Dear Home-Ec 101,
Help! I need a system for bills. I need to get them paid on time and not lose them once they enter my home!
In the dark
Paying bills is a pain in the behind, but it’s even worse if you don’t have a good system. For years, there wasn’t enough money to pay my bills and no method to the madness, so it was a total nightmare every single month. Finally I started making enough money to not want to avoid my bills so badly, and devised a system.
First thing you need to do is take a look at how your pay periods work. If you get paid weekly, you’ll need 4 folders- biweekly, 2 folders, and monthly, one folder. Hopefully you can kind of gauge how much you are going to be making each paycheck. If you work on commission or have totally irregular pay, this system might not be for you.
Now, I get paid a larger amount at the beginning of the month and a smaller amount toward the end of the month, so I have determined that I will pay my house payment, car payment, and insurance at the beginning of the month and my other bills at the end of the month. I always make sure, when budgeting, to leave myself enough money to buy groceries with each paycheck- I use a set amount and stick to it.
When I receive each bill in the mail, I put the bill in the appropriate folder. Then, the Sunday after paychecks come in, I sit down and pay bills. If I do literally nothing else on Sunday, this gets done. I use my bank’s online bill pay to make things even faster and easier. I can finish paying all my bills in about 20 minutes or less using online bill pay.
Once I have paid the bill with online bill pay, I write the amount I paid and the date on each bill and then sort the paid bills to my monthly paid bills folders I keep. I keep paid bills on hand for about 6 months, unless it is something I will need for my taxes, in which case, I move it to the tax folder after having been filed in the “paid bills” folder for 6 months.
If you have any questions about my bill-paying method, feel free to ask!