REASONS WHY YOU CAN’T PYA YOUR BILLS
In trying to help a reader understand why she was having a hard time with her bills I asked my next question: How many bounce fees and late fees have you paid this year? She took some time to review her accounts and it turned out that again there had been many times that she had paid late fees and or bounce fees. The total was over $1500 for the year 2016!
First of all, she did not have her real budget written out. Yes, she had what she had to pay when on a piece of paper but many of her costs were not reflected there. She had not accounted for what she spent weekly on snacks, lunches etc. Her gas back and forth to work was not accounted for either. She had forgotten one of her bills entirely and because she didn’t have them organized she wasn’t paying them on time. I suggested she look for some budgeting forms that will really help her. If she can get her real budget down and follow it she can avoid those late fees and bounce fees. I happen to like the ones from Dave Ramsey. There are all sorts of budgeting tools to use. Whatever works best for you is fine! https://www.daveramsey.com/budgeting/how-to-budget/
My suggestion to her also was to get a new checking account at a local credit union. The fees are in general much lower than a traditional bank. Next, I suggested that she only deposit the money in that account needed for her “bills” and either open a second account or live on a cash basis for everything else. The bank has bill pay services and they will help you sit down and figure out everything that needs to be paid, when and how much money needs to be in the account. This will take some time up front but would save her a great deal of money on bounce fees and late fees! One account would be for bills only and the other for “spending money”. Weekly she would have work deposit the amount needed into the “bills account”. I also suggested at least $10 a week go into spending automatically. If you don’t see it or have it in your hand you won’t spend it!
For my husband and myself, our savings account is a separate on-line account through Capital One. This has a higher interest rate than our bank and it takes about five days to transfer money out of. That “inconvenience” has kept us from using it except in dire situations. For us, this has worked quite well.
Unless you have a great deal of self-control (and I do not) my suggestion for spending money is to live off cash. So you get paid and you have a budget of $35 to put into your pocket a week. When the cash is gone you can’t spend any more. Debit cards are great but people have a tendency (myself included) to not pay attention and will just keep on swiping and short themselves what they need to pay the bills!