Bill Paying...& Getting Organized | NewMamaDiaries.comSo lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to get organized.  I love using all the different apps on my phone to keep track of things, but I have a hard time staying accountable to my phone.  This is in part because I use my phone for play more than I do for work.  You know Pinning, checking social media, getting the news and weather, and texting…sometimes talking too!  I keep track of appointments by adding them to my calendar, but don’t really do any bill paying and such on my phone.  The only time I do is if I forget and need to pay one really quick, which is usually when I run across an email about one.  I do occasionally check my bank account from my phone, but I don’t manage it from my phone.

Back when I worked, I had a routine and set schedule that I followed daily, so it was easy to keep track of things, including bills.  I was busy, so things had to be prioritized and nothing was left forgotten.  Now with my son being the center of my world and things revolving around him, my attention span and focus is all over the place.  I need to get back to doing things the old fashion way, writing them down. Last week I received an email from my Old Navy credit card about my statement.  I have paperless billing, so I get everything via email and didn’t think much of it.  Then, lightbulb moment, I didn’t remember making a payment this month.  The bill is usually due at the beginning of the month along with a few other bills, so I rarely forget any of them.  Most of my bills are front loaded at the beginning of the month, because when I was in the military, we always got paid on the 1st and 15th.  I’d use one check to pay bills with and the other one to shop, save, and do whatever.  Never had an issue.  Well everything changes when you go from two incomes to one.

Regardless of how much you made, even if it wasn’t a small amount, not making that anymore has a huge impact on your financial.  As I digress, back to the email, I looked at the statement balance and it looked a lot higher than what I remember spending. When it comes to credit cards, my mantra is to pay them off in full when they are due.  I HATE incurring interest!  HATE it!  Of course sometimes things come up that you can’t afford at the time, and credit cards are a good safety net for those situations.  However, they are not good to use irresponsibly or to buy things you can’t afford.  With that being said, I’m very careful about my credit card purchases and make sure I have the cash to pay them right back off at the time of purchase.  The only reason I even have store credit cards is for the discounts, otherwise I’ve alway been been vehemently against them.  They tend to carry extremely outrageous and ridiculous interest rates, upwards of 20-25%.  You end up paying twice as much for something in the long run, because your constantly paying that 20% on top of the purchase price every month until that balance is $0.  You catch my drift here?

This is exactly how the credit card companies make their money.  They suck you in with the discounts, points and perks, but at the end of the day they win.  Of course, if you never have a decrease in income and only spend what you can pay right back off, you can avoid this situation totally.  This is what I do, or try to do.  Although, there are a few times of the year where I may splurge and carry a balance for a short period.  I despise being in debt, so I work very hard to pay it off as soon as I can.  Unfortunately, sometimes you get this interest incurred when you forget, yep forget, to pay a bill.  Its not that you didn’t have the money or that the bill came at a weird time of the month, you simply just forgot to pay it.  This is what happened with Old Navy. I hadn’t been to Old Navy in weeks, like probably since around my birthday in early April.   I hadn’t even thought about Old Navy, except for the daily, twice a day emails I get from them.  You’d think I’d remember getting that many emails from them, but I didn’t.  Next thing I know, I see this email that contained my statement and it hit me.  I logged into my account and low and behold is was past due.  Not just past due by a couple of days, but past due by nearly two weeks.  And yep, that 20-some odd percent interest was tacked right on to the past due amount, plus like a $25 fee.  You can imagine my agitation, but I had no one to blame or be mad at but myself.  I was miffed for a few minutes, but went ahead and made the full payment.

I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten to pay bill, and because of it had to pay an extra $25 in addition.  Times are tight financially, and that $25 could have been diapers for my son or gas in tank.  I don’t have $25 to just given away, because of my own dropping of the bill paying ball. Well, now I refuse to let that happen.  After that happened, I logged into all of my accounts and made sure I had payments scheduled.  I ran through a mental list and everything is set to go.  However, I don’t trust myself to remember and just keep a mental note.

So now, I’m headed back to the old school way and writing them down in my new planner than I’m personalizing for myself.  I should have it done by the end of the week and can start utilizing it to stay on track with everything I have going on right now, to include bills of course.  I remember back in college, before cell phones were so widely used for things, writing all my expenses down and when bills had to be paid.  I didn’t have a calendar app on my phone to record things and keep track of appointments, but I had a college/day planner and that’s where everything went.  I’m excited to get back to doing things tis way, plus I’ve always loved planners and pens.  Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I’m a huge stationery, office supply, and pen buff. I love anything in that realm of things.  I don’t do much hand writing these days, because of having a phone, iPad, and MacBook, but I’m totally nostalgic to get back to physically writing things down.

