Those Pesky Late Fees
Late fees are not only annoying, but they are a huge waste of money, money that could be going to your savings or investments. A typical late fee can easily be $35 and if you get just one a month, that is over a 400 dollar a year hit. Two a month and you are wasting a lot of money, that is over 800 dollars a year. Ouch. Put those late fees to an end by doing some or all of the tips below.
1. Pay Your Bill Immediately
If you are like most people, you get the bill and then just throw it on the pile. For some people, this works because they still remember to check the pile and pay their bill before it becomes late. This might not be working for you. Instead, as soon as you get that bill, pay it. A simple concept but not one that is always easy to implement.
Make it easier for yourself by leaving a checkbook, pen and stamps out by the bill pile. If you have to go searching for these things, you will probably put off paying the bill. Even better is to sign up for online bill pay with these services. Then you are just a click away from getting it paid.
2. Set Up Reminders
Many companies will offer payment reminders by email and/or text. Take advantage of all of these, the more reminders the better. Sure, they can be a bit annoying but they are better than paying 800 dollars a year in late fees.
3. Use Automatic Bill Pay
An equally annoying service but one that might make your life easier. If nothing else, you can use it as a backup. Just make sure that you have money in your account at all times or that your checking is linked to a backup savings account.
Automatic payment works great for bills like electricity and other utilities. If the bill is for something that carries interest, just use it as a backup. Why? Because if the bill is due to be paid on the 10th, the auto pay would pay it on that date. If you have the money to pay it on the 1st, when the bill was issued, you could have paid it then and saved 9 days of interest.
4. Use Your Banks Bill Pay
Your bank probably offers online bill pay, most do. This is a free service that you can use to issue checks and set up recurring monthly payments. Once you get your bills entered into the system, it is much easier than writing paper checks.
5. Move Due Dates
Sometimes a bill just comes at an odd time that does not work with your bill paying schedule. If so, call the company and ask them to move the due date. Many creditors advertise this service but many more will also do it. they just don’t advertise this fact. It may be best to have all of your bills due at the beginning of the month or it might suit you better to break them up into a first half and second half split. Do whatever makes it easy.
6. Let Your Spouse Pay Them
If you are married and have been married for some time, you know which of you is better organized. Hand off the bill paying to the one that will get the job done and eliminate those late fees for good.
This is made easier by having both individual accounts and a single joint account. You can both deposit a portion of your pay into the joint count and then the responsible party can get the bills paid.
7. Ask For Fees To Be Removed
If all of this has failed and you get a late fee, all hope is not lost. Before you pay it, call the lender or company involved and ask them to waive the fee. If being late is a rarity for you, they will in all likelihood remove the late fee.
Be nice at first but if push comes to shove, be courteous but assertive.
8. Consolidate Debt
If you have a dozen credit accounts, it can be cumbersome making all of those payments. The thought of making all of those payments is so unappealing that you will probably put it off for as long as possible.
Make it easier on yourself by consolidating all of those bills into one single monthly installment loan payment. Your life gets easier and you might even save some money in the process. With the average credit card having a 17% interest rate, even with fair credit, you should be able to beat that rate on a consolidation loan.