by necessity. For example, if you find yourself $500 short at the end of each month, list your necessities like your your utilities (electricity, water, etc.) and your rent or mortgage first and list your credit card debts and other unsecured debts last. (This is a Dave Ramsey recommendation.)
Write in the amounts and their due dates. Make sure you don’t guess on those due dates, not even based on the previous month’s due dates. Look them up. Every single month. Because utilities companies, banks, and credit card companies change due dates. Maybe they do so to get the late fees; I don’t know. Regardless, confirm the due dates on the first day of each month. Just do it. You may think it’s a waste of time, but I assure you it isn’t.
Finally, check off your bills as you pay them. If you have any or all of your debts automatically deducted from your account, don’t check off that bill as paid until you see the money has been withdrawn from your account. I say this because we’ve all had that instance where something happened and the money wasn’t deducted, right? If you have your bills automatically charged to your credit card, don’t mark that bill as paid until you have paid off that charge on your credit card. (As another example, my home security bill is charged on the 14th of the month like clockwork. I get a text from American Express on the 14th of every month indicating I have been charged $19.99 for that service. And I make a payment every time I get that text–that same day. I don’t mark the bill as paid until I see that American Express payment deducted from my checking account.)
Easy, right? And this process doesn’t take a lot of time. But it can certainly save you a lot of hassle!
Save time, save money, save your sanity! When your bills are paid on time, you don’t have to worry about spending money on late fees–or trying to call your creditors, banks, or utilities companies to get a fee waiver because you accidentally forgot this month or missed your date because the entity changed the date and you didn’t realize it in time. (It happens to all of us.)
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Related posts: I’ll be posting a more stylized version of the checklist this coming week, one that will cost just $1.00. I’ll have it available for download here with payment through Paypal and also through Etsy. Check the blog later next week for it. In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday!