Even after using all of those tools, it never fails that eventually I just forget to pay a bill. You see, the real problem for me isn’t creating or maintaining a budget – I’ve got that pretty well figured out at this point. It’s just a matter of remembering to sit down and pay specific bills that keeps me stumped. When you’ve got a lot going on and have so much to remember already in your life, paying bills isn’t always at the top of the list. It’s very easy to procrastinate when it comes to sending your hard earned money to other people. And I don’t like automating payments, because I like staying in control of my bank account.
So I set out in search of an automated solution that offered a variety of reminder tools and management features that would basically take the place of my brain.
All I need is a reminder about 5 days before a bill is due so that I will remember to log in and pay the bill online, or write a check. That’s not asking a lot, but in my experience not many of the “budgeting” apps really focus as much on the bill paying aspect as they should. Luckily I found billQ, and I doubt I’ll ever forget to pay another bill again.
Setting Up Your Bills
Let’s face it, the idea of loading up another online system with all of my bills isn’t something I really feel like doing. However, the idea that taking the time now to enter in the bill schedule just once will make it so that I never have to remember it again is enough incentive for me. I’m tired of having so many things to remember. The more you can offload out of your head, the more efficient you’ll be at remembering the important stuff.
From the first page, you’ll see how clean and well organized this system is. It’s all about bills – nothing else. No budget, no complicated balance calculations – just how much you owe every month and when it’s due. It’s as simple as that. Keep in mind there are two terms here to remember – a schedule and a bill. A bill can be a one-time payment, but a schedule is a recurring payment.
A free account is limited to 10 schedules, so if you have a lot of bills, this online tool isn’t for you. To add a new schedule just click the Schedules tab and click the “Add Schedule” button.
Type in the name, amount and when it’s due. You can also group bills into categories like household or automotive just to keep things clean and organized. You can also select from different recurring schedules like once every number of days, or on a particular day each month.
The beauty of billQ is how clean it is. When you log in, you’ll see the bills that require your immediate attention at the very top of the list on your main page. Bills that are close to the due date will change color from green to amber.
You can see your overall spending situation in the right menu bar. You’ll see your total monthly expenses, as well as the most expensive bill (usually the mortgage!) and what group of bills seem to be sucking the most money out of you.
If you have a one-time bill that comes up, like someone lending you money or a small loan that you took out and you want to pay off the following month, just add those by adding a new bill instead of a schedule.
While you could just remember to log in every couple of weeks to check which bills are due – there’s no need. The system comes with built-in reminders that it can send to your email, your phone, or both. You can set it up to send you the list of bills every month, or a reminder for each bill that’s coming due.
My favorite part of billQ is how integrated it is with whatever manner you get information from the Internet. You can install a desktop dashboard widget for Mac, an AIR app for Windows, a Bookmarklet for your browser, an iCal plugin, and there’s even an RSS feed you can tap into that feeds your reminders to you every day. Now that’s cool.
No matter where you are in the world, BillQ has you covered with the ability to handle just about all of the world’s top currencies.
If you’re like me and overloaded with things to remember – go ahead and give billQ a try. The last thing you want to do is work so hard to make money, only to squander it with late fees and charges. Let billQ remember your bills for you, and you can focus on the more important stuff.
What do you think of billQ? Do you have your own techniques or tools to remember bills? Share them in the comments section below.
Image credit: G Schouten de Jel