A Life Without Debt: Simple Bill Paying

I went to visit a neighbor the other day and arrived as she was just beginning to pay her bills. It looked like quite a project, with all the papers spread and stacked on the kitchen table so I asked if I should come back later. She said no and invited me in to chat while she went through her bill paying routine. Now, I know that this neighbor has quite a bit of debt because she complains about it when we go for walks. But I never imagined how much it complicated her life until I witnessed this bill paying exercise.

While we talked she sorted everything into piles. She explained that one pile was the bills to pay now, one to pay later when more money came in, and one to completely ignore fo

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10 Responses to A Life Without Debt: Simple Bill Paying

  1. Shane says:

    Great post – thanks for sharing…

  2. Shane says:

    oh… and time wins every time – the most limited of resources for us all..

  3. Monkey Mama says:

    That’s crazy!

    My system is more like ours. I counted and looks like 100 bills a year for us.

    Since I am so financially organized people often tell me they don’t want to spend so much time on their finances. Which makes me laugh since I really don’t spend much time on it – it’s automated and organized. I don’t need to set aside time in particular to pay my bills – it’s all done online with the push of a button.

    I don’t automatically draft much because it forces me to review bills as they come (and find mistakes, etc.). Though all of our savings is automatically drafted, monthly.

  4. Diane says:

    This led me to review my bill paying spreadsheet, which I maintain in Excel. I have a section for the 1st & one for the 15th, because I pay bills twice each month.

    I have a total of 7 definite monthly bills – mortgage, water, phone, cable/internet, auto insurance & electric plus 1 credit card that is used to auto-pay alarm & newspaper. I have 4 other credit cards, 1 usually used monthly & paid off and 2 for specialty items at 0% interest (Home Depot & Best Buy).

    Homeowner’s & Flood Insurance & property tax are paid annually by my mortgage company.

    At most I pay 11 bills per month, including credit cards. All are paid online except the water bill, which charges a $2 fee to pay online, so I pay by check.

    It takes me less than 1 hour per month to pay bills in 2 sessions online, & mail the 1 check.

    Since I have everything recorded in my spreadsheet, I never miss a bill and never pay anything late. I’m very happy with this system.

  5. Jackie says:

    I always thought that just the prospect of huge debt would be overwhelming, but I can see how it’s even more debilitating if you have to face so many individual bills. Even when I had my own credit card debt, it was only the same two cards I’d always had, so no additional bills.

    Currently, I pay 6 bills monthly and then insurance at the half (auto) and whole year (renters). So about 75 bills a year. I probably spend about 1/2 hour a month paying bills and only that long since I have to reconcile my credit card bills with my check register. The only bills that are automatically deducted from my account are my loans (student & car). I’ve had to fight before to get other itemized bills corrected, so I never like giving companies money before I have the chance to review the bill.

    Anyway, wow. I hope your neighbor starts really making strides in getting their finances in order. Just the thought of 30+ monthly bills makes my stomach hurt.

  6. M says:

    Great post. No wonder some people stress so much and talk about needing to sit down and “pay bills.” We have been on a spending plan since 2002 when we learned about Dave Ramsey. We have gladly watched the categories decrease and it takes a lot less time to plan our spending.

    Does your neighbor know your passion for personal finance? Just curious…

    M

  7. minny says:

    Is all the extra ‘stuff’ worth the aggravation – I don’t think so!

    KISS – keep it simple sweetheart

  8. Gail says:

    And here I was excited because I have now gotten to the point of paying another bill on line. It runs about $5 a year now just for stamps for One monthly bill! She has got to be spending a fortune on stamps even with paying some bills on line. I can’t imagine sitting down to that many bills every month/week!

  9. Pingback: A Life Without Debt: Simple Credit Reports - SavingAdvice.com Blog

  10. AnnieinKC says:

    So why don’t you pay your utility bills annually? Why pay gas, lights, phone, cable etc on a MONTHLY basis? I do. That way, I only have to look at the bill once every 6-12 months.

    It’s not like you don’t know how much you pay on them annully. If you don’t know, you can call and get your annual bill for last year.

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