Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

What's the best schedule to pay your bills?
I wanted to know the best way to do your household bill-paying. Should you pay them every time you get a paycheck or once a month? I don't know how to decide what check pays what.
Rebecca Schreiber CFP:
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Household bill-paying should be done in any way that consistently gets the bills paid on time. Web-based automatic bill-pay programs offered by your bank are a great way to pay your bills automatically in
a safe, secure way. The key to web-based banking is your timing making sure that the payments go out a few business days after your paycheck is deposited.

Take all of your bills and sort them by payment due dates. Based on the calendar dates you are paid allocate each group of bills for each payday. If you find that you have many bills due at the same time of the month, call the companies and ask to have your billing cycle changed. Then set these bills to all be paid on the same day a few days after your payday. This way you won't have a chance to spend the money you need for your bills and you'll know how much you have left over for other expenses such as entertainment and miscellaneous expenses.
Michael A. Masiello:
expert info »
Bill pay options are all over a ten acre lot. A couple of ideas. Pay once or twice a month, same day each month. The key is to budget and understand the priorities for bill pay. Pay yourself first and then each bill in descending order of importance.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
expert info »
You should set up a budget, including all your expenses. Try not to pay your bills more than twice a month, but make sure they're not late, especially any debt or credit card bills. If you've set up a budget, then you'll know how much of your paycheck is needed to pay the ongoing bills and what might be left over to save. A budget is necessary, based on a realistic appraisal of what you're spending. Otherwise, you'll have no idea. A budget will help you cut down on your spending, too. You should set up a budget, including all your expenses.
Connie K. Marmet:
expert info »
A budget with due dates of on-going bills will help determine the best payment schedule. As an example, if you get paid twice a month and your rent and credit card payments are your largest payments, you could adjust the billing date on your credit card so that it can be paid from one pay check and the rent from the other. If you get paid once a month scheduling isn't an issue but having a good budget still is.

[The module entitled Money Basics in the Wi$e Up curriculum has information on how to prepare a realistic budget.]
Gail Rosen, CPA:
expert info »
Ask a financial planner.
Gary Silverman, CFP:
expert info »
Waiting once a month for bill-paying may cause problems as some bills are due within a week or two of when you receive them. I'd look at paying bills once a week. While you might stuff the envelope right away, many people will wait until 10 days prior to the due date to mail them (just don't forget to mail them).

You'll want to get to the point where you have a cushion of at least a month's spending. That will make it a moot point as to which check you pay bills out of.
Rosemary Ervin, CPA:
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Because most bills are issued monthly, you need a monthly budget. You can set up online bill paying to pay the bill on the due date. You can direct deposit you paychecks and the money will be there until the
bill is due.
Sharon P. Hardy, CFE:
expert info »

It really depends on the availability of funds during the time that the bills are due. The key thing to keep in mind is the ability that you have in paying your bills on time, ensuring that you don't incur any late fees or additional interest added on to your current account balance(s) whenever the bill(s) is/are not paid on time.