Wednesday, June 13

Seven Ways to Dummy-Proof Your Automatic Payments

Yesterday I put out a call for people's best tricks for managing automatic payments so they weren't short when the due date arrived. I received such an amazing response that I wanted to summarize them all in a post rather than hiding them in the comments. My readers are so good at this, it feels like I'm preaching to the choir!

Some of them were using a cheque register, or spreadsheet, or just keeping track, but I wanted ways that were more dummy-proof than that. So here are seven ways that my readers keep track of automatic payments and make sure they have enough money for them:

  1. Schedule the payments in your Outlook Calendar
  2. Use alerts in Microsoft Money or Quicken
  3. Link your bank account to your line of credit or set up overdraft protection
  4. Use a product such as Manulife One (bank account, line of credit and mortgage all rolled up together)
  5. Have the payments come off a Visa with a large enough limit (and get points)
  6. Deduct all payments at the beginning of the month in your tracking system
  7. Keep a minimum balance in your account

I think that if you use any one of these methods consistently, you should be able to say goodbye to bounced payments forever. So choose the one that works for you, and then sit back and let the rest be automatic!


Big Cajun Man said...

You could set up a "working account" which could be a no-fee account like at PC Financial, where you dump enough money to pay all of your bills, and have the bill money come out of there? I don't do that, but that is another idea.


Susan said...

Good points!
I know each month when my automatic payments are coming out, so I pencil that date into my cheque-book then add the total when I know it.(Yes, I know, who writes cheques. I use it to keep track of these payments so there's no surprises). I do find the cheque book handy to keep track of the expenses that come out of that account, and I can see quickly if anything is out of line.