Paying Bills - My way

Julie_MI_Z5October 28, 2005

I used to pay bills twice a month. I hated it and always felt like it took more effort than it should, and the bills stacked up on the counter with those insurance payment advice things & investment statements until it was time to pay the bills, then there would be so much paper I dreaded filing everything at once.

Now I'm paying bills as soon as they come in the mail. I'm much happier this way. It only takes a few minutes to write the check, stamp the envelope, and file the copy. No more agony on bill paying night, no more big piles of filing.

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Now that's a simple idea! Would have saved me several late charges (which seem to be getting more expensive). I've got to pay more attention to bill-paying and your suggestion would be easy to do.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 11:23PM
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We have everything except the mortgage set up to be paid by credit card. We'd have the mortgage get charged if they would allow that. Everything else gets charged like groceries and gas. Can we say we have lots and lots of airline miles?

Pretty much just the house payment and the credit card, done around the end of the month. We've just found by having everything go to the card we don't even have to think about payment dates.

DH handles the bills now, but I've always gotten paid once a month, so sitting down monthly was always my usual method.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 12:36AM
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I use Quicken with online bill pay through my bank. As soon as the bills come in, I set up the payment to go out about a week before it's due. I send the order to pay immediately, and the bill pay service sends the check (or electronic transfer) at the right time.

For bills that stay the same from month to month (mortgage, health insurance, etc.), I set up the payment once in Quicken with instructions to repeat automatically each month.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 1:32AM
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OMG, I had to write a check for the washing maching repair and was at a loss. I had one of those moments like when the battery dies in your car key thingy and you don't know how you are going to get in the car because you forgot that you can still use the actual key to unlock the door.

I have everything set up on bank bill pay or ACH, even the lawn maintenance and newspaper. I had to retrain the lawn care couple that they would be recieving the check from the bank.

I have worked in banking for many years and had a job many years ago setting banks and credit unions up to use ACH payment process. So I have had a comfort level with electronic banking since it was first available. I haven't ordered checks for 2 years and that was only because my bank was bought.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 9:47AM
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Bill paying online is just the best! I still prefer to pay a few things with checks, but online is a real time saver. Writing checks is so slow and takes a lot of time and postage too.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 10:04AM
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I pay some of mine online. We live in a very small town, so we have to pay our water bill with a check. Same thing with our local hardware store, where we have an account. Our car & homeowner's ins. doesn't do drafts & doesn't accept online payments (though they've told me this is coming). They accept credit & debit cards, but you still have to fill out the payment coupon & send it in, so I'd just as soon write a check in that case.

I put the bills in a holder as they come, in due date order. For the ones that I pay by check, I usually write out the ones that have due dates pretty close together & pay & mail them once a week.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 1:28PM
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Online bill paying has never appealed to me. I guess I don't like being restricted to having to GO online to pay the bills (and if I don't physically write the check, remembering to deduct it from the checking account anyway).

Current annoyance: Companies that allow you to pay bills with a credit card FOR A FEE "for my convenience". No thanks, I'll just write the check!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 4:36PM
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In September I paid my bills the same day they came in. I still write checks and mail payments. I like the idea (fantasy) that i am in control of my money. However, I've let them pile up again. Now I'll have to work my way out of the paper pile. My resolve is to mail out three payments a day.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 8:38AM
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Julie, I started doing the same thing a couple of months ago, after forgetting to pay a credit card bill on time. I know what you meanÂit's easy, and a load off my mind, too. I haven't explored online bill paying yet.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 9:17AM
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I have to pay the few bills I get in the mail right away, or I lose them. I have a long way to go on paperwork! SO online works best for me, but all the gas companies in GA have not yet set up online paying arrangement, as far as I know. I can't imagine why not, since the electric company had no problem doing this several years ago.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 12:48PM
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For bills that we *cannot* pay online via transfer.. we use quicken bill pay service and they make out the check and mail it off for us... we still have a few hold outs but this makes them easy to deal with.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 9:42PM
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I use automatic deposit for my paychecks (the money goes to 4 different accounts) and ATM machines for cash because it saves me time. However, I'm not convinced that online bill paying would save me any time or effort?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 6:13AM
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Online bill paying RULES. I would die without it...

