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Bills can be overwhelming, whether they are for your business or your personal life. As we hear daily about the importance of our credit scores, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep up-to-date with our finances. However, because finances can be so stressful, some of us might tend to put them off until we can focus on them. Here’s how to manage bills in 3 easy steps.
Putting off paying bills can often lead to forgetting to pay those bills and then get those pesky late fees that basically steal our money.
Many women are juggling home, business, and family throughout the week, and it becomes difficult to focus on the bills that need to be paid.
For this reason, finances become even more stressful for us. However, with a little bit of organization and focus, we can work toward saving time and money to relieve a little bit of that stress. If finances (whether home or business) are bogging you down, check out these three organizational techniques to help you get back on track!
How To Manage Bills In 3 Easy Steps
1. Manage Your Time to Manage Your Money
If you want to organize your finances, you must first organize your time. Create a tentative weekly schedule for yourself. Of course, you may stray from the schedule based on outside requirements each week. However, if you know you have to pick your son up from football practice at 7:00PM, and your daughter needs help with homework between 5:00PM and 6:00PM, these are constants in your life.
When you have a hectic schedule, it is important to focus on the constants. When the constants are put into your tentative weekly schedule, you can see what kind of extra time you have.
Here is the trick: write a list of everything that needs to be done in a week, but doesn’t have a set time. Next, find all of the “gaps” that work around the constants on your schedule. Start filling in those gaps with the to-do list that you have created.
Even if you don’t follow this schedule religiously, it is important to make it, because you need to see that all of the things you have to do in a week can be done, and they can be done efficiently.
Now that you have organized your time, you can set aside a block of time for your finances. You can make this block of time a constant. Let’s say you need two hours per week to work on finances (home or business). Well, that’s just your luck, because you see an opening for yourself on Tuesdays between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. This is a great time to get all of your book-work done!
Think of your tentative weekly schedule as your appointment book. Yes, you have an appointment at 7:00 PM to pick up your son from football practice. Don’t forget to make an appointment with your finances. This is a great way to pay your bills weekly to ensure that they are all paid on time.
2. Create a System That Works For You
I realize that this seems very general, but it is important to remember that everyone works at a different pace and in different ways. This statement is no different when it is applied to organizational and financial elements of your life.
For example, you might benefit from visual organization. In this type of organization, everything has to be directly in front of you, or you will lose it or forget about it. I like to call this type of organization “out of sight, out of mind” organization, because you are the type of woman who knows, once it is put in a drawer, it is gone forever. If you fall under this category, you should go out and buy paper trays, envelope holders, and desktop organization items. Most importantly, buy a label maker. Labeling everything in front of you will get you organized, and it will keep you organized and focus come bill-paying time.
Another type of organization is cataloging. If you benefit from having everything put away neatly in a drawer, you are this type of organizer. For this type of organization, you should have a file cabinet, hanging folders, manila folders, binders, and note cards. You can catalog all of your finances in a single drawer of your filing cabinet. Make sure to label everything to keep you on track.
A majority of the reason we get stuck with late fees is because we lose our bills. Never lose your bills again by organizing your desk area.
3. Change Your Payment Dates
One of the biggest culprits of late charges is the fact that we simply do not have enough money to pay a certain bill the day it comes in. We have to wait until payday to send that check out. Well, if payday is six days away, the odds of us losing that bill or completely forgetting about it go up exponentially.
Most credit card, financing, and bill companies are happy to work with you to change your billing date. This is a great way to organize your finances. Consider your two highest bills. For this example, we will use the mortgage payment and the car payment. Spread those bills throughout the month. Pay the mortgage on the first, and the car payment on the fifteenth. This is a great way to get your bills in order. Now that your two biggest bills are spread out, you can add the smaller bills where you think they will fit best.
This task will take a few phone calls, but most companies are willing to work with you to help you create financial organization.
Financial organization is essential to business owners and homeowners alike. If you are “bad” about paying your bills on time, know that you are not alone, but also know that it is essential that you find the perfect balance of organization and bill-paying to help you avoid late fees and hours on hold with the companies you owe. Stay organized financially by managing your time, creating a system that works for you, and changing your payment dates. What are some ways you stay financially organized? Share with us in the comments below!