Staying on top of our bills is one of the most difficult and biggest financial challenges we face as individuals and as a family. Falling behind in your bills will cost you in fees and interest regardless of the reason, whether you were too busy to pay them or you do not have enough money in your bank account. Late bills can soon become a mountain of debt if you consistently fall behind your bills.
If you are a victim of this kind of situation, you do not need to be afraid. You can still take charge of your finances by following the following steps listed below to help you stay on top of your bills.
Start with a Budget
The major aim of the budget is to help you organize your finances. Having a budget is one of the easy ways to plan for your financial security. All you need to start with is to write down what expenses you pay monthly and compare the total against the total amount you bring home monthly. If you discover you are spending more than the amount you make, this could be the reason behind you falling behind on your bills.
You will be able to identify the expenses that you can cut back or eliminate when you have a budget. Perhaps you have some services on your cable bill that you just don’t use or you are eating out at restaurants three days a week. Scale back what you spend each month so that your income covers your expenses. If you are still finding yourself in a tough financial spot, consider picking up a part-time job or freelance work to help make ends meet.
Time Your Cash Flow
Many people have certain days they get paid every month. You can easily find yourself without enough cash to pay your bills if they get due before you get paid. What you can do is to request a different due date which should be after you must have been paid. Vendors just want to get paid and if it is a few days that is causing the problem, they may be willing to change your due date. There is a possibility that these does not work for every type of bill. If you can time a few to hit closer to when you are paid, it can knock down the number of late fees and interest that you may be paying.
Automate Bill Payments
Automating your bill payments will force you to pay your bills on time either you set it up directly with your bank or with the vendor. Automation is your best option if you forget things easily, especially when it comes to household chores.
Timing the payments to be made within a day of receiving your paycheck is the best way to do this. You will be able to ensure that you have enough money to cover your bills this way. This can also help you to manage the remaining money that you have in your bank account. Check your bank account regularly to be sure there is enough money to pay your bills.
Try to pay the bill immediately if you have bills that you cannot automate. A bill out of sight is a bill out of mind. There is also a possibility of forgetting such a bill or end up paying late. Set up a reminder on the calendar on your phone or on your computer if your funds prevent you from paying immediately.
If you can’t pay immediately, another way to go is to schedule a weekly or monthly appointment for yourself to pay your bills. Pick a day and time where you don’t have much going on and less prone to distractions.
Pay what You Owe
Get in the habit of paying the balance off in full monthly if you use bank or store credit cards to pay for groceries, gas or dining out. Credit card companies are more than willing to accept a minimum payment on your bill, but this practice can wreak havoc on your finances. A little bit of debt can become a lot before you know it and you will also pay a crazy amount of interest.
There may be times where this is just not an option. If you really have a financial struggle and can’t pay this balance off, be sure to pay at least the minimum amount due on time. If you can pay more – do it.
If you are struggling to stay afloat with your finances, you aren’t alone. We all fall behind on our bills at some point in our lives. Not only falling behind in our bills may be costly, but it can also lead us straight into debt. With careful planning and dedication to staying debt-free, you can take control of your financial future.