Create a bill paying system that is as effortless and automatic as possible. As long as your income keeps up with your expenses you'll be able to stay on track.
- Select a specific place in your home to work on your personal finances. Designate it as your home financial center. It can be as simple as a desk in the family room or a corner of your bedroom. Stock it with supplies such as pens, paper, stapler, filing containers or a filing cabinet, and a box for incoming mail. Try and keep your work surface clear of clutter. A computer would be very helpful, but not necessary.
- Make new habits and be consistent. Always put your incoming mail and papers in one particular place. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate; a shoe box, plastic container, or a file cabinet will do. Open your mail every day. Throw out the junk and put the good stuff in your collection place. Once you've paid the bills and read the papers, file them immediately so they don't get mixed up with new stuff.
- Schedule a regular time for working on money matters. Make it the same day and time every week.
- Set up a bill paying schedule that coincides with your pay days. List all your obligations by payee name or type of expense. Place them in due date order with the amount you pay every month, and any balances left to be paid. Bills should be paid about one week before the due dates, so plan accordingly. Determine if your income covers the amount needed to pay your bills and expenses. If not, contact your lenders or service providers to change a due date to one that coincides with your bill paying schedule. Most organizations are quite willing to change a due date.
- Make the process as automated as possible. Set up direct deposit of your paycheck into your checking account. Enroll in online banking and set up automatic payments for as many bills and expenses as possible. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account so that you save for unanticipated expenses.
- Make adjustments as you go along. As money issues come up, and they inevitably will, adjust your bill paying system as necessary.