28 December 2008

Paying Bills

I'm not doing online bill pay. I've heard too many stories of someone signing up for this thing, and then before you know it, the company has charged 50 million bucks to your account because someone pushed the wrong button. Even those electronic check cashing things EVERY stupid business seems to do kinda scare me.

(All it takes is one misunderstanding, or someone withdrawing money from your account without permission, to rack up big dollars in overdraft charges at $35 to $50 each, depending on which checks you wrote where. And then good luck clearing that up. You know, that whole thing never made sense. You have no money in your account, so to penalize you, they're going to charge you more money that you don't have? Wouldn't it be better to pay a "bank deposit" kind of like an apartment deposit before you begin if this is the way it's going to be? Could you imagine your life's goal being to get to that ZERO on your bank statement? In the old days, you'd starve with some dignity or sell yourself into slavery or whatever other groovy options they had back then. You wouldn't have to show up at the food bank in your Mercades Benz and feel like an idiot that you bought one of those things because now you can't sell it for what you owe on it, might as well keep it while you eat that rice...)

Ok. So... has anyone else noticed that when you receive bills, you no longer have about a two-week period before it becomes due? Seems like by the time you GET the bill, you'd better have that checkbook and stamp ready or ELSE. I have the money in my account (by the grace of God), and I have a checkbook and some stamps, but gracious if I let my bill go for a week, I get hit with all kinds of charges. One month I charged $15 on a credit card. Then we got a $15 "finance" or late charge or something else that next month because it arrived there two days "late."

D says that I need to get my crap together. Well, he doesn't say that because he hates the word "crap," but he means that. He says if you owe the company money, they want their money RIGHT NOW. Fiiine. I wish I could pay a deposit or something and shut everybody up for a bit. I pay my bills every two weeks. I hate opening a bill and seeing a "due date" not ten days away. People go on vacation. People get sick. Life happens.

Do I need to say this again... I have the money. Paying back isn't the issue. I feel like these companies are trying to force me into online bill pay because it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of all this stuff.

Or...

Was I on top of all this stuff years before and just having six children throws me a little? And how can I blog but not get my bills done?

I think it's all those little bits of paper and then finding the stamp and stuff. They want the account number written on everything. There are confusing directions. Lots of little "sign here for this thing I'm trying to trick you into" boxes or "check here to give your life savings to us" and I have to read that carefully. Sometimes I even find myself doing strange things like writing "June 23, 1984" on checks. GAH! Then I have to void the check and start again. (1984???) I hate to think of how scatterbrained I am that this happens to me. But I hate to think of "online bill pay" and how companies could take advantage of my scatterbrainied-ness and make things worse than they already are.

And have you read your bills lately? Seems there is some sort of "city extortion tax" and whatnot on all of them. "County fees" or whatever. Ok. I just pay them whatever they ask, but I have a feeling that I'm getting gypped somewhere. :]

7 comments:

  1. Please reconsider Bill Pay, Mrs. C. Takes me a few minutes to pay bills every month. No envelopes; no stamps; less hassle. I read an article (in which publication, I can't remember) that said that you are more likely to get your information stolen out of your mailbox than off the internet.

    I still occasionally bounce a check, but it's mostly because I'm lazy about record-keeping.

    With six kids, and as busy as your are, give yourself a break. Seriously. It's easy peasy. :)

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  2. I won't do bills on~line either. Security just isn't good enough whatever they say. Heck, I don't even have an ATM card because I can't remember pin numbers. It takes longer & is more hassle doing it the old fashioned way but I can at least *see* what I'm doing & it is much easier to keep track off ~ well it is for me. All this plastic just isn't *real*...but you knew that didn't you? :D Bwhaaaa

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  3. [He says if you owe the company money, they want their money RIGHT NOW. Fiiine]

    I do pay my bills online. My bank charges me an annual $25 fee to use their bill pay service. It makes it easy and I still sometimes end up with late fees or calls.

    But, last year in October, I did the unthinkable. It was the end of the month and I signed on to make my November house payment. Since I was already online, I decided to pay all the recurring bills we owe and not have to worry about it for the rest of the month.

    Well, well, well... our water softener was financed. I paid my October bill in October and my November bill in October. So, I didn't make a payment in November. In December I was charged a $35 late fee. I had "owned" the equipment for 8 months. I wasn't supposed to have to pay anything for the first 90 days. So, technically, I should have only paid 5 payments. I had made 10. ARGH!!

    Another time my home mortgage company called me on the 8th to ask why I hadn't paid my bill yet. We had just paid Beverly's hospital bill and didn't have money. My husband was getting paid that Friday and I was waiting to pay it. I did have the money in the bank, but if I paid them, I would only have $12 left until payday. That wasn't even enough for gas. I reminded the nice lady on the phone that I wasn't charged a late fee until the 15th of the month. In my way of seeing things... my payment isn't late until I owe extra money.

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  4. I held off paying things online for a long while, and then slowly started adding things as I got slapped with fees for missing them (for some reason I don't like paying bills, so they would magically appear at the bottom of piles months after they were due).

    Now I pay everything (I think) online... automatically. I refuse to sign up for a "Bill Pay" thing because it costs money. Instead, I sign up individually with each company/robber and use my credit card.

    With a slow transition (gradually adding bills to the system), I think it's worked for my family.

    I check my bank account every week or so for my Party, Save, and Tithe transactions, and then we do finances once a month to make sure nothing hiccuped in the system. So far so good. May that continue.

    ~Luke

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  5. I don't use billpay - not because I don't trust it, but because I like to check everything that goes out twice.

    I LOVE paying my bills online, though. I set a reminder on my calender to go off before the due date, and I get a reminder notice when the bill is due. I pay everything except my health insurance online. For that, my rule is that it gets opened and sent off with check immediately. I keep some checks, pen, and stamps right next to my mail bowl specifically for that purpose.

    For purchasing items online, I use Paypal. If Paypal is not an option, I request a one-time use credit card number from my credit card company. That way, I cut the risk of someone stealing my card.

    Allison

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  6. What are these cheques, envelopes and stamps of which you speak? *shudder* Sounds like a nightmare to me. I do the whole direct debit thing. Every month, everyone gets a piece of my account, and that's it, done and dusted. I don't see it go, so I don't feel the pain. And, there's no chance of missing the 'pay by' date. Works for me.

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  7. I know!!! I agree. Um... I used to pay my bills on time though. When I was single. Now, I just can't always keep up and there is no way I'm gonna let them draft it automatically. That would be worse.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)