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Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:11 PM   #1
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Bill paying methods

I am curious how those in ER typically pay their
monthly obligations. This certainly applies to those who
are working as well.
I pay my bills as they come in. I find this works very
well for me, and I seem to have more money to save
at the end of the month.
I also use a mileage credit card for most purchases
including utilities, insurance, groceries,etc. I then pay the
balance in full each time I get paid. (2 weeks). I've had
many "free" trips this way. It does cost $50 a year
to hold most of the major airline cards.

Just curious how most of you do it?

gwix

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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:19 PM   #2
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Re: Bill paying methods

I charge most things and I enter bills into my online bill pay service as they come in. The actual payment is usually scheduled for 3 days before the last day for on-time payment (gotta love riding the float). Why do you pay up for an airline card? There are so many CC issuers offering very good reward programs for nothing. I have the Schwab card, which is tied into my brokerage acct and gives a point per dollar spent. 25k points is any airline ticket under $400, 40k is two such tickets, or you can get cash or consumer crap. Alternatively Pen Fed offers a no fee CC that pays 1.25% back in cash. Hard to beat, and definately better than coughing up fees.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:20 PM   #3
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Re: Bill paying methods

This will be the first month that DH and I get paid on the 1st of the month (pension checks) with no other checks throughout the month. I'm going to find this very interesting!

My plan is to pay every bill the moment it comes in. The only exception would be insurance bills since they show up 6 weeks ahead of time. I refuse to pay that far in advance.

We seldom use a credit card except for our gas credit card (Shell 5% off purchases) and pay it in full every month. I have a spending plan and pretty much know what we need for each category. And before anything else gets paid we deposit money into 3 separate savings accounts. (emergency $$, vacation $$, and property taxes) Anything left at the end of the month will be added to the vacation account.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:25 PM   #4
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Re: Bill paying methods

I have automatic payment set up for everything except my credit cards and water bills.

And I'd autopay those as well except...

Neither my bank nor my credit card companies provision for payment of the full balance every month, but do the 'minimum payment'. :P

And the last two water companies I've dealt with appear to have not realized that automation using electrical devices came to be in the last century. They do not offer any kind of automatic payment. Further, if I have the bank send them a check a la 'billpayer', they appear to treat it like a wild racoon has been inserted in their mail slot. Without the accompanying bill they sometimes take 2 months to apply the payment. In the meanwhile, they're happy to send several 'late payment' notices and have someone call me up threatening to turn my water off.

I have the banks free billpayer service post large payments a few days before they're due, everything else I post immediately.

Anything that allows payment through a credit card goes to one of my 1% rebate credit cards (5% on gas, grocery and drug store purch). I max out one ($350/year) by about halfway through the year and switch to the other. Usually just about max that one out by the end of the year as well. My ~$700 a year in rebates plus ~$75-80 a year on interest from the 'float' on my fee-free cards would take me on a lot of trips if I felt like having my prostate checked by the TSA...
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:29 PM   #5
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Re: Bill paying methods

I have every recurring expense on autopay, including credit cards, utilities, health insurance, telephone, and cable. I can't think of anything not on autopay except for donations, and other arbitrary disbursements.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 02:38 PM   #6
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Re: Bill paying methods


brewer:

Do you have any difficulty redeeming awards with
a cc not tied to a specific airline? It was my understanding
that many of the major carriers typically are less likely to
hand out the awards to non members of their program.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 04:08 PM   #7
 
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Re: Bill paying methods

I have an interesting system for automatically paying recurring bills that are not the same each month (e.g. phone bill).

First, I make a one-time overpayment, so that I have a credit balance of, say, $20. Then I estimate the average amount due, and I have the online paying system pay that amount each month. I time the payment to arrive a few days before the invoice goes out each month.

As a result, each bill arrives saying something like "Credit Balance: $18.23 Do Not Pay." I do the bills only one time per month, and it consists of opening the bills and checking that the credit balance isn't too high or low.

For example, I pay $22 per month for the personal phone line, and the current credit balance is $16.15.

The main disadvantage is that I have, combined, maybe $100 in overpayments that's not earning interest. Not a problem.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 04:12 PM   #8
 
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Re: Bill paying methods

Al,

I autopay everything, except the credit card. The phone Bill is automatically charged to the credit card every month. I would not trust the phone Co. with my Bank Account number.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 04:27 PM   #9
 
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Re: Bill paying methods

Right, I'll do it like that when I'm totally retired, but now I still need records of exactly how much I've paid (some expenses are business expenses, and others are partially deductable due to business use of the home).* That is,* if I have things automatically charged to the credit card, then I don't have a record in my accounting of how much I paid, unless I enter it manually.*

And the phone company just gets a check from QuickenBillPay.*

Quote:
I would not trust the phone Co. with my Bank Account number.
I'm not understanding that.* Anyone who you pay with a check will have your banking account number, right?

Quote:
Do you have any difficulty redeeming awards with a cc not tied to a specific airline?
I didn't have any difficultly, but I learned a lesson when I redeemed points for travel: You have to go through a particular travel agent, and the tickets may cost more than on priceline.com (see my post about losing $100).* From now on, I will always just redeem them for cash, or at least check things out more carefully.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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Re: Bill paying methods

I autopay nothing. Nothing I tell you! I have come close but
as of now I pay all bills by old fashioned checks. Don't plan to change this unless I get off my behind and work out a system like
th/Grand Banks. I can't use free miles (non-flyer), but cash back?
Now that I can use...............

