Skip to main content

3 point strategy to pay bills in less than 20 minutes a month!


OH NO! I forgot to pay my electric bill! 


You are sitting in your house. Watching your favorite movie. The popcorn is popped. The sodas and snacks are displayed. It’s a great moment and… the lights go out, the TV turns off, the air conditioner stills.

Then it hits. That turn in your gut. Your head gets just a little light. Your heart sinks. A question pushes through to your mind… You turn to your spouse and ask

“Did I pay the electric bill?”

You both look with a shrug, a look that says: “I think so?!” You get up and walk to the front door. You place your hand on the cool metal brass. You open the door and step outside. It’s night. It’s going to be dark anyway. But you glance up and the street lights aren’t on. The neighbor’s house lights are off. You glance further, every light is off in the whole neighborhood.

Relief washes over you… it’s just a power outage… It wasn’t the bill!

What’s sad about this story is that your first thought was a bill not being paid, not a power outage. Where did that question about the bill come from? Why was that even a question? Why was a power outage not your FIRST assumption, instead of a bill being forgotten?

It’s possible to live without that fear.

Here is my 3 point plan to make paying bills simple... as long as you have the money to pay them in the first place, but that's for another article.

1. Paycheck Dates Not Due Dates


When you pay bills as they come in, you are always running around trying to catch up, or see if something has cleared. Your checking account tells the story.

You have card purchases mixed with checks and electronic bill payments all throughout the month. You are never quite sure what you are paying and every so often you miss something. Either something doesn’t get paid, or you end up with an overdraft.

You always have bills on the mind. It’s just a big, big hassle. I used to sit at the gas station having full conversations with myself in my head: "Did I pay that yet? Has this cleared? How much DO I have left for this gas I need to make sure to leave enough for X to come out..." Contrast that with this idea.

Group your payments and pay your bills on paycheck dates, not on due dates. Tweet That!

You group your payments together. You don’t pay them as they come due, you pay them as YOU get paid. Let’s say you, as most people in the US, get paid every two weeks. Generally, you get two checks per month.

So take your bills and group them together into two groups.

“Paycheck One Group” and “Paycheck Two Group”.

So when you get paid at the start of the month you will sit down that day (or soon after) and pay your bills. You pay every bill that day. The idea is to get them all out of your account on day one of the pay period.

Now, in order to get them out of your account on day one, you cannot:

  1. Write Checks
  2. Give your card OR account number to another company by phone or online
  3. Use Any Automatic Payments.
  4. Or make any other payment that takes more than 30 seconds to clear your account. 

Therefore, to get these items out of your account on day one you must:

  1. Use Bill Pay. If you are using the banks bill payment service, pay them all that day. 
    1. Use bill pay manually, not automatically
    2. We"ll talk more about this in a second.
  2. Take Out Cash and buy money orders and then mail them. 
    1. This is cumbersome, but if you have an illogical fear of the Internet you could do that I suppose. 
    2. Then again, if you fear the Internet you probably aren't reading this?


2. Bill Pay

First of all. Let's get some things straight about bill pay. The following information should be true for any bank I know of, but you'll have to double check your bank to be sure.

Bill pay does not mean auto pay. Bill pay services usually have auto features available and many mistake this to mean that you must have auto pay to use bill pay. Almost everyone I've ever talked to that wasn't using bill pay gave this as their number one reason for avoiding it. Rest easy, you can and should still pay your bills manually.

Bill pay will take a few days to be received by the merchant. Usually 1 or 2 days when sending electronic payments and 5-10 days when mailing paper payments. If you are paying bills last minute than this won't work for you. But if you are paying bills last minute you are not using my system, refer back to point 1.

Access your bill pay service through your banks online banking or mobile app. Typically you will only need three things to set up your "payee", the person you are paying.

Setting Up Payee's


  1. Name of Payee
    1. Check your statement. Some companies aren't obvious. 
    2. For Example: Bank of America Credit Cards often list their statement name as "FIA Card Services". Weird, but check your statement to see what name they're using. 
    3. Address on statement
      1. Typically a PO BOX, but this helps the bank make sure they have the right client. Some receive payments for different accounts at different addresses, you may see more than one listed with your payee's name, use your billing statement for that payee to be sure you have the right one. 
    4. Account Number
      1. This is not asking for their account number and routing number. It's asking for the item that identifies you as their customer. Could be an account number, customer number or policy number. 
      2. There could be situations you may not have one. Example: If I send my tithe to the Church through bill pay there is no account number. I just click "Does Not Apply To This Payee" or something like that. 

