Works for Me Wednesday… backwards edition… #1

This is my first week to participate in WFMW, started by Rocks in My Dryer!

Normally, for WFMW you post about something that works for you. A cooking tip, an organizing tip, etc. In the backwards edition you post a question to your readers looking for their tips.

Soooo, here’s my question…

Hubby and I are terrible at budgeting and sticking to a good financial plan. To make it all worse, I get easily distracted and often procrastinate on paying bills even when I have the money to pay them.

I have devised a game plan though, one that will help us pay them on time and get out of debt. I just need the final piece. I need a good bill pay service. One that will let me schedule bills in advance, and is already connected with a lot of different companies so that my bills can be paid electronically without me having to go to a ton of different sites. I could do this through my bank, however, they are not hooked up with other companies. This means it takes days for the check to be cut and sent to pay on my account. I can’t have that kind of lag time.

Do you use an online bill pay service? If so, what is it, what do you like about it and how much does it cost?

Thanks for all your help!

9 thoughts on “Works for Me Wednesday… backwards edition… #1

  1. NeedANap2 says:

    I would try your bank again (simply because it’s FREE). I’ve been working on “paying” (really scheduling) my bills when I RECEIVE the bill (like that moment when I check my e-mail and the bill comes in). I’ve started scheduling our bills through our bank and it’s been great. It’s perfect for bills that are the same amount each month (like mortgage) because I think it auto-fills the amount so it’s almost one-click. Our sewer payment is by check so it does take a few days, but by “scheduling” it when I receive the bill I can give it enough time to get there. I usually schedule it to be paid on the 1st when our payment is due on the 10th.

    You might try automatic withdrawal. Call the company to see if they handle automatic withdrawals. We have my husband’s life insurance on automatic withdrawal. Two drawbacks – you have to make sure you have the money in your account on the day of withdrawal and everytime you switch banks you have to contact the company and have your automatic withdrawl info changed.

  2. Sharon says:

    I have an account with Bank of America and use their online bill pay. I personally think it is great. One the bills that are not “linked” with the company it will take around 4 days to be delivered. But it is taken out of your account when it is “delivered” so the longest wait time is 4 days. I don’t know anything about Paytrust, but I don’t know if I would like to give control of my money and bills over to someone.
    I take care of all our finances and I also handle my father-in-law’s income/bills/banking. So I have alot on my plate. I love the bill-pay options.
    I think you should stick with the bank — it is free and you will have a better control over it. You can set up the payment to be delivered on any certain day so you can do what needanap2 said and schedule as they come in. I keep a “live” checkbook on Excel so I constantly know how much money I have, even with bills not cleared yet.
    Good luck!

  3. Ariel says:

    I’m a member of USAA. While this used to be a privilege for military families, I believe they are now open to everyone. I say this to say that they have a great Bill pay service. I really like it.

    You can also set up an auto pay with your various bills. I understand the concern about the money “not being there” because I’ve had similar concerns. I use it for my smaller bills because I’ll know there’s money in there.

  4. Angela says:

    mycheckfree.com I’ve used once or twice but I’m not a huge fan of most of these sites in general. But I LOVE ING Direct’s electric orange checking account. I don’t have paper checks but I do have free atms, free bill pay, free emailing money to other people, free paper checks ING mails to people for you And I get 4% on my checking account. All in all its a fabulous set up. Anyway They have so many options for the bill pay, some payments get sent electronicly but hte rest are sent by mail and they all get there in a few days. So I always just choose a pay date three days before the due date adn I’ve always been fine. They have great service and did I mention the 4% interest on a checking account? There are maybe a half dozen of these that I’ve seen out there and this is the best one that doesn’t require a certain number of transactions a month to not have a fee. Oh, and there are NO FEES on this account unless you issue a stop payment. My account has $165 overdraft protection. If my account goes negative, they cover it and just charge me 12% apr, which for the day and a half that I would pay that interest is nothing. And there is no FEE for that. Like at another bank where you’re hit with up to a $40 fee for EACH transaction. Anyway I’ve been with electric orange as my checking for 8 months now and wouldn’t have it any other way. Good luck!

  5. Jendeis says:

    I’ve used Paytrust for about a year and a half. Recommended to me by a few co-workers. I will never switch back. It’s fantastic. They notify me when bills come out, when payments are going out, even when bills that are supposed to come in haven’t done so (for me, it’s cause I didn’t charge anything, but I love that service still).

    Paytrust keeps records of all your bills and payments online. You can even buy a CD at the end of the year with all your records. No more invoices to store, just one CD.

  6. Sniz says:

    I have this same problem, but hubby doesn’t want to do it because “what if the money’s not there sometime and they try to take it out and we get in a big mess?”

  7. DidiLyn says:

    We use Bank of America online bill paying and we love it.
    For everyday financial help and encouragement, I would suggest trying out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We have been offering the course at our church and I can’t even tell you the number of people it has helped to free up. Awesome program, seriously. It should almost be required for people getting married so they don’t get mired down in finance issues.

  8. Momma TaderDoodles says:

    Thanks everyone!

    I’m checking into paytrust, but not sure I want my bills sent to them. I like getting them here. Things are tight and some stuff is still having to be juggled and keeping the bills totally online would keep them out of my face, which is something I need to see regularly.

    I pay my electric bill online with checkfree because that’s what they use but I’ve never really checked into using it for everything.

    ING is intriguing, I’ll be looking into that as well, though I’m not real sure about switching banks.

    My problem with my bank is this… for many of my bills, it’s due the day he gets paid, and we’re not in a position to pay it with the check before so waiting four days isn’t an option. I end up going to that company’s site and paying it there. This is time consuming and often costs me $5 which drives me nuts. I have a general distrust for the mail and have had several payments like that get lost.

    I had never heard of some of these options that you all suggested and I will be taking the time to check them out!

    Thank you so much!

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