JG
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 05:46 PM   #11
 
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Re: Bill paying methods

Quote:
I'm not understanding that. Anyone who you pay with a check will have your banking account number, right?
I mis-spoke here. What I meant to say was that I don't trust the phone company to auto-withdraw from my Bank Account directly, like I do with the Electric Company, Gas Company. The Government that withdraws my property taxes. - I have had more problems with the phone company slamming stuff into my Bill than all others combined. By paying with credit card, I at least can decide to reverse the transaction if need be.

Quote:
Right, I'll do it like that when I'm totally retired, but now I still need records of exactly how much I've paid (some expenses are business expenses, and others are partially deductable due to business use of the home). That is, if I have things automatically charged to the credit card, then I don't have a record in my accounting of how much I paid, unless I enter it manually.
I have records of everthing I spend, even though it is all charged to the Credit card. I download all my credit card transactions into quicken and they are categoized at download time.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: Bill paying methods

I have all utilities auto-deducted from my checking and my phone bills (business and personal) charged to my credit card. On the first of each month, I subtract all the monthly bills from my checkbook balance and get my 2 weeks of cash. I pay all charges on my credit card each payday also. The remainder of the money gets transferred into my Emigrant Direct MM acct.

Sometimes I have to adjust the monthly bills a little bit, few cents here and there.
I try to charge everything I can on a CC that pays 1% back into my checking acct every January. I rarely write a check these days.

I pay the big bills like property tax or Insurances out of my MM.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 07:50 PM   #13
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Re: Bill paying methods

I auto pay most of the bills with USAAs bill pay service but I do have a couple that go to my credit card.*

I use a Hilton Honors Visa and AMX where I get Hilton points (2 per $1 on the visa) and (3 or 5 per $ on the AMX).* Always pay in full the end of the month by manually entering the amount in billpay.*

With the hilton points you can get a free night as low as 7500 points.*

JDW
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-29-2005, 10:35 PM   #14
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Re: Bill paying methods

We've just started using our bank's online bill paying for most of the utilities, which has worked out well so far.
The phone/internet is auto pay on a credit card. The cc bills and big things like property tax we pay via check. As for the rest of the stuff, I use a couple of rebate cards -- one from State Farm, the other a gas cad.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 08:48 AM   #15
 
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Re: Bill paying methods

Interesting that so many of us use automated systems. I wonder how many people in the general population do that.

Quote:
Anything that allows payment through a credit card goes to one of my 1% rebate credit cards (5% on gas, grocery and drug store purch).
GB, How does the 5% part work -- does it work for any grocery store or gas station? Which card do you use?

You got me googling on this, and I found this site

http://www.creditcardgoodies.com

That seems to have an unbiased analysis of the different cards and an active forum that discusses the different deals.



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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 09:26 AM   #16
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Re: Bill paying methods

I also use online bill pay for everything, and most things get paid automatically but the few that don't just require a few more mouse clicks. Its really the only way to go with the lifestyle we have - last year my spouse was in Iraq and I was in China, and I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to do the bills with paper checks.

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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 12:48 PM   #17
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Re: Bill paying methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwix98
* * *
* * *brewer:
* * *
* * * Do you have any difficulty redeeming awards with
a cc not tied to a specific airline? It was my understanding
that many of the major carriers typically are less likely to
hand out the awards to non members of their program.
Dunno, I haven't tried to redeem yet with this card. However, my understanding is that they just buy you a ticket, subject to a $400 maximum. If it turns out to be a problem, I will just have them cut me a check, as I can choose 1% cash back instead.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 12:53 PM   #18
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Re: Bill paying methods

Fidelity's billpay for the last few years. Checkfree for about a decade before that.

My MIL still does it the old-fashioned way-- checks, envelopes, and stamps. I sometimes wonder if she uses Bob Newhart's old adding machine & green eyeshade.

I'd do it all on our 1.5% rebate credit card, but I'm pretty sure that the card would be lost/stolen the day after I set everything up.
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 01:35 PM   #19
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Re: Bill paying methods

We're all 'computer people' or we wouldnt be here, hence the high rate of auto payments.

As a point of clarification, nobody (except vanguard) has the hookup to automatically yank money out of my account at their whim. Way too many instances of this info getting lost or stolen.

Everything either goes to the credit card (preferable so I get my rebate), or to my banks billpayer, which uses "ebill" capabilities. I get an 'ebill' which is an email with a 'view' and 'pay' button on it. I can read the credit card statement or whatever invoice it is, then click 'pay' and schedule the payment. Default payment date is the last business day before the due date. Free service of DCU...
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Re: Bill paying methods
Old 05-30-2005, 01:38 PM   #20
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Re: Bill paying methods

By the way, I'm highly amused by the number of people who still use checks, particularly at the grocery store checkout. Everytime I ask why they arent using an atm its either "oh, i'll forget to write it down if I use an atm" (uh, wouldnt you be just as likely to forget to write in the check info?), or "I dont trust the electronic system".

You are far, far, far more likely to have your check stolen, one of the handful of people keying in the info to do it wrong, or some other manual handling mistake than having a problem with an electronic funds transfer. And the latter is far, far far easier to fix.

Five years ago it still wasnt surprising to me. Today its very surprising.
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