Paying your bills in an effective fashion is something which requires considerable organisation. It’s happened to most of us at one time or another, that unexpected bill arriving in the mail, or maybe a bill that we were expecting has proven to be much more than we had anticipated, or indeed we have simply “forgotten” to pay something that is due. I believe, however, that the way I now have my personal finances organised limits the chances of this happening and gives me the control over my expenditure that I need.
Many years ago now, I opened a “secondary” current account. I immediately cut up and destroyed the card, which I had no intention of ever using. I then began a process of arranging to pay as many bills as possible by means of direct debit through the new account. I now have a standing order that comes off my main current account each month when I get paid and goes in to my secondary account to cover the vast majority of my bills and I know that what I have left in my main account is my “spending” money. This process eliminates the possibility of forgetting to pay these bills.
I have also taken advantage of the advent of online banking to keep much greater track of my finances on virtually a daily basis. I can see at a glance the balances of all my accounts and my credit card and with a simple click can check up to the minute transaction details on all of them. Each time that I use my credit card, I list the transaction on a notepad by my PC and “tick it off” as and when it is processed rather than waiting for the monthly statement to fall through the door. I can also pay my bill online, at any time of my choosing, as opposed to having to wait for the statement.
For those less frequent bills – such as annual club memberships or even your summer holiday – I have found it useful to open an online savings account for each expense. I “name” the account accordingly and calculate how much I am required to transfer to it monthly/weekly or whatever to at the very least meet considerable part of the total cost. This activity has drastically reduced the impact of many a hefty outgoing.
If you are like I used to be and you have balances on several cards or loans, you may find it a very worthwhile exercise taking out one loan to repay everything and thereafter only having one such monthly payment to worry about. This can also be a big money-saver in the longer term as the chances are that the interest rate you will be paying on your loan will be a lot lower than that on any of the cards. Search for a good rate as there area lot out there to be found.
It’s your money – so make the most of it!