No. of Recommendations: 5
tips on organizing your financial life...

I used to be terribly disorganized. I actually had my electricity cut off twice because I couldn't remember to pay the bills. I paid a lot of late fees in those days.

Franklin Planner was my saviour. I took a look at my bills and found they could be divided into 2 piles: those I could pay on the 15th and those I could pay on the 1st. I made a reminder page for myself listing all bills I would/could receive and the day of the month they should be paid. Each time I put another month's pages into the planner, I made a note on those "Pay Dates" to tell me what bills to pay. In the back of the planner I had a zip lock pouch containing stamps, return-address stickers, and extra envelopes. When I received bills, I would just put them in the front of the planner. Every day at work, I opened the planner on my desk and left it there. When a "Pay Date" arrived, I would pull the bills out of the front of the planner, write the checks, put stamps and a return-address stickers on the envelopes, and mail the payments. If I didn't have the bill (lost in the mail or by me), I would know to call the company and get the information to pay the bill on time. This saved me when I had a cable company that occasionally didn't send bills on time, but cut off service if they weren't paid on time.

After a few years of this, paying on time was a habit. Later, I discovered the joys of automatic payments: having the electric and telephone companies draft on my bank account. I still received the bills early enough, so I could call if the amounts were wrong--they never were.

Now I'm in the online banking phase of my financial life. My cell phone bill and toll road fees are billed directly to my credit card (so I can get the rewards!). I've set up my bank account to pay my car insurance and telephone bill upon receipt of online bill presentments. My bank automatically sends out a check for my health insurance at the end of each month. When I receive credit card bills, I access my account and schedule the payment then. To protect myself in case I forget, I've set up my account to automatically pay the minimum on credit card bills upon receipt of online bill presentment. I even schedule transfers from my savings account the day before payments, if necessary.

Hope this helps,

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