Cut Your Bill-Paying Time!

How much time would you guess you spend paying bills? Would you like to chop that time and use for something more wonderful like Bible study or just sitting down to breathe?

A few little changes can make that dreaded event a little more bearable. Plan ahead, get organized and reap the benefits of a few extra minutes.

1. Get organized when the mail comes. Have a central location for bills and all your mailing supplies. Open you mail there and separate the invoices, envelopes and receipts as necessary. This means creating a filing system or keeping a basket on the counter where it's handy. Figure out what will work best for you.

2. Do the paperwork ahead of time. As you're opening and filing your bills, fill out the forms that will be returned with them, stamp the envelopes and write in your return of address. Two seconds now won't seem like half an hour later when you're trying to do several bills at once, write checks and fix the envelopes.

3. Know your bill schedule. There's nothing more frustrating than late fees and penalties, but you try to save time by paying everything at once. If your finances allow, have all your bills due at one time during the month so you sit down to pay them all at once. If you have to spread them out throughout the month, know the dates they need to be paid by and write them in your calendar. Send them out in plenty of time and save a little money too by avoiding any late fees.

4. Combine bills when available. If some of your utilities are provided by the same company, find out if you can send them in one check. If you bundle your services, you may be able to pay them all together, too. Five minutes of research can save you time and postage.

5. If your bank allows, use internet bill-pay. This is a life- and sanity-saver! You can schedule bills to be paid straight from your accounts and withdrawn at set times. If you're absolutely certain the money will be in your account, this is a great way to save time. It only takes a few minutes to fill out online each month and you can pick the dates the bills are paid.

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