Putting your bills on automatic pilot

Home Forums Financial Preparedness Emergency Funds Putting your bills on automatic pilot

This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Steven Armstrong 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #2294

    Molly Malone
    Participant

    I would like to share a tactic that has worked very well for me as a person living alone. When you live alone, you have to consider how your bills will get paid if you are incapacitated. If you were in an accident or suddenly became acutely ill, you would be unable to collect your mail, write the checks and mail the envelopes. So the best thing I ever did for myself financially was to put all my bills on automatic pilot. For each bill, my creditor takes the money directly out of my checking account, automatically, on the due date. Every creditor I have offers this option. Sometimes I could do this by mailing the creditor a canceled check. I had some creditors who insist on getting a card number, so I gave them my debit card number.

    For this system to work, you MUST have enough “float” money always sitting in your checking account. In my case, I keep a sum of money equal to a month’s bills sitting in the checking account. That sum of money just sits there. It is not to be spent; it is “float” money. It is insurance that no bill will bounce. It is insurance that for one month of incapacitation, my bills will continue to get paid.

    I was forced to consider this issue when I was about 21 after being in a serious accident. While I was hospitalized and incapacitated, my employer fired me, my landlord evicted me, and all my belongings disappeared (I presume they were put out on the sidewalk with the trash). I didn’t own a car, or I assume the car would have been repossessed.

    If you live alone but you are positive that someone will take over the check-writing and bill-paying for you during a time of incapacitation, great. Otherwise, I would recommend putting your bills on automatic pilot.

  • #2331

    Daisy
    Keymaster

    That’s good food for thought. I have my utilities and car payment set up like this just so I never forget.

  • #3169

    Jan Man
    Participant

    Here in the UK it is called Direct Debit.We have had it for at least 20 years.It has its merits,and it has its downside.

  • #3187

    James Mitchner
    Participant

    We do much the same. We use our cash-back card for most of the purchased over the month then pay it off at the end of the month. Most of our monthly bills are automatic deduction from our checking account. But, we still balance our finances with the monthly statement. Highly recommended. There have been occasions when creditors said payment not received when we had the payment number documented which causes them to back off. A little extra work but worth it!

  • #4728

    Sebastion Queeg
    Participant

    Just a note.

    We recently had a card number linked to our acount stolen online somehow. Luckily I cought it in time after ‘only’ $1200 dollars were charged. I had the card canceled and the bank’s anti-fraud department reimbursed the money. But I had to go around and change every account that had auto payments linked to that card and set up new payments with a different account. Check your bank account at least a couple times a week.

     

     

    • #4756

      James Mitchner
      Participant

      Been there, done that!  We had our credit card # stolen three times in one year.  We went to Virginia Beach twice one month and it was stolen each time.  We narrowed it down to dining in two specific restaurants.

  • #24368

    Anonymous

    I can pay all of our bills online, via our Credit Union’s Bill Payee.  I have a few set to automatically come out, when they are  due, but most of them, I do as they arrive or I am emailed the amount, like our electric bill.  I don’t use a debit card for this, because I watched a movie one time, “Catch Me if You Can” and the man the movie was based on, and portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio said that if you must use a card, always use a Credit Card because you actually have more control over the credit versus the debit card.  A debit card you are responsible for anything that is charged on it, even if it is stolen information and charged to your account but the credit card you have a legal amount you are responsible but above that, the credit card will “eat the costs” that was charged to your account if it was hacked. So that made more sense to me, and besides that, the credit card has rewards pinned to it, for every dollar you spend, you receive a reward and I use them as credit on my account to keep a balance that I don’t pay, when I have charged something that I forgot about. Hope this makes sense to y’all, it makes a lot of sense to me.

  • #24379

    corsaire
    Participant

    Here is a good resource for info regarding credit and debit card unauthorized charges.

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/unauthorized-credit-debit-card-charges-29654.html

    Now I had my debit card # hacked and I wasnt responsible for any of the charges. It wasnt much as the bank was suspicious, and put a fraud alert on the account. One purchase was refused 3 times.

  • #24380

    Mouse Wizard
    Participant

    Payments on autopilot only work if your income is also on autopilot. Otherwise they can drag you to hell very quickly. Speaking from experience here.

  • #24383

    Littlesister
    Participant

    We only have our health insurance and netflex on direct pay. As for our ultilities write checks each month and send them in by mail. As for our credit cards we pay them off each month as they come in and I am thinking of not using them as much. Either pay with cash or use debit card for purchases. We twice had a fraud charge from AT&T and we don’t use AT&T. Bank took care of it and refunded the money. Don’t know how they got hold of the card number, but it got cancelled and a new one issued.

  • #26087

    Steven Armstrong
    Participant

    Horror stories about doing this are rampant here. If the Utility needs to do anything on or around your property, they can and will withdraw the full amount without your consent. Once they are taken, you will never get them back. You are in a much better position to owe it than to try to recover an overcharge.

     

    Personally, I think this is a terrible idea.

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