Paying bills sucks… stop doing it.

May 5, 2010 by

I’m not a numbers guy.  Make me stare at a spreadsheet all day and I’ll poke my eyes out.   Another thing I don’t really like that much…paying bills. Its just not that much fun.  So I stopped doing it.

Thats not to say that the bills don’t get paid, its just not me that pays them.  Oh yeah, and I actually make money doing this.

Whats the secret and how can you do this to?  Well it will only cost you a one time low introductory price of… yeah just kidding.  Its all free.

Here’s what you do:

1.  Get a credit card that gives you rewards.
The one that I use is the REI Visa card.  If you love outdoors gear I highly recommend this card.  Sign up for this card and if you use my REI member number you’ll get an extra $20 gift card from REI.  My REI number is: 03206230

2.  Setup auto pay on all your bills to have them paid from your credit cards.

3.  Profit.

Here’s exactly how I do it

**Disclaimer** Only do this if you pay off your credit card bill IN FULL each month.  DO NOT do this if you keep a balance on your credit cards and are trying to pay them off.  You must pay off your credit cards off in full each month for this to work.  Ok, with that out of the way…here’s how this works.

Step 1:  The credit card.

Now you don’t have to have a credit card that gives you reward points, but why the heck not get paid while not paying your bills.

There are lots of credit cards that give you rewards, points, airline miles, etc.  Take your pick.  My rule on looking for credit cards are no annual fee.  I usually don’t care about the percentage rate because I always pay off my credit card in full, so I never pay any interest or late fees.

I have two credit cards but pay all my bills on my REI Visa.

First is my REI Visa card.  I get 1% back on all purchases everywhere, and I get 5% back on all purchases at REI, in addition to the 10% I already get back from being an REI Member.   At the end of the year I get a nice big fat check from REI that I get to spend on all sorts of fun camping/climbing gear.  Whatever I don’t spend they just give me in cash as I leave the store.  And let me tell you…Walking into an REI after buying whatever I wanted with more cash in my pocket than when I went in is THE best feeling ever!

If you love outdoors gear I highly recommend this card.  Sign up for this card and if you use my REI member number you’ll get an extra $20 gift card from REI.  My REI number is: 03206230

Step 2: Set up autopay on your bills

Ok, now with card in hand, its time to set up autopay on your bills.  Here’s the secret here.  If your bills are the same every month, why waste paper on receiving a bill in the mail that you then have to waste time opening, filing, recycling whatever.  We are going to just set all of our bills to auto pay to our credit cards.

I currently pay all of these items with my credit card:

  • Netflix
  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • Cox Cable
  • AT&T
  • Compassion Intl
  • 1and1
  • ebay
  • USPS

There are a few items I could not pay on my credit card.  These were SDG&E (utilities), my mortgage, and my credit cards themselves.  For these I have them set up to auto pay from my checking account.

Setting up the bill pay to the credit cards.  This is easy, but here’s a trick.  Pay all of them with one credit card.  It just makes things easier. Also setup a spreadsheet while you do this.  Write down what the account is, what URL you need to login to to setup or change the payment information, what card you are paying with, when that card expires, and any notes for that account.  This will save you time later.

*One caveat to this method of paying bills is that you will need to update your payment information when your credit card expires or if you ever lose or close a credit card account and need to switch payment information.  I just recently had to do this for all my accounts due to my visa expiring.  With that document created  it only took me 10 minutes to update all of my accounts.  The good news is that you only have to do this once every 3-4 years.

Auto paying credit cards.  Now that you have all of your bills auto paying to your credit card, now its time to auto pay the credit card.  You can do this on the credit cards website and have it auto pay from your checking account.  *Note: Make sure you have enough in your checking account to cover all of these bills each month.  I know, no duh…but wanted to make sure it was said.

Step 3: Profit

Thats it.  Sit back and savor all that extra time you have by not paying bills and have fun with those rebate checks.

Here are a few other extra steps I recommend:

Stop getting paper bills.
There’s no need to get a paper bill that you don’t need to do anything with.  Save a tree and get all of this info online.

Monitor your spending occasionally
Now that you are not getting bills and not paying bills its important to keep an eye on your spending.  Sign up for an account on Mint.com.  This is an amazing tool that will show you all of your spending on all of your accounts.  Setup a time each month or each quarter to sit down and go over all of your spending to see if there are any accounts that are out of the ordinary.

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