So it happened to my boss again. Late fees for unpaid bills.
I recently signed her up at Amazon – and they offered her a $30 discount if she signed up for a card. She agreed to sign up for the card. About a week ago she came to me and asked if I could check somehow and see why she hadn’t gotten a bill for the Amazon credit card. I went online and we discovered she had incurred a $15 late fee.
She had me make a payment online and said she’d worry about the $15 late fee later.
Then a few days later she told me that a bundle of mail had showed up in her box after the mailman had already delivered mail earlier in the morning. In the bundle of mail, along with the Amazon bill, she found several more credit card bills that had not been paid, so she had late fees on all of them! What a bummer!
She believes what happened is one of the neighbor children likes to check the mail and she thinks he might have come over to her house and checked her mail and then the parents never found her mail until a couple weeks later. They didn’t even have the decency to bring it to her in person, they just slipped it into the mailbox.
So now she has a bunch of late fees on several credit cards.
Again I was astonished because while I am not perfect, I keep a list of what bills are due when and I go through that list every payday and check off what has been paid, and how much was paid. I am now even more convinced that it is important and necessary to keep a list of bills and to not depend on the postal delivery service to alert me to what bill is now due.
She is extremely organized, and would never lose a bill, but it seems foolhardy to not have a list of bills and when they are due, especially since this has now happened to her twice!
I use Excel to keep track of my bills. I am paid twice a month. I have my bills set up to pay most of them on the first paycheck, then the rest on the second paycheck. I pay most of them online, and many are automatic payments.
Every payday I copy the previous time period to the bottom of the workbook and repopulate the cells with the correct information. For example, I enter the amount in the bank accounts and make sure all the amounts due are filled in. Here is a screenshot:
I know by looking at my spreadsheet that all the credit cards are due, Mr. A’s medical insurance is due, etc. At a glance I can see everything that needs to be paid this payday.
As I go down the list, I bold the item amounts that have been paid, delete the amount due from the right column, and enter the new checking account balance. In the example below, I’ve paid all the credit cards which amounts to $865.00. This reduces the checking account by $865, so I enter the new amount there.
Then I make a payment directly to the Amazon Personal card for the amounts we have budgeted for gasoline and food and Mr. A’s allowance, $770.00.
Then I go through and list all the auto payments into Quicken, and write checks for the remaining items. Now as you can see the checking accounts are way down to almost nothing, and the right hand column shows no amounts owed. All amounts are bold, indicating they are all paid.
Two weeks from now I’ll start all over again. Copy and paste these rows at the bottom of the spreadsheet, fill the right column by dragging the top formula, and enter the amounts in the checking accounts.
I’ve been using this spreadsheet since 2002 in combination with Quicken. As long as I sit down every two weeks and work out what is due and pay bills, I can rest easy that everything has been paid.
Do you use Excel to help track your bills? What method do you find to work the best?