    Once your payees are put in you now send all your payments through bill pay. All of them? Yes! All of them.

    Exceptions.

    Insurance. When your insurance company offers you a discount for setting up auto pay and you have money in your savings and cannot become overdrawn, take the discount. If you are having overdraft issues, the discount is too expensive politely decline their "discount" as it's too expensive for you and use bill pay.

    Card Based Items. Some companies must have your card or you cannot use their service. These act more like purchases even though you and I will treat them like bills. These are things like: Netflix, Hulu, LA Fitness, Magazine Clubs, Etc. You could give your card for these. You could also use a prepaid card or second account for these type of things instead of using your main account just to prevent overdrafts.

    Using Bill Pay

    So this is what you need to know about using bill pay most effectively. Once your payees are set up in the system your overview page will likely show all your payees on one screen. Next to each payee is an amount box and date box.

    Date could refer to "Send By" or "Send On". There is a big difference here. Send By means it leaves your account a few days early to get it there by that date. Send On leaves your account on that date.

    You are paying your bills on your paycheck dates, twice per month. So when you get paid you pull up bill pay. Verify what amounts you want to pay.

    1. Select who you want to pay. 
    2. Type in the amount into bill pay next to the name you want to pay.
    3. Choose Date. 
      1. You are going to choose Send On, and then select Todays Date for all bills, not the due date.
    If you got paid today, you go into bill pay today, you choose todays date as the send on date, type in the amounts you want to pay and hit send. This pulls all payments out of your account today. No more having items pend, disappear, and come back later.


    3. Yearly Sheet

    yearly and monthly bill payment tracker sheet


    If you find your life as chaotic as I do, you need an external way to organize yourself. Studies show that the more you can group things together the easier it is for you. The following instructions are based on the average household with two paychecks that come in every other Friday.

    The ideas can be implemented by anyone, with some adaptations. . If you have a different system, like you only get paid once a month or you get paid on off times, you may need to adapt this to fit you.

     Here’s what you are going to do. Take out a blank piece of paper (You could also use graph paper, or even excel to do this. Excel users click here). You want a long piece of paper, 8.5X14 legal size is best. You will lay this out long side to you and short sides to your sides. Or, you could use two regular sized peices of paper and split your year into two.

    On the left hand side you will write out Four categories. 

    Tithe. Paycheck One, Paycheck Two, Misc.

    Tithe. The first group of payments is your tithe's, offerings, charitable donations, etc. When you put God first you get better financial results. If you don't understand why see my article on the tithe.

    The Misc category is for things that come once a year, once every few months, or once a quarter. Things like AAA memberships, car registrations, HOA dues, etc.

    Monthly Bills. You will divide all your monthly bills into two groups. Those things that you usually pay with paycheck one, and those things you usually pay with paycheck two. List them out accordingly.

    *Helpful Hint. You could, next to each name if you have room, write the web address, username/password, and 800# for each company. 

    You will want to write down the due date and amount for later reference.

    If the date and/or amount is fixed, Horrah! You got it for the year.

    If the amount or date varies make some notation next to it, like this: “ ~ “ to indicate that the amount or date can change, but still include your best guess as to the average there.

    For example “ ~$75 3rd “

    Now, to the right along the top of the page, spaced evenly, you will write out the months of the year. January through December. If you did this on graph paper or excel you will find that you have created a box for each payee for each month. If not you could take a pen or pencil and a ruler to make the grid. I like to staple the sheet to my wall, my wife likes to use a book to keep it in. Whatever works for you.

    And you are done with the set up.

    The Perfect Bill Payment System 

    Now let’s put it together. So you are going along in life and you just got paid this morning. You have a moment to focus on bills so you sit at your computer.

    You pull up your sheet and you see that it’s paycheck two today. You paid the first round of bills two weeks ago.

    Now you sit down on payday to review your bills. You don’t have to guess to see which bills you are actually paying, because you are using your Yearly Bills Sheet.

    It’s all right there in front of you. You double check how much you are paying on the electric bill because that changes, the rest are fixed bills this paycheck.

    You already set up all the “Payee’s” into your bill pay so all you have to do now is type in the amount next to each payee and choose TODAY’S date as the “Send ON” date for all the bills. Hit send. You’re done.

    The bill money has left the building!

    Your paycheck came in, your bills left, now all you have to do is keep track of card purchases for the next two weeks.

