What To Do When You Forget To Pay A Bill

in Spend by Lacey Langford, AFC®

It’s best to have a personal standard to pay bills in full, on time. But, stuff happens in life—things come up. Sometimes people make mistakes. It’s happened to me, I’ve forgotten to pay bills. Right before the birth of our first child, we were just like every new parent and wanted to have everything perfect for the arrival. We bought all the baby gear, and since we only had my husband’s bench seat truck, we bought a new car. Then my son arrived three weeks early! Luckily we had everything pretty much prepped, but you can imagine, it was a little crazy.What To Do When You Forget To Pay A Bill Well, in all the chaos I forgot to make the first payment on our new car. And not just the first one, the second one too! When I finally found out that I’d missed our payments, it was embarrassing. The thing is life happened, we had recently moved, and I didn’t update our address. Also, for years before that, we didn’t have a car payment. So, paying on an auto loan wasn’t on my bill paying radar. And then I was in the throes of being a new mom. It was all hitting at once. If you find yourself in an “oh shoot, I forgot to pay a bill” situation like me, do this.

Pick Up The Phone

Call and start communicating with the company immediately. Acknowledge that your payment had not been made. Apologize and let them know what happened. Then find out the quickest way you can pay them the money you owe. Tell them when they can expect the money. bill

Know What You Owe

Ask their customer service rep if there are any late fees on your account. If the answer is yes, ask them kindly to waive the fee. When life mistakes happen, this is where having a good reputation for paying on time will help you out. Let them know this was a one-off mistake and they’ll most likely give you a one-time reprieve.

Pay Them ASAP

Now that you’ve talked with the company and know the total amount you owe. Pay them quickly. Write a check or even better, pay them by debit or credit card online. And find out when the next bill is due to get it on your schedule. bill

Set Up A Safety Net

Life does happen, and things get crazy. Give yourself a little insurance policy to ensure you pay bills by their due date. Set-up bill pay with your bank to have bills automatically paid, and this will help you avoid missing payments. Also, mark your calendars or put reminders on your phone to help you remember to mail bills before their due dates. It’s sometimes possible to have the payment taken straight from your bank account for things like electricity. But I would be cautious using this form of payment. Yes, your bills will get paid on time, but it’s often not a good idea to give any company access to your money. These are all steps I took when I missed my car payments. Right after I settled getting the payments made, I automated most of our bill payments to help keep us on track. It’s been helpful when we get busy, and things pop up. If you have a question for What The Heck Wednesday, you can email me or tweet me at @FinanceLacey.