Paying your bills each month is usually not a fun experience. But what if I told you there’s a way to turn your least favorite money management chore into something you actually enjoy?
The following strategies below offer extra incentives for paying your bills while making your money work for you as much as possible. Here are seven ways you can improve your approach to bill pay so can actually save you money in the long-run.
1. Sign-up for automatic bill pay
Most bill providers allow customers to enroll in automatic payments to ensure bills are paid on time. Not only does having your payments automatically deducted from your checking account or credit card save you time, but it can also save you money.
For example, Chase offers their customers an additional reduced interest rate of 0.5 percent on auto loan payments when enrolled in automatic payments from their Chase checking account. That small percent of savings can really add up over the lifetime of a three- or four-year car loan.
2. Use bill payment reminders
As our schedules become busier, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember important dates on our own. This is when bill payment reminders can come in very handy.
Bill payment reminders will alert you via email or text message within a few days of your bill’s due date.
By signing up for these free alerts, you can avoid late fees and charges for past due payments. This also helps improve your credit score by not showing any late accounts on your report.
3. Pay your bills more frequently
If you want to really reduce your debt load quickly, and save money on interest at the same time, consider paying your bills more frequently.
You can split your monthly payments in half, or pay them at the end of every week. The goal is to match up the bill payments to your paycheck schedule.
The only thing to watch out for is any fees that may be associated with paying your bills more often. Some banks will penalize customers for following this strategy as a way of simplifying their accounting process.
Make sure you check the terms and conditions attached to you bill pay accounts first, then proceed accordingly.
4. Check out online bill pay
Most banks and businesses are going digital these days. In fact, many financial institutions offer free online bill pay to their customers.
Here are some of the main benefits for using online bill pay to pay your monthly bills.
- Your payment history is in one secure location.
- You build a positive credit history.
- It’s more secure than writing a paper check.
- You save time, and it’s more convenient.
- It’s usually a completely free feature.
- You save money on checks, envelopes, and stamps.
All of this wrapped up together helps eliminate headaches often attached to the bill payment process. Not to mention gives you back some time and money, too.
5. Negotiate for better prices
A year after moving across the country to our new home in Denver, Colorado my husband and I noticed that the promotional plan on our internet bill expired.
This meant we would have to start paying a rate of $103 instead of $72 per month. That’s a $31 per month increase for the exact same service.
To avoid this price hike, we called up customer service and asked that the promotion be extended since we had been such good customers and planned on using their service. They agreed and renewed our internet plan at $72 per month for another year. Score!
When it comes to bill companies, they would rather offer you a lower bill than lose you as a customer, so don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better rate.
6. Consider pre-paying your bills
Sometimes it’s hard to budget water or electricity bills because they depend on utility usage, which can vary each month.
However, depending on the seasons of the year, you may be able to figure out how to pre-pay these bills.
To find the correct amount you can pre-pay, take the average of a specific bill, look at the past year’s statements and divide the amount by 12 months. This will ensure you don’t underpay your bill and have to pay a late fee.
With this strategy, you can build up a short-term cushion in case you have a lean month. Or, potentially getting a yearly discount from the utility company thanks to prepayment. Check with your utility provider to see if this strategy is worth implementing!
7. Earn cash back rewards
While earning cash back rewards may not save you money, it can help you get the most out of your bill paying process. Log into each one of your online bill accounts and update the payment method from your bank account to a credit card that offers cash back rewards.
Depending on your credit card reward terms you may earn an additional one to two percent cash back on each bill you pay. Then at the end of every month, you only have to make one payment to your credit card account to cover that month’s bills.
What’s more, you’re earning rewards on bills you would be paying anyway, so there’s little risk of going into debt.
Paying bills on time will make your life a lot easier
The most important strategy to saving money while paying your bills is not to skip or miss payment deadlines.
There are many reasons that can derail us from paying bills on time, from lack or organization to misplacing bills as they come in the mail. However, it’s important to create systems that help you stay organized and remind you to make payments on time, every time.
By paying bills on time, you’ll be able to avoid late fees, higher interest rates, and negative effects on your credit report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.46% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.44%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.05% – 6.47%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|