Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Money Minute - Saving While Paying Bills

Bill paying time is never fun.  Add in the expense of actually PAYING those bills and it starts to get crazy!  What do I mean?  Well, there's the cost of the checks and of the stamp plus any return address labels.  How can we save?

I was amazed to find that our bank charges over $30 for just ONE BOX of duplicate checks.  I never really thought about it but noticed this time as we are waiting to switch banks.  I've also been amazed at how quickly we go through stamps at our house.

Here are some ideas to save on paying bills:
  • Make sure to pay on time or early so late fees and dings to credit don't increase the cost of paying bills
  • Try online bill pay.  You may choose to use individual company websites (that's what we do- I don't trust our current bank) or use your bank's online bill pay (check for fees first).  We used our bank's bill pay when we lived in Nebraska and it was fantastic.
  • Order checks through sources other than the bank. has some competitive prices.
  • Consider having payments automatically drafted from your account (see below for cautions on this one).  Some companies offer a discount for autodraft.  My school loan interest rate would drop .25% if I used autodraft.
  • Get bills electronically.  Some companies charge a fee to receive a paper bill.
  • Get a return address stamp - Vistaprint often offers these free (pay shipping only).
  • Consider paying quarterly or in larger time segments as offered by your biller (very common in auto insurance).
How do YOU save money while paying bills?

Caution on autodraft - make sure you always have sufficient funds in your account.  You don't want to be charged overdraft fees!  Some people set up an account just for autodraft bills - money is transferred into that account in time to pay.  This method keeps extra savings from being depleted in case of fraud.  Also, make sure you know how much your bill will be each month so you aren't surprised (and charged overdrafts).  We had an issue with an insurance provider - each month should have been the same.  Somehow, each month was different and the provider could not tell us why.  Now we pay an extra $2.50 each month to get a paper bill so that we know exactly what we are being charged.


Melissa said...

I LOVE Bill Pay. I put off trying it for years and now I'm so glad I's pretty much the only way I pay bills now and I hardly ever write checks anymore except to get out our "Dave Ramsey" cash each month!

Deborah said...

I pay bills online and use my credit card (which gives me cash back) for ALL gas, groceries, etc. Then pay off the credit card each month. That way, we're making a little money. I also pay my car insurance in one big heap, instead of monthly installments.

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