Auto-Pay Your Way To A Worry-Free Day

by Katy on July 4, 2008 · 4 comments

What if you could consistently shave a few bucks off your monthly bills, possibly much more? 

What if this change was also good for the environment and would simplify your life?

Sounds pretty darn good, doesn’t it?

My 12-year-old son and husband went on a two-week class trip to Japan last summer. My husband had been the one in charge of making sure bills got paid on time, and I was worried some stray bill would get forgotten in his absence.

So I set up all the bills for auto-pay.

I’d been meaning to do this for awhile, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. I thought it would involve elaborate insider banking knowledge. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. In a short amount of time, I was able to set up auto-pay for our:

  • Mortgage
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Newspaper
  • Phone bills, both land line and cellular
  • Credit Card
  • Water
  • Car payment

I’m far from techo-savvy, but the different company websites for make switching over to auto-pay a snap. 

Now, I simply receive monthly e-statements of bill amounts due, and that sum is automatically deducted from our checking account.


Never an accidental late fee, always on time.

Doing electronic billing saves an enormous amount of paper. Javelin Strategy and Research found that:

“If every American household viewed and paid bills online, it could reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year and help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons. This could also save an estimated 18.5 million trees a year.”

And at the current price of 42 cents per stamp, I’m saving at least $4.20 per month, not to mention the occasional late fees we used to get. 

Research sponsored by Wells Fargo reported that:

Online bill presentment and payment is also a huge timesaver, saving an individual, on average, two hours per month.

Two hours, huh? I could use that time to do sit-ups, cook impressive gourmet meals, polish the silver or, um. . .  sleep.

Paying bills automatically is one of those great situations where doing the right thing environmentally will also save you money, time and stress. There’s no reason to put it off any longer.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sweet Tart July 4, 2008 at 6:11 am

I’ve been paying most of my bills via autopay for years. At first I was worried that I would forget or not have enough money in my account and that it would all go horribly wrong, but it’s actually a great budgeting tool and helped me become more aware of when bills were due and how much I was spending.


joetaxpayer July 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

You are right regarding the savings. If you’s ever stack 10 bills and time yourself, you’ll find you’re saving much time as well, especially on the bills that allow you to set up well in advance.

One warning – Credit cards are notorious for changing due dates. They pull in and you’re late. In my case, I had one set to pay shortly after the bill was cut, and by moving the cycle out I *Paid too early*, before the bill was cut, and looked like I made no payment on the next cycle. Talked my way out of the late fee, but that was an eye opener.


Sparkyk1971 July 7, 2008 at 5:13 am

I pay all my bills online but have never felt comfortable doing auto-pay. What if something happens and my paycheck does not direct-deposit on time? It’s certainly happened before – payroll snafu. Or what if I lost my job? Then auto-debits are occurring with no money to back them up and I have NSF fees. Nope, don’t trust it. I also know people where the bank auto-debited something like the mortgage twice, by accident, but what a mess to sort out. No, thanks.


Jennifer July 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

I get eStatements, but I still manually go to the websites to set up one-time payments. Much like Sparky, I am afraid of snafus.

I just wish I could convince my natural gas company to not charge $3.45 per month for ePay. I still have to mail that one.


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