Closed September 2017

Top Ten Tips for Paying Your Bills Efficiently

Pastduebills It's National Pay Your Bills Week (3rd week in February). I think this means we get to eat cupcakes while we are writing checks this week.  🙂

Given the current economic climate, this subject is more important than ever! You really want to get this process down to avoid late fees and other unnecessary expenses related to disorganization. Here are my top ten tips, edited down from our article on Managing Your Personal Finances, available in our member area for our Clutter Diet® online organizing program.(We have hundreds of searchable articles in our member area, along with hours of multimedia tutorials and audio content!)

  • Have a designated home for bill-paying supplies like checks, deposit slips, letter openers, pens, payment coupon booklets, postage stamps, envelopes, return address labels, a calculator, and a stapler.
  • Decide on certain days to pay the bills, then stick to your plan consistently. You might choose the 1st & 15th, 10th & 25th, every week, or every other week on a certain day. I pay my bills every Tuesday, and it gives me great peace of mind. (Members can use our Clutter Diet customized e-mail reminder system to help them remember.)
  • Keep all bills together in one place as they arrive. You can use a tray or vertical sorter to keep them visible and ready, or even a clothespin.
  • Automate as much as possible, directly with your vendors. You can set up payments with most vendors to pay automatically either by credit card or automatic draft.
  • Don't hand-write checks and mail them out if you don't have to! Use your bank's online billpay features for vendors who don't have automated payment options (or if you just prefer having more control). You can set up recurring payments that you never have to worry about again, like the mortgage payment, the orthodontist, or anything.
  • Simplify your number of bills by consolidating down to only 1-2 major credit cards instead of multiple department store and gasoline cards.
  • Pre-inked rubber stamps are fantastic. Get one made for endorsing checks for deposit with your name, "For Deposit Only" and your bank information on it. Also get a PAID stamp with rotating date wheels so you can breeze through notations on your bills quickly.
  • Our favorite way to file paid household bills and bank statements is by month. You can buy a brown accordion file in the office supply store marked January-December. Just put everything for each month in there, tie it up with a big bow at the end of the year and start over. You can keep these in archived storage for the 7-year period that is normally recommended (check with your accountant or attorney for retention advice specific to your situation).
  • Go paperless. Most major institutions would now prefer to send paperless bills, and it means less paper clutter for you to handle and file. Look on the envelope flap of your bill’s return envelope or in the text of the bill itself to find out how your statements can be electronically received. (Make sure you have a good backup system on your hard drive!)
  • Get complete freedom from all bills. If you travel often, or if you are paying bills for an elderly relative, or if you just don't like dealing with bills at all, you might like They are now owned by Intuit, and have been around for at least ten years. We started using Paytrust when we went on a sabbatical in 2000. They assist you in changing all of your bills' addresses to their clearinghouse, where they receive them and scan all the bills in color. They notify you via e-mail that the bill has arrived and tell you what is going to happen next. You set up payment rules for each payee to automatically pay when the bill is received. You can set up rules like, "Pay this bill automatically within (x) days of receipt, as long as it's under (x) dollars." You can also use multiple bank accounts. Paytrust charges $12.95 per month.

So go eat those cupcakes and get those bills paid this week! Let me know how you're doing and share your favorite bill-paying tips in the comments.

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Some great tips, never heard of before, and I like the idea of bundling up statements on a monthly basis


I use Quicken software & upadte it at least every weekend. There are reminders in the program so when I open an account it will tell me which recurring bills, deposits, etc. are due within the timeframe I’ve set up. I prefer to write checks and mail them and prefer paper bills. With electronic bills I just end up printing them out myself anyway. I also use a desk organizer with dated slots and as I receive bills file them by their due date.


I pay bills every Friday because it is payday.(weekly for my husband, biweekly for me) I have been doing this for about 10 years and it works for me. I also use this time to balace my checkbook so always know how much money I have before paying bills and how much I have to spend over the weekend.


I keep a yahoo calendar which allows you to make overlays. I have an overlay labeled Bills, and record the due dates. I can have the calendar send me e-mail and text reminders for each entry.


I use a homemade Excel spreadsheet for my bills. The columns are: date due, name of company, amount of the bill, amount paid, date paid. As the bills come in, I put them on the spreadsheet. I mark in the spaces when I pay them. I keep my spreadsheet on my desktop and also on a flash drive that I keep with me at all times. Every month, I copy the spreadsheet, make it work for the next month, and rename it for that month. I put the old one in a folder where I keep all of them.

Craig Jarrow

Lorie, great stuff!
I am a big believer that everyone should use an online billpay service. Most banks have them. (Mine provides it free) And there are other options if your bank does not. I have not “mailed” a bill in a few years. 🙂
Quicken and (also now owned by Quicken) are great ways to keep track of your bill schedule.
Keeping on top of your bills reduces stress and life friction. And not to mention saves you money in late fees, etc.
Thanks for the tips,


Another vote for online banking – you can pay your bills whenever you feel like it.
Also, I try to turn my bills to electronic as much as possible, so that they are in some cases redirected automatically to my online bank.
Then of course, to reduce the amount of bills is to look critically towards all the magazine subscriptions (and other subscriptions) as well. If you don’t need them, unsubscribe them and reduce the number of bills.


In my “favorites” I have made a folder titled “Bills To Pay” and have added each website to that folder. This is especially helpful when the name of the website is hard to remember. It seems to make bill paying much faster.

Isobel Williams

I follow the “take a piece of paper in your hand one time only”-principle. That means, when a bill comes in, I do the necessary paperwork, then file the bill. It’s paid, it’s gone, I can forget it.
BTW, Lorie, I’ve used lots of your ideas to keep my home and my office running efficiently. Keep up the good work!


That is a good system, Isobel. Thank you so much for the kind words! So happy that you have been able to keep up your efficiency.


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