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Nearly half of all Americans don’t pay their bills on time.  Making late payments can damage your credit score and cause you to pay higher interest rates.  Rather than make excuses, you need to find ways to do better and we have some tips that can help.

Get organized

You’re more likely to lose stuff when you don’t have a specific location for each item.  Therefore, you need to find a home for your bills.  Buy a mail organizer and hang it near your front door.  Make it a habit to open and sort your mail each day.  We recommend creating an “In” and “Out” section, so you know which bills just arrived and which are ready to be mailed. 

Make a list of your bills

It’s hard to keep track of everything when you have a lot going on.  Therefore, you need to create a list of your bills so nothing important is forgotten.  Write down the company name, the total balance and the due date.  Be sure to check your bank and credit card statements for any recurring bills you may have missed.  By the way, if you’re subscribed to a service that you rarely use anymore go ahead and cancel it now. 

Add your due dates to a calendar and setup reminders

Creating a calendar is an essential step in the bill paying process.  This makes it easy to see what needs to be your top priority the next time you get paid.  Plus, it can help you come up with a payment schedule that works for you.  Let’s say most of your bills are due around the same time.  Depending on your salary, either something’s not going to get paid or you’re going to have very little money left over.  Fortunately, you can find some relief by asking to have your due dates changed.  With your handy dandy calendar, you’ll be able to choose a date that better suits your needs.  Once you have everything figured out, setup reminders in your phone so you’re aware of upcoming due dates.

Automate your bill payments

If you can afford to automate your bill payments, it’s a good idea to do so.  Every month your new balance will be automatically deducted from your checking account or charged to your credit card.  You’ll never have to write another check and it doesn’t take much time to setup.  Just go to the company’s website and provide your payment information. Many financial institutions also allow you setup auto-pay through their website. If you have a rewards credit card, using it as your primary payment method can help you earn points faster. 

Write the check as soon as the statement arrives

One of the biggest excuses people have for not paying their bills on time is that they simply forgot.  A quick fix is to pay the bill as soon as it arrives.  Either go online and submit your payment or sit down and write the check.  Place it in a stamped envelope and drop it in the mailbox the next time you leave home.