Sometimes it starts with a simple mistake. The bill from the phone company gets misplaced one month. Maybe the electric bill fails to show up, lost in the mail for the next decade. But next month, the bill is more than twice the amount expected, and the company has added expensive late fees. The representative refuses to negotiate the amount down since the bill was sent — just not paid.
And so it begins. One bill lost in the mail or misplaced can turn into a tangled mess of late fees, interested, more missed payments, and eventually the situation can spiral out of control. Is it the homeowners’ fault? The company’s fault? The post office’s fault? While it may be a combination of all three, it will be the borrowers who end up with all of the negative consequences.
Thus, it is vitally important for homeowners to remain on top of their bills, especially during the type of recession we are currently experiencing. With the government getting involved in every aspect of the economy, it is impossible to tell from day to day which companies will be forced to fail to prop up other companies. Families need to prepare for the worst while keeping on top of their current expenses.
The first, most basic step to keeping on top of these bills is to have a special place designated for them as they come in. Sticking them in a drawer is probably not the best idea, but neither is just letting them lie around on a dresser unopened. It is much easier to deal with the bills if they are in a special place and opened.
Depending on when the bills are due, it can also be important to set aside one or two dates every month to pay them. If most bills come due on the tenth through the twentieth of the month, for instance, it may be a good idea simply to sit down on the tenth and pay them all at once. This then allows the family to have the rest of the month to earn income and set it aside for savings or next month’s expenses.
If there are bills that do not come due during this brief window (for instance, if one is due on the first of the month), it may be possible to call the company and have the due date changed for the future. Many companies will do this for clients to make it easier for them to pay, and the amount due on the next bill will be adjusted accordingly. This will make paying them much simpler for homeowners and will be easier to keep track of and deal with.
Almost all companies that provide any service now allow payments to be made online. For homeowners who have taken the above advice and are paying all their bills at once, it is quite easy to sit down and visit a number of websites and take care of all the bills at once. This may represent a distressing hit to their bank accounts once a month, but then they have the rest of the month free.
It is important to keep copies of all payments made to any company, regardless of how the payment is made. Computer glitches happen, banks cash checks but do not credit accounts, and the post office loses mail all the time. If the owners keep a printout of the confirmation number from paying the bill with the bill itself, these mistakes will be far easier to correct.
During a severe economic recession, as the country is currently experiencing, there is simply no margin of error in paying bills. Credit card companies especially are just looking for an excuse to raise rates, charge late fees, and otherwise grab as much money as possible. Homeowners and other borrowers should proactively deal with their bills — to maintain their own credit ratings as well as to prevent a bank from taking advantage of them.
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