by Kathy Gates
Paying bills is not a task that many of us enjoy. But it doesn't have to be a total drag if you set up a system to do most of the work for you. Once you get into a routine, bill paying is easy, and will generally only require a few minutes of your time. With these 3 rules, you'll set yourself up for ease and success, instead of stress and failure.
* * *One Place
This first step is to choose a place where you will feel most comfortable paying bills. This is different for each person. My dad always paid bills at the kitchen table. I prefer a desk. I have a friend who pays them while sitting in her bed. It's entirely up to you as long as you are consistent.
Important, be consistent. Decide at this point also if you will be using a computer billing system, or writing checks and balancing your checkbook by hand. That could determine where you will set up your bill paying station. The idea is not to waste time by having to search for things in several locations. ONE PLACE.
Whatever the location, you will need a place where you can store the bill paying necessities - the bills themselves, as well as a checkbook and register, pens, calculator, stamps, envelopes, mailing labels, etc. This might be a fancy file cabinet, a drawer, or even a shoebox. As each new bill comes in, put the whole envelope into that folder until you are ready to pay it.
The second step is to always pay bills on the same day each week. It doesn't matter what day of the week that happens to be, the day best for you. Just be consistent. Without a weekly day to review and pay bills, it's easy to procrastinate and "end up" doing it at an inconvenient time.
The idea is to not let the bill paying make your decisions for you. You choose your own day of the week, and avoid being pushed into doing the chore when you don't want to do it, or when you don't have the time to do it. That's operating on someone else's agenda instead of your own. ONE DAY. You choose the time, and stay in control of both your time and your bills.
The third step is to choose a particular time of the day. For example, assuming that you have chosen Sundays as your best day to pay bills, now choose a time of day. The idea is that without a specific time in mind, you will end up at bedtime realizing that you put it off all day. ONE TIME.
Pick a time when you are not rushed and not interrupted. Whatever day and time you choose, schedule it, prioritize it, and protect it. I have a friend who arrives 30 minutes early at her job on Wednesday morning, and pays her bills then. I personally pay mine on Sunday evenings. Do whatever works best for you.
Once you are set up, the job should take only about 15 minutes on a regular basis, with an extra 15-30 minutes on days that you need to balance the checkbook. Really! The idea is to make an unpleasant task operate as smoothly, efficiently, and quickly as possible.
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Copyright © 2002 Kathy Gates. All rights reserved.