I got fooled on this year’s April Fool’s Day. As you can tell by the title of the post, it is related to bill payments. I never carry any debt on my credit cards. In the past ten years of my monthly credit card payments, there’s only been a few times where I missed a payment (mostly in the earlier days). So you can imagine how devastated I was this past Sunday when I realize I forgot to make a payment for one of my cards with the horror of $35 late fee lurking in my next bill.
I have adapted to my own system when it comes to paying my bills. I don’t like using auto bill pay because I want to make sure I get a chance to review all bills before I make a payment. I keep a spreadsheet with all my credit card accounts and track all payment due dates. Every week or so, I’ll review the spreadsheet and schedule all the payments that are due the following week. I wouldn’t schedule ALL my bill payments for fear of over-drafting and I always give myself a good 7 day buffer from the due date to maximize the money in my savings.
Here’s spreadsheet in Excel format if you are interested to download SampleBillPayment
This time, I missed a payment because I misread one of the due dates. Even though it didn’t work this month, I think this way of tracking still works best for me. I’ve tried scheduling reminders for myself on my calendar whenever a bill is about due, but the influx of spam and junk emails get mixed in with my important reminders. And with spreadsheets like these, it’s easy for me to track if I meet the spending requirements on new credit card bonuses or annual membership statuses.
How do you track your bill payments? I’ll loved to know how you avoid late fees.