Personal Finance

How do you manage ever-changing-date bills?

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  • May 23rd, 2015 8:18 am
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Deal Fanatic
Jul 30, 2003
6272 posts
1006 upvotes
Toronto

How do you manage ever-changing-date bills?

Just wondering how do you guys manage your bills?

Background: Back in the day (2+ years ago) I used to get statement in the mail and I know I have to pay it. I will put it on my desk and once its been 2 week or I have 3-4 bills , I will sit down pay them, file them, etc.

Now - most of them are electronic. Some notify me by emails, some don't. Some are fixed date, others are not. On top of that, they all give different # of days before interest will start charging.

- I have 2-3 credit cards (1 for gas. 1 for general. 1 for special purchases)
- Enbridge
- Enersource
- Taxes
- Phone bill
- ...


Just wondering what "system" do you guys used to keep track and make it work so we can pay everything on time?
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32 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 9, 2010
2610 posts
2364 upvotes
I mark it as unread and put it all into one folder just for bills on gmail. Works for me.
Sr. Member
Mar 25, 2005
650 posts
69 upvotes
Bowmanville
Got a spreadsheet going - tracks the bill date and amount. I review every day.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2008
3137 posts
178 upvotes
All of my bills are directly billed to my credit card or direct debited. I review monthly for errors, but never have to worry about missing a payment.
Do your mortgage math correctly!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 31, 2009
1202 posts
829 upvotes
I purposely keep all my bills as paper billing. Tack the bills to a tack board as I get them, bills at the top of my tack board are due sooner, as they get paid they move up the tack board until they're due so that I can pay everything just before it's due to maximize my grace period on my credit card bills.

Whenever I have had a bill that was online electronic only, I've just printed the bill as soon as I got the email and then tacked my printed bill to my tack board like everything else. So electronic billing doesn't save paper at all, it just means I print it instead of the vendor printing it.
Sr. Member
Feb 8, 2015
622 posts
690 upvotes
Kanata
Keep a float of 1.5x average monthly bills.

Pick a day which most of not all bills are due that day and can be paid off that day

Pay it all off on that day.


So for me:

1. Keep at least $2500 in chequing account.

2.
MBNA A delivered on 1st, due 22nd ($600)

AMEX B deliver on 5th, due next month 5th ($700)

Enbridge deliver on 10th, due 28th ($120)

Internet delivered on 15th, due next month 10th ($86)


3. Your window of opportunity is the 15th of the month to 22nd of the month. Pick a day that lies between those days and pay everything off.

4. Spend a good 20 minutes logging into various accounts and checking the bills. Once per month.

5. Put all of the leftover money into savings/investing.

6. Rinse and repeat.

Easy simple, and no hassle.
Sr. Member
Jan 14, 2010
686 posts
228 upvotes
Central Ontario
I use an old fashioned small calendar. I operate paycheque to paycheque... paying whatever needs to be paid before the next pay date. When a bill comes in (snail or email), I register the amount and due date in my calendar. I also use these to estimate the next year's set of bills as I usually use a cheapie dollar store 2 year calendar. So when I got May's Enbridge bill last week I wrote the amount on the May 27/15 due date, then tacked on an ~10% and wrote in on the May 27/16 due date as an estimate.
I guess the easiest way would be to just pay it when it arrives. I just have used my system for ~20 years and when we were less established I used to find it most helpful to plan for saving for big ticket items (I could estimate how much 'extra' money I would have in 4-5 months time just by adding up incomings and outgoings).
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2005
1069 posts
147 upvotes
Toronto, ON
tg82 wrote: Got a spreadsheet going - tracks the bill date and amount. I review every day.
Similar - most my bills are charged to credit card or chequing account automatically. The spreadsheet is used to confirm and validate (I don't always review every day, but no less than once every 3 days to keep an eye on upcoming payments).

I never get close to my limit on my cc and always keep my chequing account with at least 1k balance at any time.
Member
Mar 19, 2015
293 posts
58 upvotes
I've reduced my credit cards by 3 so far, down to 7.
All statements are electronic for those that offer it internally (PDF statement), and epost for the ones that don't.
All my other bills like Rogers, Fido, Bell, Hydro, Internet etc.. are all electronically delivered and viewable within the providers own website. As I get notification of a bill being issued, I write the biller, amount, due date, and my intended payment date in my log book that is always located beside my personal computer. Since this is where I spend most of my time outside of work, and also how I pay my bills, there is a very slim chance of me ever missing a bill. When I pay a particular bill, I simply cross it off my list.
Been doing it this way for years, and it works for me. Never ever had a single missed or late payment in my life.
The ones that come once a year, like home insurance and property tax, I leave pinned up on my calendar above my computer desk as a reminder. Same thing with the water bill that comes every 3 months.
Deal Addict
May 14, 2010
1060 posts
107 upvotes
Halifax
My wife gets paid every 2 weeks on Thursday. I get paid 5 business days after the 1st and 15th of the month so our pay dates are a hot mess. Some months we get paid a week apart and others the same day.

