"If your check arrives just a day or two after that deadline, you will get hit with a late fee," says Janet Siroto, Executive Editor at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
Once you know when the bills really are due, organize and file them by date so you can pay and mail them on time. And if most of your monthly bills are due on the same day, spread out the dates on a few of them.
"Talk to your lenders about changing your due dates and ask them to move it from say the 10th of the month to the 30th of the month to better accommodate your cash flow needs."
If you're getting socked with one big bill, like your mortgage, ask your lender to convert the loan into biweekly payments. This might trigger a one-time fee, but you'll pay less interest over the loan's life.
"Over the course of a 30 year $100,000 loan at 5% you would actually save $17,000."
And if you're still racking up late fees, pay your bills online. Most bills can be paid just a day before the due date and sometimes even on the same day it's due.
The average late fee charged by a credit card company is $39, so paying those bills on time can save you big bucks.
Ask for a one-time extension. Here's how to phrase it: "Unfortunately, I can't pay my entire balance this month. May I pay $200 now and the rest in two weeks, without a charge, since I have a good credit history with you?
Sign up for a service like Quicken Online or Google's calendar feature, which will send you free bill-due reminders via email or text-message.
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