Organizing Your Bills!

Updated on August 13, 2011
J.K. asks from Cuyahoga Falls, OH
15 answers

Anyone else feel so scatter-brained lately? Geeze louise, three times this summer I have been so busy with things that I overlooked a few bills and realized a couple days later that I "forgot" to pay them on-time! This is soooo not me!!!! I am NEVER late paying bills and I could kick myself for being so irresponsible! For example, I found my Macy's bill in my car (I guess I put it there so I wouldn't forget to pay it) and realized that it was due yesterday.....My eyes swelled up with tears! So I paid it off and called customer service and they took off the late fee b/c I have never been late before.

Does that make anyone else feel so incredibly incompetent by occasionally "forgetting" to pay on-time? I guess I will need to organize my bills for now on in a way that will not make me "forget"! Any ideas? I pay some on-line and others I send in. Does anyone else set their bills up so that they are just deducted from your banking account? Do you like that?


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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great tips, everyone! I appreciate the advice.

@ Amber: What do you call baby-brain when your children are 3 and 4? Permanent baby-brain? That's what I have!! lol

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answers from Cleveland on

I pay bills 2x per month. I created a spreadsheet for tracking bills due and paid. The first colum lists the Deposit and beneath lists the Bills and their average cost. The top row lists months and so I have a few months worth of bills to track. I provided an example below. As I go through my bills, I mark off the ones I paid, and therefore have not forgotten to pay a bill in years. Hope this makes sense.

Deposit $8888
Gas $ 333
Mortgage $ 111
Phone $ 444
Balance $xxxx

Deposit $8888
Electric $ 15
Trash $ 54
CreditCa $ 4567
Balance $xxxx

(random #'s chosen)

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

I just figured out a system that is the best thing I've ever done. I've never been late with my bills, but I always had a stressful stack of various bills and "to do" paperwork sitting on top of my desk calendar, with no useful organization.

I bought one of those accordion files, that has 31 slots in it, and I place my various bills and "to do" items in the date that I need to do it. Every day I look at that day, and do what needs to be done. Why didn't I think of this earlier?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I do NOT pay bills online. I HAVE to have the paper in my hand and physically write the check... that's the only way I don't forget!! Then I write down on the bill how much I paid, the date, and the check number, then file it in a small coupon folder. I keep the copies until the check has cleared, wait a month, then trash it. I've been doing this since I was 16 and it's never failed me!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Clarksville on

I have a three ring binder w/ college rule paper and the pocket dividers. On the paper I right down the payee, amount and due dates w/ the month at top. Then when I pay the bill either online or by phone, I will right the conformation code by the bill. I use the pocket dividers to keep the bills that I might need to reference later. Once the month is over I will move the paper behind a divider, for future reference. In the front of the binder I taped a paper that has all the account numbers and phone numbers, website, online user name and password. That way I don't have to such for the bill in order to pay it pay phone or forget my username and password.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am forgetful by nature. The hubby takes care of the bills because of this. But obviously, I need to know what's going on and where everything is, since he can't be here constantly. He has worked out a system that works well for us. Putting things away in files and folders are a bad idea for me...I'd completely forget they were there. We have quicken. It reminds you bills are due. That helps. We found a magnetic folder. It's only one small pocket. When the mail comes that's where we put everything. The hubby goes through the mail when he comes home. Having a spot keeps it from being scattered and lost. He opens bills immediately. He seperates them immediately too. The paper with all the transactions and charges gets put in a paper tray for filing later. The part of the bill that gets sent back gets put crosswise in the return envelope, so it sticks out. We write the due date on the back of the envelop. Then it gets put in an upright letter organizer. So we can physically see that it needs to be paid. We always get things in the mail a week early, so it has plenty of time to get there. Once the check has been written or the payment has been made online, then we file the paperwork. It just takes checking the bill holder to make sure everything has been paid.

I have a friend who writes bill amounts on her calendar in red sharpie. It's a bit quicker for her and she has a constant daily reminder that she needs to mail a bill or pay online. She says the only down side is that she has to leave it in the kitchen (or she won't see it) and that means friends sometimes know a little more about her finances than she would like.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

We just moved to Ohio last month and our bills for things like water, electricity, etc. are on different dates than they were before, so I keep a log of what I paid on the 1st & 15th of each month. That list has kept me from missing a bill numerous times. I pay my bills online but I don't automate them because I always check the activity on them before I pay. I'm always paranoid I'm going to overdraw my bank account. Don't feel bad about the Macy's bill...I've made that same phone call more than once! Good luck on getting things organized.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Gosh, we set all our bills up online based on our family budget. Some we will pay "early" to make it land in a certain paycheck cycle, but basically we sit down once a week and set up all the bills to pay out of the bank directly and then reconcile with microsoft money.
I have, however, been very interested in the wooden boxes that have a slot for every day of the month from an organizational standpoint. Just because we pay online, doesn't mean we don't get the paper in the mail:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I hear ya girl!!! I've done the same thing - I'm just calling it baby brain! What I do now is just pay them right away. I do all the bills that I can online. When I get the bills in the mail, I fill them in on our monthly budget and then pay them for the day they are due (just in case we need to wait till pay day). Make sense!