We put everything we could on auto pay with a CC and have an excel sheet that has all our bills and paydays that I use to make sure I dont forget anything.

Setting up a separate account just for withdrawals like cheques and car payment was the BEST thing we ever did. on payday I transfer the right amount into the separate account and done.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 18, 2008
985 posts
95 upvotes
I put all my bill due dates into my cellphone calendar (recurring monthly). Bills just pile up on my desk till the I get notification on my cell and pay that bill.
Sr. Member
May 22, 2004
695 posts
395 upvotes
Montreal
I charge everything I can to credit cards, and then I pay the balance on all my cards, every two weeks when I get paid.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Apr 5, 2009
948 posts
336 upvotes
Toronto
1. Anything that can be automated on a credit card, goes right on it (cell phone, internet).
2. Anything that has to be paid manually, I schedule a post-dated transaction in online banking as soon as the bill arrives, for a few days ahead of due date. If there won't be enough money in the chequing account at that time, I schedule another transaction to transfer that amount from savings on the same date as bill payment.
3. For really odd bills (like something annual, taxes, tuition), I set a reminder in a calendar app.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
7747 posts
2737 upvotes
ON
When a bill comes in, I look at the due date and program in a scheduled payment in online banking for the payday before that due date.
Repeat when the next bill comes in. Simple, and never forget a bill or pay it late.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 11, 2004
10801 posts
3345 upvotes
Montreal, QC
sslinn wrote: All of my bills are directly billed to my credit card or direct debited. I review monthly for errors, but never have to worry about missing a payment.
+1

That and programming bill payment for everything else, I put a reminder in my calendar as well to remind me money would be going out that day
Banned
User avatar
Nov 1, 2014
4317 posts
561 upvotes
Toronto, ON
put on cc, and pay cc or bills that can't be put on cc with online banking and payment day

but in practice..i like to pay everything as soon as I get them..don't like setting future payment date..i like my balance to be my real balance free of encumbrances
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 5, 2004
26899 posts
6131 upvotes
sslinn wrote: All of my bills are directly billed to my credit card or direct debited. I review monthly for errors, but never have to worry about missing a payment.
This. All my bills with the exception of Hydro One come off my CC automatically. As soon as I get a bill in the mail from Hydro One, I pay it immediately through online banking but set it so the payment doesn't come out until the due date. I check my CC's activity almost every day, so as soon as I see that the bill is due, I once again setup a bill payment through online banking for whatever is owing that month.

It's easy and really doesn't require any form of organization
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
38211 posts
24391 upvotes
Center of Universe
Don't procrastinate and pay the bill right away.
Moderator
May 28, 2012
12041 posts
4662 upvotes
Saskatoon
I pay all my bills a few days before the end of each month...the MC and Visa are due around that time and I pay the utilities as well, even though they aren't due for another week or two. Only my cable and newspaper are on automatic payments...I've heard some horror stories about erroneous utility bills so want to avoid putting those on automatic payments.
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
2045 posts
1093 upvotes
Alberta
Mars2012 wrote: .I've heard some horror stories about erroneous utility bills so want to avoid putting those on automatic payments.
I like the way Telus deals with this situation. My telus bill is usually $140 per month, and it allows you to set an automatic payment limit. I set mine at $150. Anytime the bill goes over $150 if they screwed up on something, I am out $10 bucks and have to call it in for them to fix the problem, vs being out the full amount and trying to get the money back. Works well the one time I was in that situation.

As for ebills, i just flag them in my email and they sit at the top. I see them every bloody day sitting there reminding me, so I have it pretty well organized in my head when what is due. Most bills I pay with a single paycheque, and if i know i got another paycheque coming before the deadline, I just remember to pay the bills as soon as my pay comes in. So the flags in email and pay periods are my reminders when to get things done and when to pay whatever is due. But like many others, 90% of my stuff is billed to CC directly, and now thanks to the Canadian Tire credit card my Enmax bill and stuff are also paid that way. I have 0 withdrawals from my chequeing account so whatever is in there is to pay the bills.

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