Wouldn’t it be nice if bills just paid themselves?
But they don’t. So you have systems.
Now. Before you say, “But it’s a total wreck, Jen. It’s really not a system, it’s just a big ol’ pile,” stop for a moment. It *is* a system. It may not be photo-ready or tidy or glamorous, but. BUT, if it’s all stuff that…
- is in a reasonably predictable location
- that you can find most of the time and
- that you remember to do with B+ accuracy or better
…it’s a system. Even if it’s a total mess. Yay, you! So go easy here. You’re a work in progress.
Here’s what I do to remember to pay my bills
What is currently working well for me:
Oooh. Transparency is scary. Here goes.
I double-schedule payments on my calendar. I practically need bill-paying thugs who threaten my kneecaps in order to remember to pay bills on time. Extreme, I know. I use Google calendar and I schedule a “day event” that appears at the top of my screen.
In addition, I schedule an actual appointment with myself at a time of day when I know I’ll be in my office. I learned this from experience – scheduling bill paying on days I was out and – whoops.
I triple-schedule the really important bills. Yup. In order to avoid a credit card interest rate on par with my age, I triple-schedule my bill-paying appointments. All these reminders assure that I absolutely, positively do not miss a due date.
I gotta see it. When that bill-paying appointment rolls around, two big pop up reminders appear on my screen one right after the other. They’re practically impossible to miss. And they’re really annoying. “All right, all right,” I say to my computer. “I’ll pay them now!” (I’ll bet I’m not the only one who talks to her computer.)
The absolutely not-optional thing. You know by now that I’m pretty accommodating and malleable about systems. But there’s one thing that I am stern with myself on: I open my bills the day they arrive and schedule all those appointments I mention above. I do not pass go or collect $200 until they’re safely in my calendar – or they will get forgotten.
The non-environmental thing. I must have paper bills. I am primarily tactile, so holding the paper bill in my hands makes it real and allows me to physically and mentally process that it is, indeed, a bill. Without that piece of paper, I would probably never pay them on time. Sorry, trees.
What I’m currently working on
The reminder system. I’m still tweaking the Google calendar system. As I write this, I have a bill that’s due today that I totally ignored, because I barely looked at my calendar today. That’s, uhhh, less than ideal.
The danger in my current system is that if I don’t pay the bill today, it drops off my screen the next day and disappears. So I’m working on noticing what would work better for me and will induce less panic.
What do YOU do to remember to pay the bills?
What works really well for you? What are you working on?
Share your insights and ideas! Your comments on your own process are welcome. I also request kindly that you not give advice to me or others unless it’s specifically requested. This makes exploring safe and learning possible for every reader.