To pay off bills, is probably one of those things you have on your to do list right? But you got busy with the kids and hockey, and the cat got sick and the car needs new tires, before you know it, it is the next month and you now have late payment charges, on top of that bill right?

Many people want to pay off bills, but are spinning their wheels with the payments and the late payment charges and interest that gets added to the balance. Many of these finance companies can get pretty greedy with extra charges such as over the limit fee, late payment charges, and added interest, which erodes our money, and adds even more stress to our finances, not to mention that purchase you made on sale, is no longer a good deal with the added charges.

Most households get a lot of bills in the mail now or online, especially with cell phones, internet/cable, car payments, rent/mortgage, utilities and more. But just how do you stay on top of these? How do you avoid late payment charges, over the limit charges, and all the added interest?.

As busy as you are the first step is to take about an hour on the weekend or a time when you are most relaxed, put on a pot of tea or coffee. Actually pencil this in on your "to do list" and collect all your bills and then get yourself a wall calendar, a nice one. Not the one you use for the kids hockey, baseball, piano lessons etc.. This one will be to pay off bills only. This will be your financial calendar. You don't need to list amounts on there for everyone to see, just the name of the bill.

Financial Calendar - Make sure it has big squares, and also have a highlighter, one color for all the bill due dates and another color showing when you get paid or when it goes into the bank (if you get automatic deposit).

Now open all your bills and really take a good look at them. Up until now you probably have just been looking at the balance or minimum payment very quickly and paying something right? If you have any bills such as a credit card that charge you a "over the limit fee". Start with this one. Many of these companies will let a purchase go through, even though you technically hit your limit. This would be great in an emergency, but if you are using this for everyday purchases, if you even go over your limit by 5 cents, they will tag on this "over the limit fee" which could be as high as 25 dollars, which is really a waste of money for you.

Now this means if you have been paying only the minimum and this fee was added on, that you are just spinning your wheels and actually paying nothing off. So, take a good look at any bill that has this happening.

Now figure out how much you can pay off of this bill, and if you can't stop using this card, at least figure out how much limit you have available before using it, and stay under that limit. Now you have saved yourself 25 dollars a month or more depending on the company.

Due Dates and Late Payment Charges - Now take a look at all your bills that you have to physically pay. Look at their due dates. They have to have the money by this date at the latest for you to avoid late payment charges. Therefore if you are trying to pay the bill right on the due date, it will be considered late, unless you were able to go directly to that company right on that day. That is not likely, and so you need to allow more time.

If you pay your bills at your bank, or online, or send in the mail, you need to allow at least 2 to 3 days before the due date for them to process this payment and avoid those late payment charges which can add up. Some companies will charge a percentage for a late fee, others will be a flat rate. If you can avoid this, you could save yourself a dinner out per month!

Now with this in mind, take your bills and back the due dates up by 2 or 3 days, and then write this bill on the calendar for that new due date. Now highlight it.

Get Paid - Pay off Bills - Now, write in your calendar when you get paid. Now that you have your pay days on there, and the bill due dates. Figure out which bills you can pay from which pay. Organize them accordingly, and then go online or write your checks for those days.

A friend of mine, has a good job and makes decent money, and never seemed to get ahead of her bills. She worked odd hours and just kept thinking she would get around to it. After setting herself up with a schedule, she realized she had been paying over 100 dollars a month in unnecessary late charges, and over the limit charges. Enough for a nice dinner out with friends and a movie!

Why pay anymore than you have to? You work hard for your money. Start your New Year off with a fresh calendar and pay off those bills, and avoid late payment charges. Just taking this first step, will at least eliminate those late letters and fees and cut back on your financial stress.

Now that you have had a good look at your bills and have their payments under control, now you can start to really have a good look at them and start working out a system to get them paid off if you carry any balances. Just take baby steps! Getting organized and under control on the dates is the first step. Remember some of these companies actually like it when you are too busy, they can then nickel and dime you with charges that you are too busy to notice!

Also see Bill Payments - Are You Faced With a Second Job and Emergency Funds - For the Roller Coaster of Life and Debt Assistance - Get out of Debt Fast for more tips and ideas.