Paying bills can be a monthly headache, but with technology and other programs, making your monthly payments can be a simple process. You may spend each month going through your mail, writing checks and sending out payments through envelopes. What a time-consuming process that also adds an extra expense as you must buy stamps and paper checks. If you forget a payment and are late, you will also have the added expense of a late fee. If you are looking for an easier way to make your monthly payments, several options can suit your needs. These options are listed below, along with when each will be most beneficial for you to use.
Pay bills through your bank
One of the best ways to pay bills is through your bank. This money will be taken directly from your checking or savings account, per your specifications. While some banks charge a fee for this service, many do not. You will need to check with your bank to see if there are any fees associated.
Paying through your bank will require some setup. You will need your account numbers and other payment information for each of the vendors you need to pay. However, once you have set up a payee, you will not have to do it each month. You can easily set up all of your payees in an hour or less.
You can then schedule your payments through your bank each month. Most banks take anywhere between two to five days to send the payment electronically, or your bank will send a paper check on your behalf. Using your bank to make payments is convenient because you can do it all online. You can schedule all of your payments in advance. Some banks will even let you set up monthly recurring payments.
This method is great for payments that you have to make each month, especially ones that are a fixed price. You can also use this method to send direct payments to a person.
Pay bills through an auto-pay feature
Many companies will allow you to use an auto-pay feature and set up payments directly through their website. For this method, you will link your account to a bank account, credit card or debit card. Each month, the money will be auto-drafted to ensure that you always pay on time, one of the major advantages to auto pay according to Dave Ramsey.
This method is great for payments you must make every month but vary in amount, if you have a busy lifestyle or if you tend to be forgetful. You can set your payments up and then you do not have to worry about them anymore.
If you use this option, you should make sure to record the date of auto-pay set up in your LifeBook. Your LifeBook can also serve as a record for your spouse and heirs in the event something happens to you.
Pay bills over the phone
Many vendors allow you to make payments over the phone. With this option, you can call in and give your checking account, credit card or debit card information. Safety measures, like encryption, are often put in place to secure your account information. Many vendors will allow you to use this service for free, but some of them do charge a small fee.
This option is a great way to make payments if you forget to schedule a payment and need to pay immediately to avoid a late fee.
Pay bills through a daily money manager
If you do not want to deal with paying your bills at all, you can hire a daily money manager to handle all of your expenses. A daily money manager will take all of your financial information and payments and make sure that everything is paid for you each month. A daily money manager will also keep records of any tax information you will need to file your taxes.
Each of these options has drawbacks. First and foremost, you need always to make sure you have money in your account to cover any payments that you make. Doing so is especially important if you schedule any auto draft payments. You should always record these payments in your LifeBook along with the date they will draft so that your family will know what payments are covered and you can rest assured that nothing is being paid twice. You are setting up these payments to avoid late fees, but if you incur overdraft fees, you will not be saving any money.