Making on-time payments is truly the foundation for upholding each of the five factors that make up your credit score. However, we also know that life happens fast and sometimes keeping track of all outstanding payments can be difficult, especially when unexpected or emergency one-time payments take priority over the recurring.
To help combat the shock and keep you prepared, here are our top 4 tips to make timely payments and staying ahead of the clock.
1. Get organized. Stay organized.
This may seem like a “no duh,” but the catch of being organized is getting organized. This means unpacking everything in order to repack it in a way that truly serves you and your goals.
Our recommended first step? Figure out each of your recurring payments and organize them by timeline – whether they’re monthly, quarterly, or annually. From there, you can put recurring dates on a digital or physical calendar with day-before or day-of reminders to login and get it paid.
Next, we recommend getting your income and outcome organized. This means taking inventory of all consistent money that flows in and out of your bank account on a monthly basis so that each of your necessary payments are accounted for. From there, you can identify what money you have to play with that month, whether it’s putting it in savings for emergencies, making a big purchase, or just having a little extra spending money.
Like any good habit, once you get organized, we promise staying organized will feel like a breeze. As you get your financials squared and recurring payments determined, your budget and timelines will be tools that empower your success, rather than restrictions on your lifestyle.
2. Keep your contact information up-to-date.
Whether it’s the company’s prerogative or yours, some payments still come through the mail. If this is the case, keeping your physical address as well as your email and phone number up to date is crucial to staying on top of payments. Most companies will send monthly reminders or login codes to make payments, and in the case of a traffic ticket or medical bill, the actual bill will come through the mail with instructions for payments. We promise you do not want to miss these when they come through, so doing an audit of all current accounts is a great way to double-check that your new address is listed and any old phone numbers or email addresses are removed.
3. Pay attention to payment due dates.
No matter how many times you say “my credit card bill is due the second of every month,” it won’t always stick. Days fly by and all of a sudden you’re a week behind scrambling to login and get it paid before the fees hit. That’s when a digital and/or physical calendar can come in handy, letting you map out the dates with frequent check-ins of what’s coming up tomorrow or within the next week. Reminders in your phone and even alarms are always a good failsafe when it comes to grabbing your attention, especially when they are made to recur every month, quarter, or day of the year so that you don’t even have to remember to set it each time.
4. Sign up for automatic payments.
We are always going to recommend taking the weight of remembering off your shoulders, and automatic payments do just that. When possible, we highly recommend setting up automatic payments so that things like electric bills, rent, and credit card bills are automatically taken care of every month without a thought. This keeps your life running without you having to run after every bill that hits.
Pro tip: Not only can you automatically pay for bills, but you can automatically save money, too! Many banks will let you set an amount or percentage to pull out of each direct deposit to go straight into a savings account. In a way, this forces you to save without the possibility of you talking yourself out of putting that money away, setting you up with a great cushion for fun expenditures or peace of mind when emergencies arise.
These 4 tips to make timely payments allow you to open yourself up for a life of financial freedom where your money can actually work for you, rather than hold you back. Although getting started may be messy, once you unpack it all you have the chance to repack it into tools that keep you ahead of the clock every time a payment comes up.
As always, we are here to help. For advice, questions or anything else you need as you continue your credit journey, call (832) 872 1057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.