When Do You Pay Your Bills

I’m setting up my new landlord in my online billpay, and I’m thinking about having it automatically send a check for  my rent as soon as I get paid every month, instead of waiting until the first. Is this a dumb idea? Does anyone else do this? I figure the upside is: Less math to do during the weeks between payday and rent day, won’t ever not have enough money for rent. Downside is, I can’t spend that money and then work something out last minute. Also: Emergencies?  WHAT DO YOU DO?


28 Comments / Post A Comment

That’s pretty much the only way I get my bills paid! As soon as my paycheck hits the bank, I pay the bills I owe for that period, then allocate the rest for fun/groceries/gas money. It might mean I only have a few dollars to hang onto at the end of the month, but at least my rent is paid on time!

j-i-a (#746)

Automatically is the way! Last month I made a savings account for Coachella which I can’t afford to go to, but will now HAVE to be able to afford to go to, because I am too lazy to undo my automatic deposit. Also Logan what did you decide about your hair care??? I am with you; I will do anything other than learn how to use a round brush

@j-i-a im still going through the comments. LOTS OF GREAT COMMENTS, especially about curly hair which i don’t really have but i used the word curly because sometimes if i sleep on it wet in the exact right way it gets kind of the essence of curly? HAIR IS HARD

j-i-a (#746)

@Logan Sachon yo girl I have very similar hair and habits (wavy, thickish, mushroom-prone when short; I cut it all off to donate every 2 years and otherwise do NOTHING, do not even own a brush that is not travel-size) and I have managed to masquerade as a Hair Person because of my magic routine of “lots of conditioner/texturizer-type product/2 min with a diffuser.” HIGHLY recommend because of the 2 min part

@Logan Sachon You should just cut off half your hair each time you get pai– oh wait.

Runawaytwin (#2,693)

I am paid every 2 weeks. When I get paid i deposit 1/2 of my rent into a seperate checking account. Then On about the 25th or so bill pay automatically sends a check from that account to my landlord. No math to worry about and no feast/famine btw payperiods. (when i get paid I also do the same for savings into a savings account that way I wont spend the money on something frivolous like I would if it were in my main checking)

jfruh (#161)

If you’re the type who finds money in your checking account unbearbly tempting (WHICH I’M GUESSING YOU ARE LOGAN) this system probably works great! My only worry would be that the landlord would get your rent so early that they’d screw up accounting at their end somehow, which could make trouble for you (though trouble that you could probably sort out without too much effort). How organized/responsible do you think your landlord is?

lhorntx (#2,302)

I don’t like holding on to money that I know needs to be spent on a bill that’s coming up, so as soon as I get paid, I pay it, regardless of if it’s early or not.

readyornot (#816)

I get paid bimonthly, so one of the paychecks gets direct deposited on the 29th or 30th of every month. I write a check for the rent due on the 2nd that same day. So I guess I do what you are saying, except there are no weeks between payday and rent day. The rest of that paycheck gets automatically transferred to savings, and the paycheck on the 15th of the month covers utilities and credit card bill. But maybe you only get paid once a month?

readyornot (#816)

@readyornot semimonthly, i meant semimonthly, dammit. it sounds like other people have the same deal.

NoReally (#45)

I pay all of my fixed monthly expenses, and make a transfer to a savings account, by autopay two days after the date my paycheck drops. The two days is for scrambling if some disaster ever happens. Other bills I pay online within a couple of days of arrival, and on the 21st of the month, the last bill of the monthly batch arrives, and there should be no bills in the to-pay pile after that one’s done.

For emergencies, the savings account. And when I have to transfer from savings to cover something that I wasn’t actually saving for, then I schedule a one-time transfer from checking back to savings, for after the next paycheck will drop. Or sometimes one next month and one the month after.

I do this! It’s so convenient, especially since I never have stamps and hate going to my landlord’s office.

I would literally never remember to pay on time without this. DO IT. My landlord loves me now.

Sorbee (#2,256)

I use PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet (but I’m pretty sure other banks have a similar features online, Bank of American being one of ’em I think.) ANYWAY I use PNC’s online bill pay for just about everything – meaning my bank account is aware of my cash outflows – and there’s a calendar feature showing how much cash is going out before next payday and how much free cash I have between now and then. It’s pretty great, actually. Make technology your friend!

Did you just say the downside is that you can’t “spend money and then work something out last minute”?? Since when has working something out last minute proved fruitful?

Send the rent check as soon as you get it – don’t even see that money.

It all depends on the landlord — my last landlord was the worst about cashing rent checks (even when I just paid on the first) and would invariably try to go cash them AT THE ACTUAL BANK rather than depositing them like a normal person, because she is insane and sketchy, and usually she’d do this like the day before payday and my account would be $2.30 short or something.

Anyway, I’d talk to your landlord and see if s/he’s OK with it.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@stuffisthings It sounds like she is using online checking to have the bank send the check though, and I don’t know how it works at all banks, but I do this and the money deducts automatically when the check is sent and then I get an update when they cash it. So my account is always accurate, even if they don’t cash it right away.

I could never have done “real” (handwritten paper) checks with my last landlord, because she would often wait three months and then cash all three at the same time.

