When it comes to managing your money, it can feel like a fine art of balancing what’s coming in and what’s going out. You may only get paid once or twice a month, but those bills don’t stop! It can seem hard to get ahead or feel like you have enough money month to month.
But there’s one hack that can help you master your cash flow and make a big difference in your personal finances. What is it? It’s simple: Change the due date on your bills.
Why changing your due date helps your cash flow
You may be thinking, “Changing my due date can help my finances?” You bet it can.
Many businesses, including credit card issuers, student loan servicers, and utility companies, may allow you to change your due date. Every company is different and some may not offer this privilege, but many do.
Changing your due date can help improve your cash flow because you can pay at a time that works best for you financially. If, for example, all of your bills are due on the first of the month, you may be feeling stretched thin until your next paycheck.
But if you change your due dates, you could have more cash on hand and make your payments more manageable. It’s key to be strategic with your due date so that you’ll have funds to easily pay your bills.
“If you get paid twice a month or four times a month, you can set your credit card due date to align with your check in the middle of the month,” says Stephen Lesavich, author of The Plastic Effect: How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards.
“Such an alignment will help you avoid late and penalty fees because you get in the mindset that the second check each month is for paying off credit card bills,” he says.
Changing your due date not only helps you avoid late and penalty fees, but it can also ensure there is enough money in your account and help you avoid overdraft or insufficient fund fees.
When I was paying off debt, I switched my student loan payment date to the 12th of the month. I now have my credit card bills due on the same date. Why? Because I get paid once a month and my income typically hits my account in the first 10 days of the month.
Getting paid once a month already makes cash flow a little more difficult, so it makes sense to change my due dates to a time when I know funds will be in my account. That way I don’t have to stress over paying my bills and can sleep well knowing I have the cash on hand to make payments.
Another way to streamline and master your cash flow is to choose one due date for many of your bills — preferably a few days after you get paid, so you’ll have money in your account. This way, you’ll know that specific date each month is for bill paying and can streamline your payments.
How to change your student loan payment date and more
If you’re looking to change your student loan payment date, credit card bill due date, and more, the first thing you need to do is contact your servicer to see if the option is available. If it is, you can change the due date online or over the phone.
“If you request a change of due date, ask for confirmation in writing so you will not be charged any late or penalty fees,” says Lesavich.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you know when your due date change takes effect. Will it change immediately or after several billing cycles?
Lastly, put that date in your calendar and set it as a recurring reminder. You may also consider setting up text or email alerts as well to help you stay on track.
The bottom line
Changing your student loan payment date, credit card due date, and other bills to something that makes sense for you financially can help improve your cash flow and your overall finances. It makes budgeting easier and helps avoid any late fees or insufficient fund fees.
The good news is that changing your due date doesn’t cost any money, nor does it hurt your credit score. What have you got to lose? This one simple hack can help you budget, free up some money, and help you master your cash flow.
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