Paying your bills might seem like the most adult thing but having a good system in place will help you take control of your financial health. From signing up for auto-pay to consolidating bills, understanding your payment cycle, organizing statements, and more, read on for tips to make this monthly chore work in your favor.
Step 1: Take an Inventory of Your Bills
Before you can put a strategy in place, you need to know all of your financial obligations. Do a deep dive into your bank statements and credit reports, listing every recurring payment and lender. Some popular categories include technology (phone, streaming services, cable, internet), gym membership, utility bills, rent or mortgage, credit cards, medical bills, and car payments. Include the minimum monthly balance, payment due date, and total balance due on your list. Then, separate your list by those that can be set to auto-pay and those that can’t.
Pro Tip: Sort your list by those that can be set to auto-pay and those that need to be paid manually.
Step 2: Organize Your Payments
Pull out your calendar and add in all of your payment dates. Look at the monthly view to see if the current due dates work for you, your paychecks, and other financial obligations. Most creditors allow customers to pick their payment date. If you’re worried about overspending, set your due dates for right after your paycheck is deposited. Budgeting apps like Mint or YouNeedaBudget are helpful as well.
Pro Tip: A great way to track due dates and recurring payments is to use an online calendar or your bank’s bill pay app.
Step 3: Audit Your Expenditures
Do you really need a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and Peacock? Canceling just one service adds up throughout the year. Are you using the gym enough to warrant a monthly subscription or would day passes be more economical? Are you paying for phone, internet, and cable from separate providers? See if you can bundle services with the same provider to save money.
Pro Tip: Carve out time for a quarterly audit on your calendar to review new subscriptions and recurring expenditures.
Coming up with a system to practice good financial management looks a little different for everyone. Develop a strategy that works for you and commit to sticking to it – your wallet and credit score will thank you!
Essential life skills aren’t typically taught in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as critical as coursework. In our “Life Prerequisites” series (inspired by the Student Advisory Committee), we explore a range of topics, from understanding debt, minor home repairs, how to read a pay stub, managing a bank account, and more. If you have an idea for a future topic, please liabensley [at] csuglobal.edu (email) us!