More Late Fees for my Boss

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:

June 15th

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.

June 15th Paid Bills

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.

June 15th - more payments

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.

June 15th 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?

Mrs. Accountability

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10 comments to More Late Fees for my Boss

  • Wow, your boss sounds very old school.

    I pay all my balances down twice a month. I don’t even have paper statements anymore for most of my accounts. This makes me very paranoid about having any.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    OH yeah, she’s about as “old school” as you can get… she’ll turn 70 in September. ;-) She’s been doing our company accounting on old fashioned ledgers for the past twenty five years. It’s been my challenge and goal over the past couple of years to get our accounting into an electronic system and we’re finally working on it together to get her up to speed on the modules for which she’ll be responsible. Fun, fun. :-) Thanks for visiting and commenting!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Also I meant to also say that I USED to pay any balances down twice a month. Not anymore, I’m very sad to say. But eventually we’ll get back to being out of debt!!

    [Reply]

  • Wow, I’m tired just reading your Excel sheet. But if it works for you, that’s what is important.

    For me, it’s easiest to put certain recurring expenses on a credit card (the one that we keep paid down every month) rather than risk late fees. Then, every week, I look at our bank balance, see what we can afford to throw at debt, and put the money toward the appropriate card. Since we pay nearly every week (some weeks have more expenses than others) I usually don’t have to worry about due dates. Instead, I makes sure that the card we keep at zeroed out is paid first. Then anything remaining goes toward our Citi card, which was what we consolidated our debt on (at 4.99%).

    That’s easiest for me. But for others, worrying about paying once a week might be a lot harder than listing all expenses in an Excel sheet. So I guess we’re proving once again that finance is highly individualized.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    LOL, funny that you should find it complicated. Well, I guess reading over the process, it probably seems complicated, but really it’s not. I really like having a list so I can go through one at a time and check each one off. I only go over it twice a month, and the credit cards are all paid prior to their due date, some as much as 2 1/2 weeks early, so that I don’t have to worry about late fees. Those freak me out, plus most of my cards are at 0% so I’d lose out on that. It is so true that we all need to find what works best for us. I bet that is why it is difficult for couples to track their expenses together, because they probably would use different ways to handle their finances separately. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Mrs. A

    [Reply]

  • Gasp! The boss needs to get a locking mailbox. I saw some at Home Depot last weekend for not unreasonable prices.

    Quite a system you’ve got there!! You’re using lots more credit cards than I do: I try to put all charges on AMEX (because of the cash kickback), but occasionally have to use a Visa card because some merchants won’t pay American Express’s outlandish fees.

    I do track charges in Excel, debiting each charge against the month’s charge-card budget. But I also track them in Quicken. Instead of using Quicken’s charge account files, though, I just open a fake “bank account” and lump all the charges into one account. Doesn’t much matter, because all charges get paid out of the same budgeted amount. Entering the charges with their categories in Quicken allows me to generate category reports for tax and budgeting purposes.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Yes, she has considered using a locking mailbox, but her husband is blind and has difficulty managing locks due to neuropathy in his fingers. Getting the mail is one of the few things he can still actually do, so she’s reluctant to take that from him. At the same time, she’s risking the mail being stolen again…

    Regarding the credit cards, we’re only actively using one – the rest were from some time back when I found some deals for $0 transfer fees and 0% interest for a year. It is getting about time to transfer the money to another card if there are any 0% interest fees left. I have one card that will hold nearly all of them, and will give me a 4% interest rate until paid off, so I may go with that.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • I use Excel but I have been thinking of using Quicken as logging in to various accounts online is getting tedious. Thanks for sharing your system. I like the bolding and the highlighting.

    [Reply]

  • Gosh. Is there any chance she could get the postal carrier to deliver the mail through an old-fashioned door slot, if they still make such things? M’hijito lives in an ancient neighborhood where houses still have mail slots. The mail drops right into the house, so you’d have to move up from mailbox theft to breaking and entering to get at the stuff.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    I will suggest that as an option. She mentioned that she is now making a list of bills that are due so she can run down a checklist to make sure they get paid. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Funny! :-)

    [Reply]

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