I am really bad at timing. I am almost always late meeting Steve at the truck. If I don’t tell myself an appointment is thirty minutes earlier than it actually is, I am late. I am, quite often, late publishing posts on this blog even. And yes, I can be late with my finances too. In fact, if I don’t have a great bill payment schedule, my bills are late too.
Having a set schedule to pay your bills may not seem like a big deal, but the truth is that paying my bills late costs me money. A single late fee may only be $2 a month, but if you multiply that by each bill I have, it adds up quickly.
In fact, it can add up to over $100 a year in wasted money for our family. Doesn’t seem like much does it, but that is a water bill paid or phone bill paid for us.
Wasted money does not help my family, but using it for a bill does. I’d bet your bills are the same way.
Why You Need a Bill Payment Schedule
I really do not enjoy spending money I don’t have to so when I fall off my bill payment schedule, I do my best to get back on it.
If I didn’t, I would waste hundreds each year.
Are you wasting that same amount of money? Even if you’re not wasting hundreds, wasted money is money that is better spent elsewhere.
Why You Need a Bill Payment Schedule
I am not ashamed to tell you that there have been plenty of times in my life where the only thing that saved my budget was the fact that I had a bill payment schedule.
Because having a bill payment schedule gives you the knowledge of what is due to be paid and when, it works extremely well for those who are having trouble making ends meet.
In other words, if you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, a bill payment schedule could be the thing that helps you become more financially stable.
Are you using a budget?
I feel like I shouldn’t need to say this, but I think I should say it. If you’re not currently using a budget to manage your money, having a bill payment schedule isn’t going to help you.
You can not know when something is due to be paid if you don’t know where your money is supposed to go in the first place. If you don’t currently have one, you can learn how to create your budget HERE.
I know. I’d apologize for it but I’m not really sorry for stating the obvious.
Steps to Creating Your Bill Payment Schedule
Okay, let’s get down to it. I encourage you to actually do these tasks as you read. It will be much easier to keep track as you go.
By the way, this post is long. Creating a bill payment schedule is actually pretty easy, but there is a lot of info that goes with it.
Know Your Income
Before you can pay your bills, you need to know your income and I don’t just mean how much. You will need to know a few things.
You should know:
- How often you get paid
- Is your income variable
- How you receive your pay
- How much your pay will be over the next four weeks at a minimum
- Any automatic deductions that come out of your paycheck
How Often You Get Paid
You paycheck probably comes on a pretty regular schedule. It may be weekly, bi-weekly (every 2 weeks), monthly or even less often. In my case, Steve is paid weekly and I am paid sporadically throughout the month. Even though my payments are sporadic, they still come on a regular schedule.
How you receive your paycheck
You should also know how you receive your paycheck. For most people, this will be direct deposit. If you’re still getting a paper check, I highly recommend a great checking account to help yourself stay more organized.
Is Your Income Regular or Irregular?
My own income is variable and let me tell you, it kind of sucks sometimes. Variable income is also called irregular. It means that the amount of your pay varies every time you get paid. Steve’s, however, is pretty steady. For this reason, I tend to use his to pay bills with.
If yours is irregular as well, well, do your best to make an educated guess of what you will be receiving over the next month.
For the best results, estimate low. When you’re creating a bill payment schedule and a budget, it is far better to under-estimate your income and have money left over than it is to over-estimate and come up short.
What auto deductions are taken from your check?
Most people have at least one or two payments that are auto deducted from their checking account.
Whether it is child support, your car payment or another bill, make certain you take note of those payments, when they withdraw and how much they are.
Forgetting about them can be extremely expensive in overdraft and late fees.
Know When Your Bills Are Due
Next, you’ll need to know when your bills are due. To do this, go through each expense you have. Write down both the expense, the amount if known and what it’s due date is.
It can be helpful if, after you have them all written down, to list them in order of when they’re due each month.
Don’t forget to add regular expenses such as gasoline and groceries.
Plan Your Bill Payment Schedule
After you know your income and your expenses, you can sit down with a calendar to plan. Plan to pay your bills until your income for the week runs out.
If – when you run out of income – you still have bills left, you have a problem. In this case, you will need to do what you can to earn extra money to pay your bills.
A few things that I suggest for earning quick extra money are:
- Selling things you no longer need via Facebook groups
- Signing up for an InstaGC account
- Signing up for a Swagbucks account
If, however, you have money left over, roll it into your budget for next week or deposit it into your savings account. If you roll it, be sure you can keep yourself from spending it. Otherwise, it does you no good.