There are a few things that can be counted on in life.

Death. Taxes. Superhero movies.

And bills!

Everyone deals with bills. After high school, no matter where you find yourself in life, there’s a very good chance you have bills pay.

Want to rent an apartment? There’s rent, gas, electricity, water, sometimes garbage, probably internet.  Want to own a home?  All of those things, plus a mortgage.  Want to go to college?  Get ready for student loan payments!

Want to watch the good TV? Not the basic channels.  We’re talking Netflix.  Amazon Prime.  Hulu.  Those mean bills too.  And don’t even get started on HBO Go!

More like Game of Bills.

Own a cell phone? Those data rates get expensive!  A car?  Health Insurance?

Destiny’s Child said it best. “Bills, Bills, Bills”

We all pay bills. We can’t escape them, but we can certainly manage them!  Just like anything having to do with your finances, all it takes is a little planning and forethought, and you don’t have to feel like you’re drowning in monthly payments.  So, how do we do that?

Know your payment schedule

There is no reason why a monthly bill should sneak up on you, ever. The same bills for (usually) the same amount come due at the same time every single month.  Yet, sometimes it can feel like one slips through the cracks, or your auto-pay debits your bank account at the worst possible time.

Make sure you know when your bills are coming due! Write out a calendar; set reminders on your phone, do whatever it takes!  Just be ready every month, and don’t get caught off guard.  Getting behind on your bills can be so easy, and can snowball so quickly into being unmanageable.  Also, if your bills are on a flexible payment schedule, where you can set the time you’ll be paying them, take advantage of that to plan around when you know you won’t be sweating to cover them.

Affiliated Bank has a great tool for making sure you know when those bills are going to come due, and getting them taken care of in a snap – Online Bill Pay!

Get a little extra cash this month? We can think of something good to do with it!

When tax return season comes around, or maybe you score big in the lotto, or your grandparents were extra generous at Christmas this year, it’s easy to find things to spend your extra cash on; when you have it. It’s easy to justify spending money you wouldn’t normally have on fun things like trips or new electronic toys that you don’t need.  Plus, it feels like a real stick-in-the-mud thing to say that you should spend that extra cash on paying down outstanding balances.  But consider that once those loans or car payments are paid off, there will be more cash for the fun stuff!  And you can enjoy those things more because you won’t be stressing about the bills you have to pay.

You already know

If you’ve read any previous blog post on the Affiliated Blog, you know this last tip – BUDGET.

You should already know what money is going where before the month even starts. You should know where it’s coming from, where it’s going, and when it needs to get there.  Budgeting just takes a few extra minutes of planning for an entire month’s worth of peace of mind, and that’s priceless.  For more info on how to budget, check out the rest of the Affiliated Blog!