8 Reasons Why You Need to Read Your Bills Every Month

The mail comes, you glance at your bills and drop them in the “To Be Paid” pile. Then, on the appointed day, you write out the checks or direct the online bill pay to do its thing and then you forget about it until next month. In the process of paying your bills, do you really read them? Do you look at all the inserts and read the line by line breakdown of what you owe? Do you look for anything that seems odd? If you just pay your bills on auto-pilot without reading them thoroughly, you may be wasting money that you don’t have to waste. What should you look for? Here’s a list.

Fraudulent charges: Any charge you didn’t authorize has the potential to be fraudulen

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10 Responses to 8 Reasons Why You Need to Read Your Bills Every Month

  1. Lil says:

    I definitely second the “read your bills” advise. I ordered something and later cancelled it within the allotted 30 days, but there were 3 other “added memberships” they stacked which you had to cancel individually – each for 10-15 apiece .. it took me three months to catch them all, and ofcourse they would NOT refund them, so buyer beware – any “free trial” will end up costing you more than the item would have been at full price if you snooze on the details. Another situation was where some salesclerk fatfingered an amount and a 47.12 purchase turned into 471.12 on my bill … and it took 3 months, digging around for old receipts, and fighting over limit fees (since that purchase put me over my card limit – because they LOWERED it as a result of that charge .. WTF?!? it took months to sort it out and the limit is still lowered and I am now stuck with a nasty APR to boot … be careful … its a lot harder to pay once the mistakes pile up!

  2. I agree that you should “read your bills” because I have found so many errors on my bills over the years. Nice post.

  3. sewingirl says:

    Be persistent. I switched OUT of paperless billing for my cell phone account, because the complete bill was so hard to download! I called the company 3 times and had them read me the bill, because their tech support couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t load. They didn’t even argue when I requested going back to a bill in the mail.

  4. Gail says:

    Supposedly sometime in June or July I got notices that my credit card bill minimum payments were going up. I don’t remember seeing them, and as I have been paying more than the minimum, my bills have steadily been going down and I’ve been feeling good about them, so when the second bill came 2 and half times higher than what it had been the prvious month, I called to find out what was going on. Okay fine, they are in charge and it is their bill. If they want to charge more that is their business but tough on us with limited incomes. BUT what made me mad was their saying this was to help me out so I could pay my bill faster! Help me out nothing. I was already paying as much as I could.

    Then opened my garbage bill and found that there is a new $3 charge for having a paper bill which is apparently the latest scam with companies to get more money. And yet again they tried to make it sound like this was all done to help us out so we wouldn’t have so much paper around the house, blah, blah, blah! The only way to avoid the charge is sign up for automatic payments out of our checking account which I try to avoid like the plague. I don’t like businesses coming in and scooping money out of my account until I know for sure it is deposited. They will even charge the fee if we have it paid with a credit card or a one time transfer from the bank. It has to be completely atuomatic. This is the same garbage company that never picked up my garbage a couple of weeks ago.

    This has been a rough couple of weeks for me physically and then to run into this stuff, makes me want to scream, so your topic was right on. Thank you for letting me vent!

  5. wandaa says:

    Great article and advice. Thanks

  6. Bernadette says:

    I totally agree. I certainly pay attention to my bills each month. In the last three months I caught both Comcast & Sprint overcharging me.

  7. You mentioned cutting the FAT out of the monthly credit card bills each month, and you’re right. Some people are weighted down by recurring small charges for needless stuff they agreed to years ago, that they don’t use. By the time they realize they paid for something extra such as AOL fees of 15.95 a month for the last 36 months, they’ve already lost five hundred bucks.

    Thank You, Jennifer!

    John DeFlumeri Jr.

  8. Gail says:

    When my hubby and I got married and I got used to what his credit card bills were, I asked what a particular charge was for. He didn’t know so he got on the phone to find out. Turned out to be a recurring charge of around $40 for a service he thought he had cancelled more than a year prior! Because he hated paying the bills, he let them go as long as possible and didn’t inspect them. Between me paying the bills on time (he had been prone to late charges also) and getting charges like that dropped we ‘saved’ a lot of money putting me in charge. It wasn’t that he was incapable of paying the bills, I just did a better and more thorough job even though I’m sick and occassionally miss things like notices of minimum payments going up (that I can’t do anything about anyhow).

    I’m very systematic in how I pay bills and have a notebook with a page for each month of the year divided into weekly ‘paydays/bill pay days’. I have mortgage payments, automatic withdrawals, once a year payments, etc. noted in the correct month and week of the month. Although it doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, it sure helps prevent many and I know every month/year that a bill is going to turn up on a certain month and how much it should be. It holds down surprises such as oops car insurance is due and the frantic gathering of money. I know the bill is coming. Kind of like people panicking because it is December and now time for Christmas. In my lifetime (over half a century) Christmas has always shown up in December so I always wonder why no one is prepared for it (assuming you celebrate it in traditional ways). Granted this doesn’t mean we always have all the money ready to go for a particular bill (somethings are difficult when self employed/disabled) but it helps to know a big bill is coming when you get a sudden windfall.

    I think reading those bills and checking for errors and being systematic in paying them goes a long ways towards getting your financial life together.

  9. valletta says:

    Checking our auto-deducted water bills very carefully also pointed out to us that we had a severe water leak somewhere…..we were traveling for a few weeks and our bill actually went up! I called the water department and they came out and located the leak. Could have cost us $1000 or more in bills and thousands more in damage over the year and it was fixed for about $100.

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