It’s those pesky bills, again. They seem to show up as consistently as the morning sun. In fact, we have bills for everything under that sun from utilities to credit cards to loans.
Let’s talk about an easy way to keep our family bills under control. You could use the “large bowl method”. This consists of putting all of your bills in a large bowl. When you receive some money, you go to the bowl and start randomly drawing out bills until the money is gone. If a debtor calls you to collect on a bill you simply explain this procedure to them and tell them that if they don’t leave you alone, you will take their bill out of the bowl! Obviously, this is not going to fly.
There must be a better way. Here are some basic steps to keep the bills organized and pay them on time.
1. Try to handle your bills only twice
Once, when they come and a second time when you pay them.
2. Get 4 envelopes or folders and label them for the weeks of the month
The first one represents the first seven days of the month. The second one represents the 8th through the 14th. The third represents the 15th through the 21st and the last one represents the 22nd through the end of the month.
3. When you get a bill, put it in the folder that represents the week prior to the bills due date. For example, if the bill is due on the 15th, put it in folder number 2 (which represents the 8th through the 14th).
4. Find a consistent day of the week that you can look through your bill folder
Make sure it is the same day each week, if at all possible.
5. Take the bills out of the folder for the current week and either pay them on line or pay them through the mail. You should be a few days ahead with your payment because you put them in the previous week’s folder. This way you avoid late fees or notices.
Of course, to pay the bills, you must have the money to do it. Make sure that every bill is in your family budget (unless you have so much money that it really doesn’t matter). Pay the bills on time and you will never have to worry about those annoying collection calls and late fees.
If this simple process seems too overwhelming, you might want to go back to the large bowl; but I would recommend filling that bowl with popcorn to eat while you take care of your bills in an orderly fashion.