There’s just something about writing things down that makes them accountable.  Its the time and thought process to physically writing an getting your mind to actually brainstorm and think about everything.  Plus, being able to check things off a list is like positive reinforcement for me.  Its like if I don’t accomplish anything else that day, I can look to my planner and have something to check off or at least write down to do in the future.  No longer will I freak out thinking I’ve missed an appointment, not paid a bill, or plain out forgot to schedule or run an errand.  I’ll definitely be posting all about using my new planner once I start using it, and I’m thinking of adding an organization series to blog.  So see, through my irresponsibility, you all get to benefit!  I have a few posts on organization, but this will be an entire new endeavor with using a planner and organization binders.  This will also help me as a business woman to run my business for efficiently and effectively.  It will do the same for me as a blogger and I couldn’t be more excited and motivated about that!

I’ll be keeping you all posted!

Tenns Reid

I'm Tenns, the blogger, graphic designer, and business + content creation strategists behind Bliss & Faith. This is my little corner of the web that I've dedicated to helping fellow bloggers and creatives reach their goals. I'm so glad you dropped by and hope that you that you find valuable resources here to help you achieve your dreams!

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18 Comments

  1. What a cute little planner. I write down everything so I invested in a nice planner myself. I’d be so lost without it! Happy Wednesday!

  2. What a gorgeous planner!
    I haven’t been keeping good track of things. I started this year with a goal of NO credit cards. So far, so good. No debt either. However I need to keep better track of my checking/savings accounts.

    1. Thanks so much! I worked long and hard on it and I’m still in the process of doing my own. That’s so awesome you’ve gotten your year off to such financially responsible start. I usually never have an issues, but it looks like I should have some the same as you! I just need to get it together overall, lol! I gotta do better!

  3. I’ve forgotten to pay a credit card bill a couple of times, because it was a card that I normally don’t use. I hate it that I have to pay a late fee on a card, most of the time the late fee is more than the balance. However, I understand that this is how the companies make their money. Cute planner, I hope it works out for you. My husband uses a similar method for our bills.

  4. I’ve been procrastinating for a while now about getting a planner. It would be perfect for so many things! I totally hear you about the credit cards. We actually just simply don’t have any for this very reason. I have saved more than I ever thought I could with just shopping at Goodwill. 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    I do not do paperless because I want the reminder in my hand! Also, if my computer crashed, I had to be gone for an emergency, or got sick, I think it would be simpler for a spouse or adult child to manage bills received in the mail than email. Just my thoughts! I do pay most bills online, but if needed, I could mail a payment in.

    Great post…saw it from your link on ‘Inspire Me Please’….

    1. I can totally see where you’re coming from! Sometimes sticking to pen and paper is the best way to go. I just hate having all that extra paper around with sensitive info on it, I have to end up housing it or shredding it after a while. I also try to be a bit environmentally friendly when I can. I guess both schools of thought have very valid pros and cons.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and stopping by!

  6. I just got a very basic planner, but I think I need something that’s a bit more only because there are so many things to think about. I’ve got three kids, a family to support and tons on my plate. I’ll have to check out more about your planner and see if it’ll work for me.

    Oh, and I was going to suggest that you call Old Navy. If you are typically on time with your bill, they will waive that $25 fee! Hope they do! Thanks for linking up with Countdown in Style!

    1. April, I will definitely be calling to see if they will waive the fee for me. The ironic thing is that they sent me a $10 coupon the next day. Endless trap they try to keep you in!

  7. My bill paying strategy is to pay them automatically through my on-line bill pay. I have them set up to go automatically every payday, even the ones that are quarterly. I have them all at a set amount, so even if I forget, it at least pays something on them, even if it isn’t the full amount. I actually have a strategy where I pay the minimum twice a month on any outstanding debt. It pays them off faster and avoids any possiblity of late fees. #SITSSharefest

    1. Funny enough, all my other bills are set up on auto-pay. This is also why I’m sure I forgot about the bill. Even with auto-pay, I usually always go back and double check to make sure everything posts and posts correctly. Paying the minimum twice is so smart! I’ll keep that in mind for sure with the cards I carry a balance on.

  8. Tara, thanks for linking up with us at the countdown in style. I love this post, I am working my way up to organizing all my bills. When I was at university I lived on credit cards and now I am working I am paying it off painfully I wish I had the brains (financially) back in the days x

    1. Ohh…I remember those days! I did the same thing, mostly purchasing my books on credit cards. I was always very responsible with them, even back then. However, those books add up quick after 8 semesters!

  9. I am definitely an old school when it comes to planners and organizing finances. I just need that list on paper to check off! You have my sympathy on the $25 fee. I hate it when that happens! Thanks for sharing via Family Fun Friday.

  10. I love organization! This planner is so cute… I do a combo of my phone and paper planner, too. Just something about writing it down helps so much! Good luck on your mission: organization. 🙂 #countdowninstyle

    1. Thanks so much! I’m off to get mines printed this week. Can’t wait to use it! You are so right, writing things down just helps to solidify it in your memory!

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