Bills—Everyone has them and everyone has to pay them! That being said, some of us might not have grown up learning how to manage bills and expenses properly. Also, it’s not something that is discussed with our kids often. Let’s be honest though. It’s not always the go-to conversation to have at the dinner table or when driving your kids to and from their activities.
Learning the ropes on how to manage your bills is an important life skill to learn at all ages. As an adult, it can lead to fewer missed payments and minimize late fees. Here are some ideas that we encourage you to try. They will help you get your financial house in order and put you back on track to be financially successful!
Make A List & Budget
Sometimes the most challenging part of organizing your bills is understanding what they are and how much you owe. Make time to create a list of all of the things that need paid — utilities, student loans, credit cards, medical, and your rent or mortgage. To help you keep track, we recommend using a notebook or spreadsheet, and this NuMoola budget template.
It’s important to know what your income is and how much savings you have. By making a list and using a budget you have insight into what you owe and where your money is going. It also allows you to tweak your budget to be able to successfully make payments while increasing your savings. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself spending more than you thought in a category and it will cause you to regroup and really finetune your budget to make your money work for you!
Review Your Due Dates
It’s important to review when your bills are due so that you make payments on time, avoid late fees, and continue to have a good credit score. We recommend you keep track of these due dates on your list or budget. Sometimes you might not have the funds to pay the bills you need to pay when you need to pay them. If you have a situation where your paycheck and bills aren’t in sync, give the company a call and communicate this to them. Most companies are understanding and will work with you the best they can.
Figure Out How To Handle Irregular Expenses
After you have made a list and figured out when everything is due, what do you do with the irregular expenses? These typically are things you’d pay quarterly or yearly like waste management or insurance. Because they are out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget about them until they are due.
We recommend treating these expenses just like any other monthly expenses! Break the total amount due down and save money faithfully each month towards the bills until they are due. To give an example, if your waste management bill is $40 every four months, set aside $10 each month to go towards that expense. This will ensure that you won’t scramble to come up with the cash to pay the bill when it’s due. The goal with this method is slow and steady!
Prioritize Your Bills
Whether you’re a young adult or have been doing this for a while, life can occasionally bring curveballs. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your bills! First thing’s first, be intentional in making a new habit for yourself. Set aside a day and time to focus on all of your bills. Once a month will provide you enough time to manage your bills and set you up for success!
Next, figure out what expenses have priority over others. Start with understanding what your needs versus wants are. The basic needs are food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. Everything after that is not a necessity. Some months, you might need to pause on purchasing items that are not necessary to meet your basic needs. If this is happening more regularly, revisit your budget and shift things around to make it work for you!
Streamline The Payment Process
Streamlining the payment process is an easy way to help you manage your bills! It can help remove any stress, time, and pressure that comes with manually making payments. Log in to your utilities, student loans, credit cards, medical, and your rent or mortgage accounts and see if there is a way to automatically apply a minimum payment to the bills that are due. Also, depending on your bank, you might be able to set up automatic payments through your bank account. Nevertheless, learning how to set your expenses to autopay can help you stay on top of your bills and avoid late fees.
Manage Your Bills
Bills and expenses are a part of life! They just can’t be avoided. So instead of trying to dodge them or letting them pile up sky high, embrace them! The important thing is learning how to manage your bills and staying focused on the positive financial benefits to managing them successfully.
Work to stay on top of the payments, try not to overspend, and pay attention to your budget. Also, be sure to include your kids on the bills that are needed to make the household function on a day-to-day basis. These minor changes can help set you up for success for the future and might even lend to a few shorter showers and lights getting turned off when your Crew leaves a room!