When you work hard for every dollar you earn and do your best to save every cent each month, it’s important not to lose money on overdue fees. Apart from the cost of such fees, not paying invoices on time can lead to more dire consequences, such as loss of access to services, a dint in your credit rating, dealings with debt collection agencies, court orders, and even the repossession of certain assets.
However, for many people, bills are neglected regularly because they are simply forgotten about, or because of a lack of time. Happily though, there are things you can do to stay in control more easily, and ensure all your bills are paid on time and no late fees are accrued again. Read on for some strategies even the busiest people can implement today.
Make Use of Payment Options Which Suit You Best
One of the simplest things you can do to manage your finances is use the payment options which suit you the best. If you struggle to rope in your credit card spending, for example, then you should consider only paying for items with cash or with direct checks for a period of time. This will help you to be more aware of the funds you actually have available each period, and will make it easier to not waste money on things you can go without.
Alternatively, if your problem is that you simply forget to pay bills, then you might want to think about setting up direct debits for as many recurring costs as you can. There is also the option of paying via Text2Pay with some businesses, which means you can pay bills on your smartphone while you’re on your lunch break, on public transport, or at any other convenient time.
There are also lots of great apps on the market which take the time and hassle out of managing finances. Mint, for example, is an award-winning app that has customers across the globe. Created by Intuit (the company behind the popular Quicken software), Mint is available for both Apple and Android devices, and is free to download.
The system works by giving customers a look at their personal finance data at a glance, and in real time. All the pertinent details of a users finances are grouped together in one place and shown through easy-to-interpret graphs and charts. The Mint platform can analyze a variety of financial data, as it can be linked to credit cards, bank accounts, and home, car or student loans. Users can also input cash payments into the app manually.
Mint makes it easy to:
- Set and stick to your budget
- Track your expenses
- See where you really spend your money each month
- Categorize expenses
- Set savings goals
- Be alerted to bills reaching their due dates or budget limits being approached
In addition, the app can send customers regular savings tips that are personalized just for them. This might involve suggested credit cards which charge lower fees than those currently used, or savings accounts which offer better interest rates.
Another good personal finance app worth checking out is Level Money. Also free to download and suitable for iOS and Android operating systems, the tech is advertised as a “mobile money meter.” It comes up with a suggested spending level for each customer, based on their recurring bills and income level. Users can choose to receive daily, weekly or monthly spending suggestions. Once Level Money has been downloaded, you simply link it with your bank account so that the platform can track your daily cash flow.
In addition to this, the app can also provide each customer with a recommended savings level for each month, and then, if you set up the auto-save function, automatically subtract the allocated dollar amount from your budget at the end of the month and place it in a linked savings account.
Lastly, it also pays to consolidate your bills where you can so that you not only get given a discount for bundling services with one provider, but you also have fewer separate bills to remember, and pay, each year.
Insurance and telecommunications are two prime examples of the areas where you can consolidate. You might choose one company for your home, car, contents, life and health insurance, rather than separate businesses; as well as one provider for your cellphone, home phone, work phone, and internet services.
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