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I've always avoided auto pay, but I suppose I should reconsider.

I have as many things as possible on either auto-pay to the credit card, or thru online banking.

Unfortunately, there are no automatic options for the local property taxes. But I have them as a payee with my bank's bill pay. I can pre-set payments for future dates. I do wish they had a recurring payment option. I will set it to the most recent year's payment.

If the mill rate goes up, at least I have only underpaid by a few dollars. They charge 1.5%/MO on unpaid balances. In any case, I'll pre-set the next payment. Installments are 2x/yr. When the mill rate is set (budget votes are in May, sometimes run to June with re-votes), the exact amount can change. But if I forget to pay, at least most of it is paid and any interest hit would be only a couple of bucks at most.

The property taxes are my most annoying bill because the summer installment is due when I am in Portugal and the budget often goes thru several votes. I never know the exact amount when I leave. Thankfully, the assessor has finally done an online database and I can look up the bill when I'm on the road so I can update my bill pay to the correct amount.

The credit cards are set to auto-pay automatically at least the minimum due, in case something out-of-ordinary prevents me from having online access to pay in full. We use points credit cards. I go online weekly to make payments of current balance. The Home Depot with its 0% promo is set to auto-pay its installments.

The insurance company offers monthly auto-pay installments from the checking for $1/mo. Worth it for us. Annual in full is free. As we have all our insurance with the same company (house, car, liability, condos, etc), I like the even cash flow of monthly instead of one honkin' big bill for all that comes due during the slow season in the winter.

Your utility provider may also offer the option of even monthly bills. They average your usage. In the 12th month, they adjust up or down according to what you actually used. Coupled with auto-payments from the checking account, it makes for easy bill pay and smoother cash flow.

My online banking has alerts for payments over X size. So I get an email alert whenever any of my automatic payments are going out. If for any odd reason there wouldn't be enough there (I always keep a cushion), I can transfer funds in from the savings.

Laura
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