Ask the Organizer Friday!

I know you’ve got questions.  Whenever I tell anyone what I do for a living, they’ve got a million of them….what’s the best way to fold a fitted sheet?  how should I deal with all the incoming mail?  what on earth is a professional organizer?

Well readers, shoot me an email (dayna@chaostheorynyc.com) and ask me!  On Fridays, I’ve got answers.

This week, a reader asks:

What’s your general feeling about when bills should be paid?  Should you pay them as they come in via the mail, or wait for a specific day to pay all your bills.  Also, if you are paying online, should you do all of them via your bank, or through their specific websites (i.e., paying RCN bill through RCN.com).  Lastly, should you do autopay so you never have to worry about any of this?

Let me first say that I am a HUGE fan of online bill pay – it saves me a stamp and a trip to the mailbox.  Let me also say that I’m a firm believer in paying your bills through your bank’s website — why keep track of mulitple usernames and passwords when you can do the same job with one?

Now, on to the rest of your question.  There is a special place in my heart for automatic bill pay – but sadly, it’s use must be limited.  Even so, I strongly suggest setting it up for all your bills that have a fixed monthly cost – things like the rent check, car payment, insurance and, unless you have an egregious pay-per-view habit, the cable bill.

So that leaves us with the bills that vary from month-to-month – the credit card, the electric, and the cell phone (what can I say, sometimes I text more than I should…).  When one of these unwelcome envelopes comes in, the first thing I do is open it.  I know that sounds basic, but you would not believe the number of unopened credit card statements I’ve come across in my line of work.  After perusing the bill to make sure that all the charges are legit, I take a look at the due date and, this is important, I write the due date on the outside of the envelope in big bold letters.  If I have a moment to sit down at my computer and deal with it right then, I do.  If not, the envelope goes on top of my computer keyboard, bold due date staring me in the face, ensuring that it will be the first thing I handle when next I sit down.  When that time comes, I log in and set up the payment so that it will be delivered on the day it is due.*  Then I get back to work so that there will be money in the account….

*Note: Be sure to check the system your bank has going — all banks will tell you how long this payment will take to deliver, but some ask what day to send payment, some ask what day to deliver by — don’t get caught sending on the due date and getting stuck with late charges.)

Hope this helps!

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One Response to Ask the Organizer Friday!

  1. […] full month is that you will receive mail from the “important ones.” And if you’ve gone paperless with these institutions, you’ve got less work to do! But even if you’ve missed a few, […]

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