With so many bills to pay in order to run a household, let alone any added bills for subscriptions and services, it can be easy for them to just pile up. Furthermore, in the digital age, many receive their bills by email, making it hard to keep track of them in your busy inbox.
However, it is essential to stay on top of our bills to keep our lives running smoothly, as falling behind can lead to debt and can affect your credit rating. In this article, we run through the various methods available for you to pay your bills, and the best methods to make the process as simple and effective as possible. We also address ways that will help make sure you pay your bills on time and the best thing to do when you are struggling to keep up.
How to pay your bills
In order to make it easier for you to pay your bills, most providers offer a range of payment methods that will allow you to choose the most efficient method for you.
Some of the more traditional ways to pay bills are to pay by post or at the post office. These methods are still available, and although not always the fastest or most convenient methods, they are there for those who feel more comfortable using them.
Paying by post means that you can pay your bill by sending a cheque to the address provided by the business. This method will take longer due to the postage time, and the five days that cheques take to process – meaning those hoping to pay by post will have to be more organised.
Paying at the Post Office entails paying your bill at any Post Office using cash or a card. However, this service often comes with an added fee.
Direct Debit is one of the most commonly used methods for paying bills today, and usually the easiest for paying up on time and avoiding any late payment charges. The lack of fees also makes direct debit one of the most cost-effective options.
Paying online or with phone banking offers a method to make a transfer or pay a bill easily through your phone. An internet connection will allow you to transfer money directly from your bank account to the business, or make a transaction via the business’ online payment service. You can also pay a bill by phone call using the number provided by the business. One downside to this method is that it is up to you to remember to pay on time.
A pre-payment meter offers a way to pay directly for your usage, loading up a card at local shops before using it to top up your meter at home. This is one of the most expensive methods to pay for your energy and can be inconvenient when power unexpectedly cuts out.
How to pay on time
When it comes to paying your bills on time, the first step is choosing a payment method to suit you. Out of all the payment methods discussed previously in this article, some make it easier to pay on time than others. Direct debit is not only the cheapest way to pay but also the easiest as the transaction happens automatically. Explore the options that are available and settle for one that you are most comfortable with doing each month. Should any emergency bills arise then you can either dip into any emergency savings you have or look at an emergency loan to cover the unexpected costs.
As bills from different providers pile up, it can be tough to keep track. Try and keep track of them by using handy organisational tools. If you receive paper bills, organise them into a folder, or if you receive digital bills, create a computer file to store them in. Then make a note on your calendar for when each bill needs to be paid.
Read all your bills in order to get to know the rates and charges, making it easier to spot rises and falls in costs, as well as any potential mistakes. Then carefully choose a day for your bill to be due each month, so you can make a note and set reminders.
Compare rates and make sure you aren’t paying too much money, which can affect how quickly to can pay up each month. Make the most of the resources online that compare utility providers, helping you find the most cost-effective options.
Acknowledge when you’re struggling, as when bills begin to get on top of you, they can snowball and become a much bigger problem. When you are struggling to make bill payments, the best thing to do is quickly inform your provider as they may be able to let you make smaller repayments until your financial position improves. Also, remember that debt advice organisations such as The Debt Advice Foundation and Step Change. These organisations are available to inform you about any arrears and help you navigate the situation.