    *If you are only getting paid once a month then do this same thing, just do it once a month. 1st and 15th, then do it then. If you get paid every week, or you have deposits from two people coming in all over the place that’s OK too. Let all the deposits come in and settle and choose two dates every month you will pay bills and do it twice a month. I don’t feel it would be helpful for you to pay more often than twice a month, but if it works for you it works. DO what works. This system isn’t mean to be fixed but fluid.


    Need help getting started? Here's a jump start!


    Here are two versions of ways you could group your payments!

    Click Here to download and personalize your own version for yourself!








    A SPECIAL THANKS: to my wife Flavia... most of these great ideas are hers!

    So here’s my question for YOU! What could you add to this system to make it even easier? Do you have any other ideas, or anything to add?


    ______________________________________________


    By Darrell Wolfe

    Tumblr DarrellWolfe
    Facebook DarrellGWolfe
    Twitter @DarrellWolfe
    Google+ DarrellGWolfe
    YouTube DarrellGWolfe


      Disclaimers:

      FOR MY FULL DISCLAIMER: See my "Start Here About" page. Click Here

      Information here is As-Is. These are the opinions of a fellow traveler and seeker of truth. I am not a doctor, lawyer, licensed financial advisor, tax preparer, etc, etc... I'm just one guy, sharing what he's learned. As such, the information may be as true or faulty as the guy on the buss stop giving you directions. If you need accurate information I encourage you to seek the help of a professional in your field. 

      * I do make money from this blog. 1 Tim 5:18 says the worker is worthy of his wages. I do earn affiliate commissions or freebies from some of the products I discuss at various points on this blog. Regardless I only suggest things that have personally helped me, or someone I know. If you click on an "Affiliate Link" and you buy something I'll get a cut. Thanks for your support! 

      I am a conservative Christian. I write from a bible-centric point of view. I welcome people from other points of view to jump into the conversation. If you don't like bible-centric writing: I encourage you not to read my posts.... Unless you want to learn something new. 

      * In all you do: Live Long and Prosper, with GOOD SUCCESS! 


      Thank you, Darrell Wolfe

      Comments

      Connect With Me

      Popular posts from this blog

      An Open Letter: John Stumpf, Wells Fargo Board, and Policy Making Departments

      On 12/28/13, I wrote the following letter to the then CEO & President of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf. It was in part, a response to the LA Times Article and the poor response from Wells Fargo leadership.

      I later worked for the executive office and saw how they handle these letters. They assign them to a paper-pusher who could care less. They draft a form response, and it gets tallied in the statistics.

      By the time it makes it to the CEO, it's only data in a pie chart. "We had 365 complaints this month. x number of complaints about checking, y number about sales practices, Etc." They tally it up, if it's not a big enough stat, it gets zero attention. Most things that do require attention get just enough to make it go away, but never deal with the root.

      I was one of many hundreds who spoke up loudly and actively for years before 2013 and years after. The news cycle of 2016 showed that it cost them $185 Million dollars to ignore the feedback their frontline Team Membe…

      White Nose | Scene 3

      The Aleve took effect with the help of two breakfast whiskey sours. It had been three days since his tussle in town and he still couldn't sleep, despite the nighttime cocktail.
      Beams of light broke through the trees outlining Ash's house, tucked back off of the main road by a mile long rock driveway. One such beam was tanning his pale country face as he rocked on an old wooden chair he'd carved himself. Whittling was one of his most relaxing and profitable talents.
      One look in the mirror each summer reminded him that he only retained two colors, pale Irish freckle and redneck red. Ash was careful to avoid too much contact with summer's star.
      Dust down the drive revealed the presence of a visitor before the sound of tires on gravel confirmed it. Ash hasn't been visited by more than three people in the eight years he'd been back in town, so he picked up the hunting rifle, just in case.
      The scope showed the local sheriff, his friend Dan. He didn't usually com…

      Topos Transitions

      Transitions are rough. I've been through many seasons of my life where I had to make a transition. At each and every stage it was tough. There are always things you miss about the last season, things you are hoping for in the next season, and things you can't wait to be rid of in the season you're leaving behind.Whether you are sensing the winds of change blowing you out of your current situation, you are in the middle of the trip, or the winds are at your back and you settling in to your new spot... Remember this word: ToposTopos is a Greek word and it essentially means:Your strategic position of opportunity and influence.Make your Topos count today, wherever you are.Darrell




      What doesn't kill you makes you stronger????

