We live in the golden age of technology, it interacts with us in every facet of our lives; including our money. There are a plethora of apps, websites, and tools to help you form and stick to your budget, and here at Military Crashpad®® we want to encourage you to embrace these tools. Beginning to weave technology into your day to day financial planning can help you keep money and stay on track. In that spirit we want to introduce a concept we call putting your money on autopilot. Today is the first in a series of posts on this subject, focusing on your bills. On Wednesday we’ll focus on automated savings and on Friday automated investing.
But what does putting your bills on autopilot mean? It means that you set up your rent, utilities, loans, credit cards etc. to get paid automatically so you don’t have to worry about them and you can stay on track with you budget. If you’ve put in the hard work to create your budget you don’t want anything to mess with that work.
Autopilot For Your Bills
How many bills do you have to pay out each month, 5, 7, 10? We all have bills that have to get paid; rent, utilities, insurance, car payments, credit cards, student loans and they can be frustrating to keep track of:
How did I forget to pay my cable bill?
In fact 25% of American households pay one bill late each month, and most of those late payments come with a consequence, fees. In some instances late payments (for credit cards or loans) can show up negatively on your credit report. Late fees suck, and there is a very simple tool to help you avoid them. Bill pay.
Almost all banks and credit unions have an online bill pay feature which allows you to schedule a payment automatically from your checking account each month. You can set this up for anything that you have to make a regular payment on. You don’t have to have an account number for each payment. Bill pay can mail a check on your behalf to individuals or companies. Paying rent via cashier’s checks or money orders isn’t secure and there is often an associated fee. Using bill pay can help you save on those fees and they are secured by the bank that issues them.
If you know your rent, utilities, or credit card payment are due each month why not schedule them automatically? It will give you peace of mind knowing your bills will be paid and you will avoid costly missed payments. Here’s how you can set it up:
- Compile ALL your bills, both those that you have an account number for and those that are paid to individuals. For bills made to individuals make sure to have the address.
- Enter the payee’s information into your bank’s bill pay interface. This will be different for each bank, contact your bank if you have questions and they will walk you through the process.
- Schedule the payments for each bill you need to pay, either as one time or recurring payments. Preferably recurring payments.
- Boom! You’re done.
Bill Pay Gives You Control
The advantage of Bill Pay is that it puts you in the driver’s seat. If you have a Chase credit card, Verizon phone plan, Ford car payment, why would you go to each of those websites or providers to make a payment when you can keep that all in one place? Additionally, most banks will guarantee that a payment you schedule through Bill Pay will arrive on time, and if they make a mistake they will reimburse you any fees associated with the payment. Take control of you bills and put bill pay to work for you.
On Wednesday we are going to introduce some cool apps and websites that will help you put your saving on autopilot, and investing is on the docket for Friday so stay tuned.
Have you had experience using online bill pay with your bank?