How do you feel about stress? Is it your friend, or not? Does your stress level affect your symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder? Is it harder to stay focused and organized when you have higher levels of stress? How much of your stress is caused by unpaid bills or bills that are paid late? Both of these events can damage your credit report. This can lead to destructive stress!
Stress comes in a couple of different flavors. Thereís the delicious stress of racing the clock to meet a deadline. You know that you can make it, but thereís just enough doubt to pump up your adrenaline. Many people with Attention Deficit Disorder are attracted to this natural way to bring focus to their minds. Adrenaline can do the same job that stimulant medications do for us.
Thereís the other kind of stress that is painful. Family problems can bring on massive amounts of stress. So can money worries. When your organizational skills get off-track, as can happen easily with ADD, bills can pile up. As they accumulate, stress levels rise. All of the ignoring in the world canít make that little panicky feeling go away when you know that your financial future is being compromised. This type of stress can cause you to become paralyzed with worry. When you have ADD, this is one of the worst problems that you can have. You must make a plan to deal with these money concerns.
First, you need to track down all of your money. Do you just have a salary? How often are you paid? When does the money go into your account? If you have dividends or payments from a source other than your salary, you need to take those monies into account. After you know how much money that you have and when you get it, you need to find out how much you have going out of your account.
Look at all of the bills. You should find your fixed payments, variable payments, monthly, quarterly, semi-yearly, and yearly monies owed. After looking at your income, decide when you will schedule each bill. If you have trouble doing these two steps, ask a trusted family member or friend to help. These are essential steps for making payments on time.
Now, itís time to make your life easier. Ask your friends if they use online banking. If they do, see if they like the banking service that they use. Here are questions that you will want to ask. Is the interface with the bank user friendly? Can they see what money they have spent and what they still have? Are their payments easy to schedule? If they have an unexpected expense and have to reschedule a payment, are they able to do that? Can they transfer funds between accounts without penalty? Does the bank update records promptly? Is the service available at all times?
Once you have a bank chosen, talk to the person in charge of online bill paying services. Ask them to describe the services. If it still sounds good, sign up!
Choose a strong password for your bill payer account. Donít include names, dates, or significant places. A good way to make a password is to choose a phrase that makes sense to you. Use initials that correspond to the words in the phrase. They should be upper and lower-case. Use a couple of numbers and some special symbols.
Set aside a certain time and place to deal with bills. Donít use a public computer or an unsecured network. If you are using a wireless connection, make sure that it is password protected.
Start scheduling your fixed monthly bills using your bill payer account. These bills can be set up to be scheduled automatically each month. Then, at least a couple of weeks before they are due to be paid, go into the bill payer account and schedule the upcoming bills of variable amounts. Set aside money for quarterly, semi-annual, and annual bills. The bank will mail your payments out for you. One of the best parts of this is that you can do it from home and have a record of what has been paid. I still file the bills, with the date that they were paid, in a filing cabinet. If Iíve needed to call a business to discuss a bill, I write the date, time, who I talked to, and what we each said that we would do.
If you want a record of your bills that have been paid, download the bank record to a spreadsheet on a weekly basis. Setting up a spreadsheet isnít a trivial matter, but it isnít painfully difficult, either. There are online tutorials about making spreadsheets. People who use Quicken can download bank records to a file and import it into Quicken. When you begin this process set aside several hours to thoroughly work through the tutorial. These electronic records can save massive amounts of time when you need records to file income taxes. With Attention Deficit Disorder, saving time and staying organized is paramount in helping to manage symptoms.
Life is too short to spend it reacting to damaging stress. Using an electronic bill payer account can simplify your life by helping you stay organized so that you can keep better track of your money. Then, you will be able to pay your bills on time. Thatís a wonderful feeling.
Here are links to a couple of tools to help you get electronic bill paying organized.
Quicken Home & Business 2012 [Download]
Excel 2010 All-in-One For Dummies