So far, we have talked about the different methods folks use to pay bills every month (if you get paid every two weeks). I’ve actually been having a bit of a go at my readers on this one, this whole Bill Surfing thing is pretty obvious, but maybe not, it took me a while to figure it out.
Bill Surfing Set up
- Make a list of all your monthly bills (with how much they are usually)
- Order this list by most expensive to least expensive
- Sum the entire list and then divide that value by 2 to figure out how much your “goal” should be for each bi-weekly pay cheque.
That’s about it, with the following caveat to watch out for. You do not want to pay any bills LATE, so if some bills must be paid earlier in the month or later in the month, that is the pay cheque it gets paid on. I almost did this with my Mortgage which actually has to be paid by the 22 of the month, so I was almost paying it late, but luckily my bank pointed out the folly of my ways.
The first pay cheque in the month we will label Pay Cheque #1 and the second pay cheque, Pay Cheque #2 (if there are three pay cheques in the month, you don’t have to pay bills with that one, if you don’t want to).
Pay Cheque #1
First put all bills that must be paid within the fourteen day period of that month (for this example we’ll say all bills that must be paid from the 1st to the 14th of the month). These bills must be paid, so you really don’t have a choice, so pay them! Sum up how much these bills are and compare them to your “goal” bill payment. If these bills add up to the “goal” already, you are done.
If, however, you still have money left to pay bills, find other bills that need to be paid and add them to your list for this pay cheque and pay them as well, until you are close enough to your “goal” bill payment for that pay cheque. Then you are done.
Pay Cheque #2
Pay all left bills from Pay Cheque #1 (and presumably any bills that must be paid between the 15th and 28th of the month). There you have it you are done.
Pay the bills on the day you get paid (that way you are not leaving money around to accidental get spent later, leaving you in a bind).
The left over money is yours to work with now and your bills are paid, and you have one less thing to worry about.
A Few Important Points
Bill surfing is just an idea to make sure you have a good money flow, and you need to work with it to ensure you pay ALL your bills ON TIME, this is the MOST important part of it.
If you have bills that are paid straight from your bank account, you need to take them into account each month as your pay cheques will move around (if you are paid every two weeks), so some months you will need to use some finesse to work around those bills.
Income tax payments are coming straight off my pay, so I don’t worry about that, but if you don’t make sure you put THAT on your list of bills as well.
Have fun with this and make it work for you, in a way that makes your life simpler.
Here is another page from my monetary statement, that is effectively my “bill score sheet” for the month with my monthly/weekly payments sprinkled in. Feel free to use this as a template to work from:
Mortgage Payment (divided by 2)
I am always impressed by the intelligence of the comments of all of my readers.
Seems that great minds think alike……
AH HA!!!! You have been reading ahead.
Stay tuned for Bill Surfing the next generation where I will outline the REAL way to do all of this, it will sound very familiar.
I’ve been paying my bills like this for ages. I don’t have to juggle either…I just waited for one of those rare ‘three paycheque months’ and got a head-start. I had two bills that automatically came out on very specific days of the month–so I set up a second chequing account for those.
I still pay half on each payday, but I pay them into a separate account. Then I know the cash is always sitting there, waiting to be paid out. I do this with my rent as well (separate account), as my landlord cannot be trusted to take out my rent cheque at the first of the month–which seriously messes with my cash flow.
The other advantage to this, is that at the end of the year, I’ve made a complete extra payment into the account, which can then be paid as a lump onto my debt, or dropped into RRSPs/savings.
thanks for such a practical, down-to-earth post on this facet of every canadian’s life! (hmm. do hell’s angels pay bills too? lol). For those who prefer not to even think about it after doing your exercise, most banks let you post-date online bill payments, or, if you’re willing to lose a bit of control, most bill payees will set up preauthorized payments that they take automatically. This ensures everything is, as you pointed out, paid on time.