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Simplify Your Bills in 4 Easy Steps

Put an end to evil late fees and overdue notices with our guide.

1. Get Organized

Start by deciding which spouse pays which bills, or put one of you in charge of all payments. When the next bill arrives, file your statement, write the bill’s name on its due date (or the date you need to mail the check by) in your calendar. Choose one day per month, preferably one day after you are paid, to write checks. This way, you can budget the rest of your month based on what’s left.

2. Consolidate Billing Cycles

Getting your statements on a schedule that works for you will allow you to attack other projects. Ask your credit card and utility companies if you can select a new due date. You might want all bills due at one time and be done with them, or have them spaced out twice a month.

3. Cancel Some Credit Cards

Opening up that Gap card to get 10 percent off a pair of khakis seemed like a good deal at the time, but now you have one more bill to add to the pile. If you tend to carry a balance on it, you should consolidate your cards. Choose three major credit cards (the ones with the best interest rates or money-back offers/rewards), and designate them as His Card, Her Card, and the Joint Purchases Card. Make sure you have one in your own name to keep a good line of credit, and then transfer your balances from the old cards to the personal one you're keeping.

4. Pay Online

Schedule automatic payments for certain withdrawal dates. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing due dates, paying finance charges, or having enough cash on reserve. Just set your calendar to remind you the day before each bill is paid so you can see your account balances and check online statements for any inaccuracies.

Nestpert Carol Buchman, a CPA and CFP in New York City

-- Grace Jidoun

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