Pay All Your Bills at the Same Time: Change Your Payment Due Dates

Pay All Your Bills at the Same Time: Change Your Payment Due Dates

Pay all of your bills on the same day.

Paying Bills: Madness to Method

Are you still making a few bill payments by check?  Or are you the type that likes to make your online bill payments FROM your checking account’s bill pay feature (instead of using auto-withdrawal)?  If so, then you probably go to your checkbook and bank’s online bill pay feature several different times a month.  Paying your bills this way increases your chances of being late on a payment and just takes up extra time.  Why not reduce the number of times you have to do this by aligning your payment due dates to only one period in the month?  Without considering setting up auto-withdrawal for all your bills, this is the best way to simplify your bill payment process.

How Billing Cycles Work

Did you know you can have your creditors and/or utility companies change the payment due date on your bills?  Most billing departments run on two or more cycles a month.  This is so that the billing department doesn’t have to do all their work for the month in just one week.  Most companies will let you take advantage of this flexibility and allow you to change billing cycles.  Again, the reason you’d want to do this is so that you can have only one during the month to actually sit down and write checks and make payments from your bank’s bill pay feature.

How to Change the Payment Date

Step #1 – List all your bills by due date and type.  I personally have this listed out already in a couple of places: my expense tracker and my account ID list.  Putting this list together will (a) get you more organized and (b) show you which bill due dates you might want to change.  For instance, let’s say you list out all of your bill due dates and it looks something like this:

Day – Description (f=fixed; v=variable)

  • 1st – CountryWide Home Loans (f)
  • 1st – Home Owners Association Dues (f)
  • 8th – CoServe Electric – (v)
  • 10th – Capital One Auto Loan – (f)
  • 13th – City Water and Trash – (v)
  • 17th – Honda Finance – (f)
  • 18th – Panhandle Plains Student Loans – (f)
  • 20th – Atmos Gas (v)
  • 20th – Edfinancial Student Loans (f)
  • 21st – Bank of America WorldPoints Card (v)
  • 25th – ATT Wireless (v)
  • 27th – Dish Network Satellite TV (v)
  • 28th – Allstate Auto Insurance (v)

Step #2 – Analyze your due dates.  Considering the items due on the 1st, 10th, 17th, and 18th are fixed dollar amounts, I’d say the most optimal  time to try and pay all your bills in the example above is on the 18th.   On this date you would know the amount owed on your variable bills due late in the month (Allstate, Dish Network, etc..) and could write checks for those items and the fixed items due on the 20th, 1st, 10th, 17th, and 18th.  But what about all the variable bills due from the 8th to the 18th?  On the 18th (your new pay bills date) you’d likely not know the amount due for these bills next month, so those are the bills dates you’d need to move.  See the new list below.

Day – Description (f=fixed; v=variable)

  • 1st – CountryWide Home Loans (f)
  • 1st – Home Owners Association Dues (f)
  • 8th – CoServe Electric (v) (move to end of month)
  • 10th – Capital One Auto Loan (f)
  • 13th – City Water and Trash (v) (move to end of month)
  • 17th – Honda Finance (f)
  • 18th – Panhandle Plains Student Loans (f)
  • ————PAY BILLS!—————
  • 20th – Atmos Gas (v)
  • 20th – Edfinancial Student Loans (f)
  • 21st – Bank of America WorldPoints Card (v)
  • 25th – ATT Wireless (v)
  • 27th – Dish Network Satellite TV (v)
  • 28th – Allstate Auto Insurance (v)

Step #3 – Call the creditors and/or utility companies to see if you can change. Before you go changing any due dates, you have to make sure everyone who’ll need to change is willing to change.  Continuing the example above, you would call your electric company and your city utility to see if they can accommodate your request.  If so, then move those two due dates to the end of the month (20th to 1st).  If not, then go back to your list and see if there is another date you could choose.

Automated Payments: Even Easier!

As I’ve shared before, I’m a big proponent of the automated bill payment options: auto-withdrawal on your regular variable bills and auto bill pay on your fixed bills.  If you were to totally adopt an automated system then none of what you just read would be necessary.  However, I realize some people have a lower risk tolerance than I do, so they still use checks.  That’s great if you do.  Just make sure you’re keeping things simple by only sitting down to pay once a month.

Have any question or concern about aligning your bill due dates?  Or do you have a better method?  Let me know in the comments below.



Last Edited: May 11, 2013 @ 3:55 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. I can honest say that when I did that (to the best extent possible…some payments were simply incompatible, not to mention I split my car payment up to save interest) it completely eliminated all budgeting “questions.”

  2. I automate most of my payments, so the due dates are the problem. However, this gave me a nice idea of moving some due dates to after my direct deposit dates — this could save me some money on margin interest since I do occasionally go into the red.

  3. Nice idea! I never thought of that! :)

  4. I’ve never thought of this either. I didn’t even know you could change the due date of utility bills.

  5. @SGM – As long as the company runs on multiple billing cycles they should be able to. Some local utilities may be too small to need multiple cycles though.

  6. I’ll try to do that this weekend. Thanks PT!

  7. I know I’m repeating this, but:
    Automated, once monthly billpaying has become our strategy. Although initially i used the biweekly paydays to pay everything, it dawned on me it’d be easier to go to once a month allowing me to really exploit the extra two pay periods a year. First, we paid a month ahead on all variable bills (except credit cards) so we would never go into the red should their due date not jive with our bill payment day. For ALL variable bills we pay a preset amount each month, based on historical use, (extra snowflaking is handled differently), so essentially all our bills are fixed, making life very simple.
    Biweekly paychecks have a set amount (half the month’s bills) automatically transferred to the ING Savings account. If there’s extra money, its allocated to specialized ING subaccounts (e.g., “MEDICAL”) Once a month the neccessary monthly amount is moved to ING eChecking and through PayTrust all bills are paid. Random, once in a while bills are prescheduled through PayTrust (even those accepting only checks) to be paid on the same day and the neccessary amount to cover that bill is scheduled to be transferred on “Bill Day” from its ING Savings subaccount.
    I cannot tell you how many headaches and missed payments this has saved us!
    I get emails announcing when a bill has been received, when something is scheduled, what is upcoming the next week, and when the bills have been paid. I check ING and usually within 24 hours all payments have posted.
    BTW, I hate paying by check since some folks love to hold on to them for one or two weeks before depositing. THAT is annoying. if someone is notorious for doing this, I have a special checking account I have their checks issued from. That way I won’t accidentally overdraft, thinking a check has already posted.
    It’s all a lot less complicated than it sounds.