Did you know that 35% of consumers were late on paying a bill in the last 12 months? Paying your bills on time is certainly important, but you’re not the only one trying to be a better grown-up. The struggle is real.
What could happen when you pay late?
If you pay your bills late, there’s the inevitable late fee. The fees are usually between $25 to $35, and though that won’t break the bank, it is a sign that you failed at #adulting.
However, a late bill could have more serious financial impacts. Your service could be shut off, and you could see an increase in interest rates, spiking up to 29.99%. Yikes!
And because payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, it’s likely that your score will decrease. While this may not seem like a big deal at the time, having a poor credit score can affect you when you’re getting a new cell phone plan, renting an apartment, or trying to get a line of credit. In fact, a late payment (30 days or more past due) on your credit report can stay there for seven years.
How to Adult
First things first — begin with a budget. Know how much money you’ll make in a month and how much you’ll spend on fixed costs like rent, student loan payments, utility bills, etc.
To keep track of your money, try using a financial management app so that you’ll have a digital record of your finances. Not only does it track income and spending, but you can also use the app to run analytics to see how much you’re actually spending each month and your favorite cafe.
The most popular budgeting apps are Mint (32.8%), Quicken (20.9%), YNAB (14.9%), and Excel (10.4%).
Another great way to make sure that you’re not late with your bills is to set up reminders for bill due dates. Depending on your personal style, you can go digital with notifications on your phone or via email. You can also go lo-fi by leaving yourself post-it notes on your calendar. You can even automate your bill-paying by setting up auto-payments.
To have fewer things to remember, you can look into consolidating your services by combining things like internet and TV. You can even look into renting a utilities-included apartment so that most of your services will be lumped into your one rent bill.
If the due dates on your bills are tripping you up because they’re all over the place, try getting the due dates changed to either pay all your bills at the same time or to be on a schedule that better aligns with your paychecks.