While it is fun to go shopping, paying the resulting bills is never a fun task. In fact, I don't think that there is any time of the month that is more depressing to me than when it comes time to send out the monthly bill payments. It never fails to put a damper on my spirits to see my sizable bank account (at the start of the month anyway) dwindle to nothing in the space of a day. However depressing it might be to have to pay the bills, it is even more depressing to not pay them.
Is there really anything more depressing (or scary depending on the circumstances) to see that red "Final Notice" in the mail? I know that when I used to see one of those, I would feel like I had failed in some manner. There are some tricks and strategies though that just about any person can use to be able to pay those bills, and still increase the size of their savings account at the same time. It really doesn't matter if these are your regular monthly bills or even those specialized holiday ones, the strategies are going to remain the same.
- Location. Location, location, location...it doesn't matter if you are talking about where the new sports store is going up or where you place your bills when you get them, the principle is the same, not all locations are created equal. If you have one part of the home that is more productive than the rest, then you should keep your bills in that spot.
- Sort and organize. At the very least, you should go through your bills once a week and separate them into different categories. It doesn't matter what you call the categories, but as long as you separate them into what needs to be paid now (usually car insurance and rent) and what might be able to wait till your next payday (your utilities and other types of bills) you can have an idea of where you stand. Focus primarily on the ones that need to be paid now and save the extra money so that you can earn that little bit of extra interest.
- Online. Just about every utility company, credit card agency, and insurance group have an online website now-a-days that you can use to pay. I would strongly suggest that if at all possible, you take advantage of these, since many of these companies offer discounts and extra incentives for using the online methods of payment. Oftentimes, it is just as much about their convenience as it is about yours.
- Automatic. For some of the smaller or more regular bills try setting up automatic payments. Often when we don't see that the money for the bills is actually gone, we don't really miss it. It's that whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing that many of us experience. Also, this is another circumstance where you might find yourself the recipient of a lowered rate or a discount if you utilize some form of automatic payment.
- Prepay. Typically, I would never suggest that you pay a bill the minute that it comes in. If you can hold off till your next payday, then you want to do that. This allows you to earn a little extra interest, even if it is only an extra penny. Over time, those pennies are going to add up and that is when you are going to want to prepay. Unless you have a home loan or car loan that has a "prepayment penalty," this method can end up saving you a whole lot of money in the long run.