Good luck!
A. V.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

My husband and I have all of our funds as one (in the sense that its not his money vs. my money), however our paychecks go into seperate accounts.

My check goes into savings and then pays out all regular unchanging bills each month (i.e. our mortgage, rental mortgage, car payments, kids school tuition, insurance, etc)...All bills and transfers for this account are automatic. I go in once every so often and make sure all is working. whats left of my check builds up in our savings account.

My husband's check goes into checking and that is what we use to "live" off. This pays all the variable bills (phone, electricity, food, travel, clothes, gas, etc). He pays all the bills in this account and I do 99.99% of the shopping out of this account. He pays all the bills online through our bank each week, he checks the mail on Thursdays and pays bills on friday. So there isn't much room for forgetting. Nothing is automatically withdrawn (except gym membership). We only write 1 check per month to daycare.

I occassionally forget to pay a bill that we only pay once a year (home insurances, or DMV) and yes it makes me feel completely incompetent because I don't have many to pay, so I shouldn't forget, right?

I would suggest that you get an account with US BANK and pay all your bills online. No stamps, no forgetting that way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

i have a running checkbook(quicken) on my computer. i reconcile it online with my bank once a week or so. i also have it filled out and budgeted about 2 years into the future with all the regular bills i have to pay, quarterly HOA fees, etc. i have my bills divided into two sets, those i pay on the 1st, and those i pay on the 15th. so i just get on quicken on the 1st and 15th, and pay everything that's listed for those dates - keeps things very simple and organized for me, and i can't forget anything because it's all right there! i used to do all paper bills, checks, and mail them out - then i got a phone call from a federal agent that he had found a stack of my outgoing mail, stolen, in a ditch about 30 miles from here - it was lots of bills, checks were missing. so, ever since then, i pay everything online that i can, and the few things i do need to mail out i take to the post office to mail.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't forget to pay bills b/c I get completely freaked-out by interest charges.

We have a bill-paying system in our house that works for us. "Small bills" that are "set" get paid automatically through our online banking (garbage, cable, cell phones, internet). "Variable" bills get paid the old-fashioned way- sit down with the bills, checkbook, stamps and address labels (credit card, utilities, school trips, fundraisers, etc) . I also pay our mortgage by check.

ALL bills or things "to be paid" go into a basket in the den. That basket also contains all of the things needed to pay the bills (checkbook, stamps, pen and address labels). Every-other-Sunday I pay the bills that are due in that two week period. They are paid, stamped, addressed and immediately put into the mailbox for Monday's mail collection. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes and it's done. No late bills!

When I pay a bill, I write ON the receipt the date and the check #. All payment stubs are put into a drawer in the den. I hate to file, so that gets done once a month. I wish I was better about it, but I really hate it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We still pay most by check.

I put my bills in the same, exact place when they come in the mail.
Twice a month I pay the bills.

You're not incompetent b/c you paid a few bills late! LOL
You just have a life.
Happens all the time.
My philosophy is kind of "you get paid when I get paid!" LOL
Drives my husband CRAZY. He pays "his" bills immediately--like the day they arrive!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

All but one of my bills is paid automatically, so I never need to worry about any of them. My husband's check is direct deposited, and the bills are paid when they're due.

It's wonderful, and I never have to worry again about late payments. Everything (almost) can be set up for automatic payment. Then you don't even have to get online to do it. The one bill I have that isn't automatic, I have to get on their website every month and set it up to come out of my checking account.

Go automatic, baby! You'll never go back! : )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

I have had the same problem. When the bill comes in I write the date it is due on the front of the envelope. We have a corkboard with a big binder clip stuck on it. All bills go into the clip immediately in the order they are due. I check it weekly and write the checks as they come. Not a perfect system, but it mostly works for me.



answers from Cincinnati on

I hear ya! any more thats me. I forgot to pay the water bill and they don't play here. You get a warning to pay that bill in 7 days or they will shut your water off. I also forgot to pay the electric bill once. I was wondering why I had so much money in my checking acct. Luckily they didn't charge me a late fee. I pay bills on every pay check so utility bills come out on one and the credit card if I have enough money. My car payment is the only one that comes out on a paycheck by itself. My credit card usually comes out on the same one as the car. Most of my bills are setup through my bank where I can go in and tell it when to send the payment. the only bill I go to a separate site for is the credit card. I also owe debt collectors and the amt is small so I pay that out of both paychecks. I pay that through my bank also. I have nothing setup to automatically come out on the same date each month because of the paycheck situation.
Its all good. You will be fine.

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