Budget billing has drastically helped us live on a budget. So if you’re wondering what budget billing is, let’s talk about it!
It is equal and fixed payments each month for household expenses like electricity, gas and/or water services.
Why is This Important?
Well, the more consistency you build into your finances each month, the less stress you will have. Unexpected expenses can derail the best budget simply because we’re not prepared to take on additional costs.
Budget billing creates equal and fixed monthly payments for your household utilities. This reduces surprises of higher than expected electric or gas bill which can sometimes double during the winter or summer months.
So today’s post is all about budget billing and I even have a video below to share with you.
How to Get Started?
First, if you are currently paying your own living expenses, now you know why your parents used to say, “When you leave out the room, turn off the light!”
Utilities can be an expensive part of managing a household budget. Whether you rent or own a home, on average, costs for electric, gas, water, septic, and/or trash collection was reported by ValuePenguin.com to be about $320/per month.
Here is the thing, we don’t live on averages.
For instance, imagine in June, your total utilities were $320 but in November due to the change in seasons, your utilities are now $450! That $130 increase can be drastic and might cause you to run out of money before the end of the month.
Unexpected expenses usually cause a domino affect creating late payments, overdrawn accounts, fees and penalties and even worse, disconnection of services.
Why bother with the uncertainty when a regular and fixed payment for household expenses could eliminate the drama.
If you’re ready to jump in, let’s get started.
The first thing to do is to contact the service provider for your utilities. Simply call and ask for details or visit their website for full details about Equal Payment Plans.
Here are some guidelines:
Your monthly payment is based on last year’s usage. Even if this is your first time living in a property, usually averages can be retrieved from the prior owner. Based on last year’s average usage, 11 equal payments are determined. On the 12th month, there is an analysis to determine if there is a credit or a debit due on the account.
If there is a credit, you don’t pay anything!
If there is a debit, the balance is owed and/or a new monthly payment is calculated and applied going forward.
Once you agree to the equal payment amount, ask for the required due date. This is critical.
One of the standard requirements of enrolling into an equal payment plan is to pay the bill on time each month. Paying after the due date is one way to disqualify you from the service.
If a due date does not fit into the best time of the month for you, kindly ask a customer care associate if another date could work. If allowed, choose the date that works best for you and STICK TO IT.
There is not a fee for Equal Payment Plan services. Isn’t that awesome! It’s a free service to you and provides a huge benefit to your monthly budget. So never pay a fee.
Take the Action Needed
There are so many benefits to budget billing, or equal payment plans.
I have talked to so many people who like the idea but they are also concerned about what could happen in the 12th month.
They’re thinking…What if I owe a balance and I’m not able to pay it?
Well, my response…What if there is a credit!
Keep it simple and don’t worry about what you can’t control.
What you do know is that you have the ability to make each equal payment. Trust that information for now and believe that things will work out in the end.
Trust me, you can do this!
Gather your monthly utility statements and start making calls. If you can’t start all of the plans at once, start with just one.
Once you know the cost of the equal payment plan, confirm the due date.
From there, log into your bank’s bill pay service and schedule the new payment. At least for the next 11 months, you know the exact payment.
If concerned about owing a large debit or payment at the 12th month, just begin preparing for it.
Either add an extra $10/month into a savings account or be prepared to pull it from your Emergency Fund.
Check out my post about Starting an Emergency Fund. A good savings plan is critical to changing poor financial habits.
So are you ready to get started? If you need more convincing, check out this video for more details about my budget billing experience!
I believe in you!