About 90% of my bills (utilities, phone, cable, credit card, cell phone,etc.) are received as e-bills. My bank sends an email to my addy telling me when an e-bill has been received.

Some bills, which never change from month to month, I have set to pay automatically. Others, I have set to auto pay if they are below a certain amount, (I certainly want to look at my electic bill if it is over $150). For the remainder, credit cards in particular, I go online, review the bill and input the payment information.

If a vendor does not offer ebill, I simply input the information into automated bill payer as I receive the bill. I can even set up "one time" vendors, for example, the guy who fixed my roof.

The benefits to online bill paying are these: you do not spend money on postage. You have an electronic record by vendor of your payment history. You have an electronic record of when the vendor received the payment. You do not have to worry about checks getting "lost" in the mail, or accidentally putting the electric bill check into the water bill envelope (I have done this a few times, LOL). If you have a good bank, they will intervene in circumstances where the vendor says they did not receive the payment on time. You have an online list of your monthly vendors, so you know quickly, if you are missing a bill. You spend much less money paying for new checks. Everything you need to balance your account is online; I keep my stuff in an Excel file.

What could be simpler?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 10:55AM
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Ok, you just totally talked me out of online bill paying! "Simple" is stuffing bills in my purse and paying them at lunch. I buy stamps by mail, and it's worth the 37 cents not to have to remember to check online (not to mention our online access isn't always dependable). The wind is blowing so hard tonight I'm guessing we'll lose power soon.

My son's college tuition bills are online and I hate it. Worse yet, since he's over 18 I can't call and question any of the bills and I've never figured out exactly what the credit hour cost is so we just pay what it says we owe and get a mysterious refund later. Gotta hate the privacy act when it's your money and someone else's privacy! LOL


    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:23PM
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I write out the check the day the bill comes in the house. I date it 3-4 days before it's due, and write a date a day earlier on the outside corner of the envelope. Seal it up, stick it in an envelope and put it in my purse to go to work.

Why? I'm a lot more organizaed at work than at home! I stack them in a little cubby right at eye level to my desk, with the soonest date out. I glance at that maybe 100 times a day, so I never forget to leave the bill for the mailman!

My not work for others, but I swear my credit has improved since I started doing it this way!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 12:15PM
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I agree; I have a lot better "system" going at work than at home.

I've also started mailing bills immediately rather than waiting until closer to the due date. It's easier that way, and bank interest is too low to make much difference these days.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Cindy .... I agree 100%!!! All bills paid online - so simple - and if I have misplaced a bill, I can still make an adequate payment with the account in my file....I would rather overpay than to not pay at all. I was really happy when they set it up so that I could do those "one time only" payments. It has become so much easier in recent years - but even when it was awkward, I was there in the front line - just knowing that this was the way that worked for me. My gal pal, on the other hand, is 180 degrees out of phase w/ me - she writes checks for everything, would never consider using her debit card (which she has), and we often have to go to the driveup window at the bank so that she can get $20 cash! To each his own - it is just amazingly different - and thank goodness we have so many choices.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 8:43PM
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I like the way your gal pal does it! I write checks for everything, too, because it makes me think twice if it's worth the effort. I canceled my debit card the first time I realized I didn't need to use a PIN number for all purchases, so ANYONE could use it and the money would come right out of my bank account. I do have an ATM card, though, and never take out more money than I need for gas and lunch for the week. For me that cuts down on impulse spending.

P.S. Gas was $2.09 yesterday, which is the lowest it's been for a LONG time!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 6:46AM
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I'm a check writer, too. I think if we had bills on the computer I would just never really pay much attention to them. When I look at them on paper, I can actually go through them and check what is on them. And find either mistakes or mysterious new charges. We have switched a few services after new charges were discovered, or when we found cheaper service. Since we rent out apartments, and have many buildings to service, this is important. I guess with the online paying, I'd feel like out of sight, out of mind.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 7:34AM
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I do the same as Alison - write out the check, put in envelope and pencil a date on it to mail 6 days before due and take it to work. I have a private office and am able to place it under my clear desk pad so it is always in view. I learned long ago that out of sight was totally out of mind!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 7:16PM
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