April 28, 2006, Newsletter Issue #13: Planning Ahead for Payments

Tip of the Week

If you keep getting late fees month after month, and if you feel like you make enough money to pay your debts, then it's time to sit down and figure out what's going on. If you truly do make enough money to pay all your bills, then it isn't necessarily a money management issue but a time management issue. If you pay bills willy-nilly at the eleventh hour, you need to schedule dedicated bill paying time each month. Make a list of all your bills, the amount due, and the due date. Depending on when your due dates fall, you will be able to avoid late fees if you pay your bills in two batches, once at the beginning of the month and once in the middle of the month.

If you don't think you will stick with a set plan, then you should consider setting your bills up for autopay. You can do this through each creditor's Web site or by calling their customer service. However, if, say, you change banks or get a new debit card number, that can be a pain to have to notify all those companies. Your bank probably offers a centralized bill payment service where you can set all your bills up at once, set the payment date and amount and be done with it. Just make sure you set the payment date far enough ahead of the actual bill due date to avoid late fees, and make sure the minimum amount being paid actually covers the minimum amount due.

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