Near the top of my list of things that I will never pay for is late fees. OK…I am not including library late fees in this category. I will pay the occasional quarter so I can finish a book.
It does not make sense to me to have to pay additional money because I forgot or because I was disorganized.
With the amount of mail and e-mail we all have coming our way, it could be easy to misplace a bill. With a packed calendar, it could be easy to have bill paying be pushed to the side. Setting up a bill paying system that works for you can eliminate forgotten bills and late payments.
One single system will not work for everyone. I will share my quick and simple system and then give you a few suggestions in figuring out the flow that works for you. I hope this helps you figure out how to organize your bills. There will even be a few free Bill Organization printables to help you organize your bill paying life!
When a bill enters our home, I immediately do one of two things with it.
- I open the bill, go online to pay it, and then file the bill. If it is an automatic payment, I just record and file. It just takes a few minutes and it’s done. Touching the bill once is quick and efficient. There is no chance of missing the payment if I paid the bill the minute I received it! If you have a paperless home, you would have to add scanning the bill in as your last step.
- If I decide not to pay the bill right then and there, I do not just throw the bill in a pile on the kitchen table. I fear that I would miss the due date or lose the bill if I did not have a specific place for all bills. I simply check the due date on the bill, write a note in my planner (find the best planner for you here) a few days before the due date and then place on my desk in the “To Pay” file. As the due date approaches, I see on my calendar that I have a bill due and pay it when I have the time.
How to organize your bills.
Here are a few tips to remember when making sure you pay your bills on time.
- Have one designated area for all the “To Pay” bills – an accordion file, folder, 3-ring binder.
- Don’t be afraid to play around with your payment dates. We had our mortgage and our credit card payment due around the same day each month. I called to have our credit card payment date switched so we now have our two largest payments evenly spread throughout the month. Or maybe you prefer to have your bills all due around the same time of the month for ease. Note that you will not be able to do this for all your bills, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- If you have multiple credit card payments to keep track of, consider simplifying and cut back on the number of credit cards you use. If you have different credit cards due to the various reward programs, but have trouble keeping track of paying your bills on time, then you need to rethink the number of credit cards you have. A late fee could quickly wipe out any rewards earned.
- Communicate! If bill paying is not a shared responsibility, keep the non-bill paying member in the loop. While I am responsible for paying the bills in our home (because I enjoy it!), my husband and I sit down and I go through our finances regularly so he knows what is going on and he could take over the bill paying if necessary.
- Have a system to keep track of automatic payments. (Printables below!) Do you live by a home organization binder and want to pull bill paying into your organizational system? I have created a few free printables for you to use. (I originally created the printables August of 2015, but finally updated them in November 2019! They were pretty outdated.)
Bill Payment Checklist
Pre-Authorized Payment Record
Username & Password List
My system is quick and simple. It works for me. How do you keep your bills organized and paid on time?
Simple printables can be very helpful when trying to get your budget and financial life in order. If you need more help with your budget, family finances, spending and saving money, debt and all that, check out the Budget Boot Camp from Jordan of Fun Cheap or Free.
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How to Organize Your Bills (with bill organization printables) was originally posted August 18, 2015.
Updated November 10, 2019.
Life Breath Present says
Not a bad way to keep track and pay bills in a timely fashion each month. I generally put them all on a calendar in the office and then I use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the spending/paying of the bills. I also have had reminders set on my phone, as well as a ‘schedule’ in doing the finances/bills each week or two, depending on our need. :)
It sounds like you have a great system in place!
Kristy as Giftie Etcetera says
My husband is a fiscal analyst, so he is definitely the bill payer in our home. He has a spreadsheet much like this one. (I cannot even conceive of enjoying paying bills.)
Ha. I know…enjoying paying the bills may seem odd to some. :)
My system is similar to this one. I do love your sheets because of how pretty the color and fonts are. It definitely makes bill paying far more bearable. Thank you for sharing this :) It’s a great way to be organized and be financially responsible as well.
Thanks for stopping by, Maria!
What a great way to keep track. We also try to pay right away so we are never late!!! :)
Nice… it’s quick & efficient to pay right away. :)
These trackers are so helpful! I use a spreadsheet but these are more detailed. Thanks for sharing!
Doused In Pink
Debbie W. says
I’m your neighbor today at Women With Intention. Sounds like you have a great system there. I haven’t gotten brave enough to pay on-line, especially with identity theft this year but do love your system.
Emily: I love this… Just last weekend I totally forgot our life insurance was coming out before we got paid again… I’m thinking these printables would help me. Thanks for sharing :)
I hope they work well for you!
As a professional organizer who specializes in organizing paper, I can attest to how often people struggle with paying their bills on time. This is typically the first item we set up systems for, since (as you pointed out), there’s a real cost associated with losing bills. Your printables are a valuable tool for those who struggle with bill paying. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, being unorganized in this area can cause costly mistakes! Thank you for stopping by, Natalie.
What a great tool to help keep those bills organized! Thanks SO much for sharing!
You are welcome! Thanks for the feature on Hit Me with Your Best Shot!
Crystal Green says
This sounds like a great system. I can see why it works for you. Thanks for you sharing this with us on the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkUp
terri presser says
What a great system you have and you make it so easy to keep track. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
Jenny @ Women With Intention says
Emily, this is a great system! Thanks for sharing at Women With Intention Wednesday! :)
Thank you Jenny!
I just printed out the checklist! WOW I love it, better than the stack collecting on the desk, in the desk or around the desk. We’ve had a lot of medical issues this year and a couple moves and this will help us keep track of it all. THanks! Now, do you have anything to keep track of all my children with? Ha ha
Ha! No, I do not have anything to help you keep track of your children…I am afraid you are on your own. :)
I hope the printables are helpful for you!
I really like your printables! I can’t wait to use them! To make sure bills get paid on time, I sit down and go through to pay them all on the 1st of the month. Hubby gets paid 1x/mth so once we get that, bills get paid. Then I can budget the rest of our month for food/gas/etc. I also keep a list of the name of my bills on my phone notes in case I want to pay it online while I am out (like in school car line). Thanks for the printable!
Yeah. I hope they are helpful! I does sound like you have a good system going.
Amanda Nichole says
My library allows me to go online and re-check out a book – right from home! :)
Excellent post! Almost all my bills are pre-authorized so that sheet will definitely come in handy.
You are welcome! I hope the printables are helpful.
Our library also allows online renewals…which saves me most of the time. Sometimes a book is not eligible for renewal though, so I have to keep it a few more days to finish it up. :)
Thanks for stopping by!
I am going to switch to automatic withdrawal, but I think these sheets would still be really useful to track average expenses which would help immensely with budgeting! :)
I hope they are helpful to you! Thanks for stopping by!
Dave Russ says
These is a great way to monitor your finances. You can now monitor your monthly expenses by doing this format.
Mine printed funny….. any tricks?
Hmmm…not sure. How did they print?