Many banks are now offering free online bill pay. While it sounds like a hassle to set up (filling out paperwork at the bank, creating a user ID and password, familiarizing yourself with the software) it really will save you time, money and energy. Here’s how:
Say Goodbye to Stamps
Every time they raise the costs of stamps, I find a few more ways to avoid using Uncle Sam’s delivery service. When I can, I use e-mail, fax machines, and personal delivery to get my message from A to B. This is the same concept of online banking. By paying our bills online, rather than stamping a forty cent fee on every one, we save nearly $10 a month, or $120 a year. On top of that, we have also saved on late fees. When we paid our bills the archaic way, we were at the mercy of the mail man. That could take days. Paying our bills online means we can send them in as late as three days before they are due. And best of all, there is no licking envelopes!
Keep it Organized
The real reason I love online bill pay is because it helps keep me organized. Bills we consistently pay each month (mortgage, car payment, online payday loans etc. in California) are deducted from our bank account routinely, without lifting a finger. The system sends our mortgage company the exact amount it should, when it should, each month. Thus, we have never missed or been late on a payment. Word of caution: be careful with certain bills that fluctuate month to month–for example, water and electricity bills. These should not be put in the system as automatic, since the bill will vary each time.
If you are trying to keep an eye on your spending, try this: Print the monthly statement of your online bill pay. Highlight the expenses that went to something besides the necessities (like shopping sprees, expensive nights out, etc). Take a look at everything highlighted and see how you could cut back. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your spending. The initial set up might be somewhat of a hassle, but once the i