If you’re learning to manage money on your own for the first time, it can be tough to ignore the temptation to go on a spending spree and instead, make sure your monthly bills are paid on time. Rent, electricity, your cell phone — it all tends to add up fast.

Sure, responsibility’s a drag sometimes, but getting into the habit of paying your bills by their due dates can pay off big-time later on. So, before you throw caution to the wind and spend an entire paycheck on the fun stuff, here’s why it’s important to plan ahead and make sure your monthly bills are paid — on time — plus, some useful tips for establishing good habits so you never miss a payment.

The Benefits of Paying Monthly Bills On Time

Does it really matter if you pay your bills late? Short answer: You bet it does. While it can be tempting to blow your cell phone payment on dinner at that new eclectic tapas place that opened down the street, it turns out there are some solid reasons why paying your bills on time is even better than tapas. For starters, this healthy habit can benefit you and your financial future. Paying those monthly bills when they’re due not only increases your peace of mind, it also saves you money. Here are the top four benefits of paying bills on time:

1. Keeping track of bills lowers your stress

Life is crazy. In fact, it’s easy to forget when your bills are due, until you get slapped with a late notice, and probably a hefty fee to go with it. Having to pay extra fees on top of what you already owe is stressful, especially if you’re a repeat offender who’s chronically late paying your bills. The best way to avoid this additional financial stress? Get in the habit of paying your bills on or before their due dates (see our tips to help you do that below).

2. Managing your bills saves you money

Yes, there are about a zillion other, more exciting things you’d rather spend your money on than your monthly bills — movies, clothes, a round of drinks. While spending your money on that stuff delivers instant gratification and makes you feel good in the moment, the spending hangover just isn’t worth it.

By making sure you have the money in the bank to pay your bills, and paying on time, you avoid unnecessary late fees and interest. And actually, not paying these fees means you may have money left over to do the things you truly enjoy. Now that’s something you can feel good about.

3. Paid bills keeps your lights and phone on

There’s nothing worse than living in the dark, or not having your cell phone so you can get the latest texts on the drama unfolding between your friends Sally and Jack. But if you don’t pay your bills on time, or at all, that’s exactly what’ll happen. The electric company and the phone company won’t think twice about shutting off your services, and it’s often a hassle to get current on your payments so you can have them turned back on. The last thing you want is to be on hold for hours with your electric company or cell phone carrier. Life is hectic enough without the additional stress of playing catch-up after forgetting to pay bills.

4. Timely payment of bills helps your credit score

Here’s the best part: Getting into the habit of paying your monthly bills on time can help you in the future, too. More specifically, learning to manage your money and how to pay bills on time now will have benefits down the road when it comes to using credit cards responsibly, whether you have a card already, or plan to get one in the future. Late payments on credit card bills can add up to big annoyances, including late fees and interest charges. They can also negatively impact your credit score. So staying on top of paying bills now can help you avoid credit issues later on.

How to Pay Bills On Time

Here are some tips you can start using right away to help you remember to pay bills on time:

1. Automatic payments

You can set up automatic payments using your bank’s bill pay feature or on the service provider’s website. Your cell phone carrier and electric company, for example, may offer an option for you to pay automatically each month. Setting up payments in advance ensures that your bills are always paid on time.

Depending on the provider, you might also be able to pay your bill with a credit card, automatically, which means that you would only need to remember to pay off your credit card balance each month. No more juggling payments to different providers — yet another great way to simplify paying bills on time.

2. Create alerts to keep track of bills and payments

Depending on your preference, you can set different types of alerts to remind you to pay your monthly bills. You can create alarms or reminders on your phone, keep notes in your online calendar, or even write reminders in an old-school paper planner.

All that matters is that you find an alert system that works for you and that helps you remember the due dates for your monthly bills. If you want, you may even be able to change the due dates for your credit card payments so they fall on the same day as other bills so you can remember to pay on time.

3. Sign up for email reminders and pay bills online

Many companies send email reminders about bill payment due dates, which again, is a great way to stay on track and make sure you pay bills on time. Typically, all you need to do is log in to your account and opt in to receive those reminders. One less thing to think about! Once you’re logged in, explore how to pay bills online, so you’ll always have a way to make timely bill payments without waiting for checks to arrive.

Bottom Line: Keep Your Monthly Bills Current

By spending some time getting organized so you can pay your monthly bills on time, you’ll save yourself massive headaches, stress, late payments and fees down the road. Plus, creating a system for paying bills on time is simple. Once you’ve got it dialed in, you’ll only have to spend a few minutes a month thinking about paying bills. That’ll free you up to think about more important things, like getting Sally and Jack together (finally!), or making a reservation at that new tapas place.

Published July 29, 2021

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