      What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.Ask a Vet with an amputated limb if they feel stronger now or before the limb was taken... I'd bet before. Injury, all injury, is by definition a lack of perfection. What doesn't kill you, more often than not,  makes you weaker, more timid, more cautious, slower... Not stronger.Sure, we can learn from the past, become more resilient. We can use pressure, under certain circumstances, to build resistance based strengths, like a body builder pushing back on the resistance of the weights... But by no means is the saying: "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" an accurate portrayal of Truth, nor should it EVER be spoken to someone in pain.The enemy comes ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy, that's why the pain/attack came, not to make you stronger but to kill you.God's Grace brought you through but He didn't bring you to...God's Grace can heal you too.Selah#LiesAboutGod

      Writers Block - How do you write when you don't know what to write?

      So, I recently had a comment on this blog. I'm not sure if it's ligit but I think that it's a question a lot of writers ask:


      "... I was curious to find out how you center yourself and cⅼear your tһoughts before writіng. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly dߋ take pleasurе in writing, however, it just seems like the fіrѕt 10 to 15 minutes is wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Appгеciate іt!" AnonymousJuly 1, 2017 at 4:31 PM


      The way this is phrase means that this is either a spam comment or it's just a google translate comment. Not sure. Nevertheless, it's a good question.

      Having a mind that is clear isn't necessary for writing. Writing requires thoughts. My professor once said: "Throw up on the page, we can clean it up afterward". And that's done wonders for me. If you are going to write, just start. You could end up with something so long and winding that you…

      What is a Topos? A strategic position of opportunity and influence

      What does Topos mean?Topos is a Greek word meaning: "Place, or Opportunity"
      Properly:Any portion of space marked off, as it were, from surrounding, space Metaphorically: The condition or station held by one in any company or assemblyopportunity, power, occasion for actingA spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas chora is a large but participle locality). As used by me: Topos is a strategic position of opportunity and influence
      Topos: Your Calling Everyone has a God given calling on this earth. There is something you were created and designed to do. What you are doing now may be "The Calling"; or, it may be the calling for this season of your life. Either way, you are either in your Topos, or you need to find it.

      As you read the stories of biblical heros like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul... etc... you find that God put them in the right place to do the right thing at the right time.

      They ended up in their Topos, …

      Paradox of Excellence

      Paradox of Excellence:

      Philippians 3:7-9 NKJV
      7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

      Philippians 3:7-9 Message
      7 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash - along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. 8 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant - dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that …

      An eye on eternity...

      Heart of the City Church

      Church Notes from April 29, 2017
      Living Life in the Light of Eternity: http://bible.com/events/210278
      Guest speaker: Pastor Bob Johnson & his lovely wife, Cindy, with us this weekend from New City Church in Great Falls, Montana!
      See Message Here



      *These are my notes from church today using the YouVersion live app:

      II Corinthians 4:5-16 NKJV For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus …

      Valley Seasons Church Notes

      Pastor JO

      Heart Of The City Church
      June 10, 2017
      ====================================
      Mountains, Valleys & Plains Part 2
      null
      http://bible.com/events/230949
      ====================================
      • You have to learn to live with and in the valleys.

      II Corinthians 11:23-27 NKJV
      Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my  own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
      http://bible.com/114/2co.11.23-27.N…

      Freedom From vs Freedom ToBe

      For many Freedom is understood through the lense if being free from...Addiction
      Pain
      Loneliness
      Him/Her
      The Situation
      The Job
      Debt
      Poverty
      Etc.So we follow the rat race seeking whatever we think will make us free. When that doesn't provide the freedom we sought, we seek another fix, and another... An endless cycle of seeking freedom but never being free.What if Freedom has nothing to do with whatever jail you are in, however you've defined your personal jail.What if Freedom is about becoming WHO you were always meant to be... And in that pursuit all the "other" (addiction, pain, the jails) falls off when you aren't even looking...You don't know when you got "free from", you just look back and realize you don't have all the issues you had. You have battles in front of you but you have definitely won some battles too, and you didn't​even notice you had won.It's as though the act of becoming a butterfly was so profound that you have trouble…

      About Me

      My photo

      Hi! My name is Darrell G. Wolfe. I am a wealth of random information and I make complicated things simple at DarrellWolfe.com.

      I have a knack for absorbing information, breaking it down to its root elements, and teaching it to others.

      Most importantly, I help purpose-driven people to understand their place in His-Story and provide them the tools they need to fulfill their unique position of opportunity and influence in this world (their Topos).