I have a similar system – I get paid twice a month, so after the first paycheck, I have an auto-deduct for my mid-month bills and then save half my rent/end of the month bills. After my second paycheck, I transfer the funds I saved back to checking and within a week or so all my other auto-deduct bills are paid.

I only have one auto-transfer (to regular savings) that happens THE DAY OF my paycheck, because I’m terrified of some kind of HR mess up that ends up affecting my direct deposit – so I like to have a few days to scramble and cancel everything if something goes wrong.

Long story short: sounds like a great idea, just maybe give yourself a day or two of lead time before the auto-deduct happens, just in case something goes wrong.

hellonheels (#1,407)

I get paid every two weeks. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my bills and their due dates for the following three months, and color code them according to which paycheck they will come out of. Then, when the direct deposit hits, I pay all the bills scheduled for that period, whether they are due in two days or 10. It sounds overly anal now that I type it all out, but it prevents me from ever running low on money, and has resulted in, unbelievably, a certain amount of enjoyment in paying my bills.

I used to work for a company that paid us once a month, on or about the 28th, and it was AMAZING, because I just paid all my bills then and was done with it. When they changed to a bimonthly schedule I was pissed. Every two weeks is fine, though – two extra paychecks a year!

Fig. 1 (#632)

I just give our landlord 12 post-dated cheques when we sign the yearly lease, so I just have to make sure that there’s enough money in the chequing account so I don’t get fun things like eviction notices. (In case you can’t tell, I live in Canada.) Other things like utilities I try to pay when they come in the mail; we have an automatic debit for our gas but the power bill I have to pay manually, online.

Anyways the food/util/rent comes out of the joint, and nothing else does. Barring skimmers, whatever money we put in there doesn’t disappear before the utils/rent comes due. So, my answer would be: if you are unable to pay right away in the middle of the month, put it in a separate account with “CAN’T TOUCH THIS” etc. on it somewhere. Bonus: splitting money up into diff accounts fools you into thinking you have less money.

I get paid weekly now and my GOD it makes it so much easier to budget. But to answer your question, all of my bills are set to automatic pay when they’re due. I do the 50/30/20 thing. I have two checking accounts and one savings. I put half of my check into one checking account (the “needs), 20% into savings or to pay my CC, and the remaining 30 in the other checking account for “wants”. If you get paid every week, just divide all of those numbers by four, divide by two if you get paid every other week. You can borrow from one to the other (giving you that flexibility) if you need to.

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

Rent’s a non-negotiable and fixed expense, no? It’ll be easier to send it so it’s out of the way. Are there other expenses that you can wiggle around to cover last minute/emergency issues (I’m assuming you don’t have an emergency fund)?

Iglooramous (#1,397)

What about the interest? Do you have a savings account that pays you decent interest? If so, paying your money to your landlord right away could mean losing dividends each month.

Markham (#1,862)

You can’t manage your finances from a place of fear: A) Fear of running out B) Fear of spending your money C) Fear of whatever

Pay as many bills automatically as possible, so you know that whatever you have left over is money you can spend. I pay my bills, put some in savings and then whatever is left is money I know I can spend.

All my bills are paid automatically, I don’t have do anything for a single bill, they all just come out.

It’s better to have only a few bucks left, but now you saved and paid all your bills than the alternative.


Hmm. I’m in NZ where cheques are pretty much extinct and everything is electronic. Also, we pay rent weekly so an auto payment really is the only way that makes sense. Embrace it!

@eemusings@twitter Yeah, only way to go. I used to pay rent fortnightly, which worked well because I get paid fortnightly, so it would all just come in/go out straight away and I never saw the money or had to think about it; this year I’ve been paying rent weekly so I have to factor that extra week’s worth out of my “how much I have to spend” total, but it’s not exactly a big deal.

All this messing around with actual cheques sounds very tiring and annoying; I’m pleased I don’t have to worry about it because I’m sure I’d be messing it up all the time!

87Emily (#2,699)

I just registered to complain about my ancient landlord who makes me mail her a check by the 1st of the month but absolutely never deposits in until at least the 14th. Seriously!?! That is a LOT of money just sitting in my checking account!

honey cowl (#1,510)

@87Emily I too have an ancient landlord to whom I mail a check! Ridiculously enough, SHE DOES NOT HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS.

kristindru (#2,477)

I think my process is a bit similar and a bit different that what all of you other commenters do, but it has been MIRACULOUS for me and I feel it’s important to share.

After trying cash envelopes, automatic deposit, post-dated checks, ets for about 9 months, I realized, if I have access to money in any form, I will spend it. I blew through almost $10K in inheritance in less than 12 months while making $36K that year, and this was EASY because of the ability to transfer funds.

So, here is what I did. I opened up an entirely separate checking account and bi-weekly $300 of my paycheck goes there. All the rest goes to a checking account at a separate bank. From there I have all my bills (fixed spending; rent, loans, car payment, phone, gas/electric) automatically paid, including my student loans, which are approximately $1100 every month. At the end of each month, whatever remains goes to my savings account.

With this method I have managed to save $5000 in 7 months. And I have also allowed myself to spend the biweekly $300 without any remorse on whatever I want, whenever I want it and when it is gone it’s gone (because the debit card to the other checking account was instantly destroyed upon arrival because apparently my credit union HAD to send me one).

Comments are closed!