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. VistaPrint.com 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).
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.