Life Cycle of a Bill 2.0
Mike, my co-blogger here at Lending Club, wrote about the process that he follows with each bill. Mine is a bit different – it’s more of a “2.0” version of the process. Here is how I handle each bill:
This is similar to Mike’s. You have to utilize some service for a bill to be generated.
Bill not physically delivered
Whenever I can, and with almost every service it is possible, I cancel my paper delivery as soon as I set up the service and instead opt-in to email notifications. Most banks and other financial institutions are great at this and will send you email notifications whenever new bills are ready.
Set up automatic payments
Usually I will submit my credit card as my payment method, and whenever I can, I set up automatic billing. This way, I will never forget to pay a bill and incur late fees.
Pay/Checkup on 5th and 20th
For those companies that do not let me set up automatic billing or if it’s a bill on an irregular schedule, I make a note on my calendar to manually review these items twice a month.
Setup a dedicated email/folder
I have set up a different email account that only contains my bills and other financial notifications. This makes it really easy to manage; if the email is unread or unmarked, then the item still needs to be addressed. Otherwise, I know everything is handled properly.
I no longer keep copies of bills. Most companies have sites that you can now easily access and print all of your previous bills and statements. This makes keeping local hard copies of the bills a waste of paper and space.
Every three months, I scan all of my bills and statements for irregularities and oddities. So far, there have been none.
Most banks and credit cards will allow you to set up alerts for different types of activities. I have my accounts set to send me an email whenever a charge over $100 is made, so the potential for large fraud is minimized.
The idea is to spend as little time and resources as possible handling bills, and this process helps me achieve this. The next step would be to outsource the process altogether.
Friday, April 24th, 2009 at 6:33 am