Use ACH to pay bills during pregnancy ~ Almost a dad

Use ACH to pay bills during pregnancy

The latter months of pregnancy are often very busy with last minute preparation for the forthcoming little one. That full schedule will not ease up after the birth of a child either, and sleep deprivation makes it more difficult to remember little details that don't involve diapers and formula. It seems as though the world revolves solely around the expectant family or newly arrived treasure, but banks, utility companies and credit card companies don't see it in quite the same way.

One highly effective tool for managing time and personal productivity is to use automatic bill payments (especially while caring for/dealing with a pregnant woman and making sure the baby room is prepared). Often known as ACH, automatic bill payments simply deduct the amount owed from one's checking account on a predetermined date on a recurring basis. This service is quite often free and available for sign up through a vendor's website. It typically requires an electronic 'signature' and your checking account number and bank routing number. Certain places require paper forms to be signed and mailed, but it's worth the effort.

Not only does using automatic payments reduce the overhead involved with managing your finances, it helps make sure that you won't miss a payment date. As such, it prevents potential damage to your credit score because of an honest, fatigue-induced mistake. For variable payments (e.g. credit cards) for which the amount is not the same every month, I prefer to set the automatic payment to the minimum so I don't miss any deadlines and then initiate additional payments manually, after the fact.

This approach to personal finances saves time, effort, the cost of stamps and envelopes and makes sure there's never any question about whether or not a bill was paid on time or a check lost in the mail. Some credit card companies will charge a $35 late fee if your payment is even 1 hour past their cut off time; ACH prevents that from being an issue.

Many vendors allow you to change your payment date if you're worried about scheduling your payments around paychecks. I make entries in my Google Calendar for each automatic payment, and set up text message or email notifications on the payment date so I can balance my checking account.

Bills that often can be paid automatically each month include:
- auto insurance
- cable television
- car payments (set up through bank)
- credit card (if carrying a balance)
- life insurance
- phone
- utilities


Lance said...

Just because I've been reading your blog for a while now and I'm super excited, I thought I'd let you know.

Simone, born 2-6-07
8lbs. 5 oz.
20.5inches long.

And beautiful beyond words.

Good luck with your little tike and wish me luck with mine.

take care,


Michelle said...

Good idea!

I really like your blog. It's quite unique -I haven't come across this subject matter before. The world needs more men who are as involved in their role as husband and father as you are.

Salicia said...

I really enjoy your blog and I have shared it with my boyfriend. I think he will like it as well.

With ACH I'd just be careful to make note of the withdrawal date somewhere.

I'm an insurance agent and sometimes clients are not aware that ACH takes 3 business days to process.

This means if your card expires or changes, or you need to split the payment between two cards, it is best to make these changes at least 3 business days prior to the withdrawal date.

This is because during the 3 days, the company is sending a request to the bank/credit card company and waiting for approval to withdraw the funds. If you need to make a change during that time, the company is not always able to pull back their request, they must wait for the payment to be denied or accepted by the company.

Just a heads up, some, not all companies are like this.

Thank you again for all the helpful info you provide on your blog. It is a godsend for first time parents!