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credit cards & debt avoiding strategy

yes, I am 34 years old and still tweaking my personal finances to be able to pay off my credit cards every month. you'd think the formula would be settled by now.

basically, I don't want to carry credit card balances. ever. but it hits me occasionally, and I finally figured out it was a timing thing, because bills are due at the same times every month, but I get paid every other week. my bill paying strategy was simple: is a bill due? drain the account to pay it.

but then sometimes I just wouldn't have the money. so I'd carry a balance, go into "don't buy shit mode" for a while, and deal. I think my crunch times were usually when I had no paycheck between the 1st and 10th of the month, because I pay the mortgage on the 1st of the month then have a card due on the 10th and if there's no paycheck in between there it screws things up.

so for whatever reason, I just changed all the bills I have power over to be due on the 17th. I WILL get a paycheck sometime between the 1-15th, so on the 15th of every month I will pay bills. I added up the things I've budgeted for credit card billing, and they should add up to slightly less than one paycheck, so I'll know right away if I spent too much one month. Paychecks after the 15th go to the mortgage.

I'll report back on whether this helps, I always wondered why credit card companies offered "change your due date" as a perk, and what could the strategy be there? I've never heard of anyone changing due dates around. We'll see how this goes.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
We both only get paid once a month, on the first of the month, so we get everything paid by the 12th. I thought I'd dislike getting paid once a month but it actually makes it really easy for us! We had to change some of our dates because the cell phone being due on the 30th really sucked.
Jan. 26th, 2015 01:30 am (UTC)
I'm a credit card bill date changer. When I was working, I used to do essentially what you have set up... get all my bills to be due in sync with one check and then live off the other one. Then I went several years getting paid by the month so I'd move it (and other bills) to be due just after that paycheck. I'm pretty OCD about bill paying.

Now I have a pension check that covers my mortgage and my cable bill and it comes in on the 1st so those bills come in on the first, too, and are atomagically paid.

Soon I will have a social security check that, I think, will come in on the 1st, so I'll move more bills closer to then, too.

I use two credit cards - a Visa and a Discover. I'm a little OCD about them. I keep spreadsheets of what's hit the cards and what will hit them (pending) and so what I truly owe (as opposed to what they say I owe) and I pay it to zero generally twice a month or more often (I hate big balances). Being retired gives you plenty of time for micro managing stuff.

I decided the other day to change Discover to the 1st and went into do that and was told that I have to wait because I changed it less than 90 days ago :(
Jan. 26th, 2015 01:33 am (UTC)
I had the same problem; I changed all mine to after the 2nd paycheck too and then I'm fine, except for the months I don't get paid at all (because that's academia for you).
Jan. 26th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Reading your post I realize just how anal I am about tracking every input and output. Every credit card transaction is recorded - I have *every* known transaction until the end of the year input and if I don't know it's estimated based on prior bills. The amounts are all documented and "pre-withdrawn" from the primary account based the incoming paycheques.

I love my spreadsheet..so very much.
Jan. 26th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
I just don't use credit cards. We pay 5 bills: mortgage, water/city, electric, cell phones, and internet. I use Mint to keep track of when each is due. Life is very simple. :)
Jan. 27th, 2015 01:32 am (UTC)
I'm interested to know the outcome!!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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