We’ve said in the past that we’re users of Microsoft Money to manage our day-to-day personal finances. We love how it receives automatic updates for most of our accounts’ activities. We use it to keep track of where our money goes and serves as our electronic checkbook ledger.
Another useful tool of Money is their Bills Insights – it keeps a list of our monthly bills, when they are due, and approximately (or exactly) how much is due on them each month. I’ll usually check this once or twice a week to keep me abreast of what’s coming to gauge our cash flow. More importantly, it allows me to check if a bill hasn’t arrived in the mail that should have.
Late last week, I checked out the status of our bills on Money, and I noticed that one bill that was only 2 days before its due date. It was the credit card that allowed us to put $11,000 in student loans on it at 1.9% for life, of course on the condition that we make all of our payments on time. There was no way that a regular online payment would have posted before the due date, so we opted to use the over the phone payment. We had to eat a $15 surcharge for the privilege (read:stupidity) of being able to make a same day payment over the phone.
As Her stated so nicely a few weeks back: it’s easy to just coast and let everything take care of itself, but it can lead to bad things. We eventually found the bill in a neglected corner of our house. We learned a good lesson: it pays (literally) to be more organized so that important stuff doesn’t fall through the cracks. But it is also good to have some built-in checks to make sure that a missed payment doesn’t happen.