Running Late on Payments? Here’s How to Catch Up

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May 12, 2022
Cover for Running Late on Payments? Here’s How to Catch Up

How to avoid late bill payments?

We’ve come up with a list of tips to help you stop paying your bills late. Let’s take a look.

  1. Sign Up for Auto Pay- Most of your regularly recurring bills—utilities, mortgage, car loan, etc.—provide you with the option of having the amount you owe automatically deducted from a designated bank account. Make it easy by making it automatic.

  2. Use Financial Software With Automatic Bill-Paying Reminders-Both Microsoft Money and Quicken have features that can prompt you days or weeks in advance of your bill due dates.

  3. Consolidate Bills-Say you get your internet access, phone service, and cable TV from the same provider. Instead of paying three separate monthly bills, why not see if you can consolidate your billing to pay for all of the services you receive in one monthly statement? You’ll be less likely to miss a due date that way.

  4. Schedule Bill-Paying Time- Carve out time on your calendar to pay bills on a regular basis in the same way that you schedule a time for the gym or work meetings. By setting aside a regular time to pay your bills, you’ll create a habit that will make you much less likely to miss a due date.

  5. Create a Bill-Paying Location- Stuffing a bill into your purse or briefcase or throwing it on the kitchen counter when you come in from work are good ways to forget—and miss—the payment due date. Find a convenient place where you can keep and pay your bills.

  6. Organize Paper Bills-Your bills should be arranged according to the due date. Create a habit of noting the due date for a bill as soon as you open it (circling or highlighting it) and then put the date on your calendar. You may want a desk filing system where you can store bills according to due dates, so you have an immediate visual reminder of which bills need to be paid next.

  7. Learn Your Billing Cycle- Review several months’ worth of paid bill statements and list bills in the order that they are typically due. Most likely you’ll notice that your due dates are in one of two groups—ones due earlier in the month (e.g., the 5th) and those due later in the month (e.g., the 20th).

  8. Sign Up to Receive Bills or Bill Reminders Via Email- Use email to your advantage. Check to see if your creditors provide online bill payment reminder features, or go paperless and have your bills sent to you electronically via email.

  9. Use Your Phone to Pay- Many creditors allow account holders to pay their bills by phone, for free or a small fee. If you regularly pay bills late, consider paying by phone instead. It’s more than likely that the fee charged for phone payment service will be less than the late fee.

What to do if you can not pay your bills on time?

Cover the Basic Expenses Before Anything Else- If you have to choose which bills to pay, prioritize the ones that cover the basic needs of your family first. Necessity bills are the ones that keep the roof over your head, food on your table and the power running.
Call each company you owe and request a payment arrangement. If you pull a disappearing act, bill collectors have no choice but to assume you have no intention of paying. Explain your situation, so they're aware you're making every effort to pay bills.
Downsize and Sell Excess Stuff- If you're in a position to change your living situation to save money, do it. There's no shame in moving in with a relative. It's easier for you to get back on your feet when you don't have to worry about just playing catch up.
Take Out New Debt Sparingly- You should avoid robbing Peter to pay Paul, or in this case, using credit cards to pay other bills. However, in certain circumstances, taking out debt for bills is better than not paying at all. If you have good credit, you may qualify for a credit card that has an introductory special of 0 percent APR for the first six to 12 months.

Where can I get help with my bill payments?

Here are some resources that may be helpful to anyone struggling to pay their energy bills. Many energy companies offer their own assistance programs to customers, so be sure to contact your provider for information about any programs they may offer. Affordable Housing Resources and Help for Paying Bills-

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

  • 211

  • Dollar Energy Fund

  • Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE)

  • Emergency Rental Assistance programs from U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Counselors

  • U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Help for Renters

  • Medicare Extra Help

  • Medicare-Medicaid Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

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