Lately, I have been spending a little more time thinking of ways I can save time. Ironic right? More than anything else that annoys me lately about the tediousness of paying bills is our medical bills. While we have paid several of them off already, I am still writing 15-20 checks a month.
I must admit, my entire adult life I have been against automating my finances. Weird things happen right? For example last year, we had a pretty good (for Arkansas) snow/ice storm in the area. We had no power in the office and truthfully no way to get there. We Southerners are total pansies when it comes to snow and ice storms. Well, of course that happened on a payday Friday when my house payment would come out and OF COURSE it was too late for the bank to stop the draft (even though I called 3-4 days ahead of time because the weather was scheduled to be wonky). In the typical run of luck I have, we bounced our account by a whopping $20.00 because the house payment came out anyway. GRRRR.
I also always feared financial automation because the due dates would move around, but our pay dates were always every other week. In other words, we had to meticulously budget to make sure we didn’t over spend. We also had to make sure we had savings, which we didn’t, just in case we needed the extra money.
We’ve been working hard on getting our finances in order this year, and my paydates have moved to the 15th and the 30th of the month. It’s REALLY weird for me. My entire working life, since I was 16, I have been paid every other week! It’s been odd trying to adjust to this new budget and it’s made my bi-weekly autodraft on the home…weird.
The tiny little light bulb in my head finally lit up and thought, well, you know when you get paid now, so SET IT UP! I was able to call my Home Mortgage company and they happily obliged to moving my pay dates around without making me behind on my payments (since technically I am ahead). Most of my other household bills I already pay online and once a month I can go onto their systems and tell it to pay the bill after my paycheck is deposited.
Finally, to the relief of my unhappy writing fingers, obsessive record keeping system and stash of envelopes and stamps, I will be able to have my bank mail out the checks for medical bills for me with NO ADDITIONAL FEES. While I know I will have to closely watch this process to make sure everyone receives a payment, it will be a lot faster, once it’s set up, to verify the bills were paid rather than verifying, paying, addressing those envelopes, record keeping, and remembering to mail them all!
Once it’s all in place a 3 hour monthly process should be reduced to 30-45 minutes in total! I just felt a ton of stress flutter away. I’m grinning! Oh, and the total number of checks I will have to write in the future: 3 per month.
Do you automate your finances? Why or why not? Tell me about it!by