Get Organized and Streamline Your Bill Paying Sessions

The fact that paying bills is not one of your favorite activities is actually an excellent reason to get organized and streamline your bill paying sessions. If you haven’t taken advantage of paying your bills online, you need to. By creating a routine and maintaining a location to take care of all bill related activities, you’ll find the entire process is shortened and becomes less stressful. A regular weekly payment session and singular storage location will also eliminate missed payments or lost bills. Utilizing paperless bills and automatic payment options will further simplify the process.

Designate a Place in Your Home to Pay and Store Bills

Instead of randomly placing bills around your home or storing them in your purse, wallet, car, etc., designate a location where you’ll keep all of your paper bills together. Ideally, this will be a space with an open table or desk containing: 1) a file to hold paperwork in an organized way (by order of due date is excellent), 2) materials to pay bills (pens, envelopes, stamps), and 3) a computer to check online balances. It’s a great idea to write the due date of any opened bill on the outside of the envelope in which it came to simplify the payment process. When the time comes to pay those bills, you’ll know exactly where they are and will avoid missing one or more payments.

Create a Weekly Time Slot to Pay Bills

Set aside one time slot per week to pay your bills. Even if you aren’t paid weekly, chances are excellent that you’ll have one or more bills due over the course of the next seven days. Make sure you have enough funding to cover any checks going out that week and move money from one account to another if needed. Provided you have marked the outside envelopes of your bills with their due date and have kept them in order, this weekly process should take a only a few minutes and will simplify your life.

Go Paperless and Set Up Automatic Payments

Perhaps one of the easiest methods to simplify the bill paying process is to go paperless and shift to automatic payments that directly draw from your checking or saving account(s) on the due date for each bill (or any pre-determined date you choose). You’ll still need to maintain your weekly bill paying session to open and review electronic billing notices and ensure that you have enough funding in your account(s) for any upcoming bills, but you’ll never need to write another check or open another paper envelope containing a bill. You may even be able to choose the recurring date to have payments drawn from your account(s), allowing you to wait until right after payday for extra ease in your routine.

How I reduced my financial stress

I use one credit card for all utilities, memberships and recurring automatic payments and another card for everyday spending such as gas, lunches coffee and anything I haven’t planned for. This has reduced the amount of bills to pay each month down to two. Plus, I never need to worry about overdraft fees or compromising my checking account. An additional perk is that I get rewards on all purchases made using the cards. It’s not for everyone, and it critically important to pay the balances off each month. But for me, it’s made my financial life much easier to manage.

What system do you use? Let me know in the comments section below.

What Job Seekers Can Expect in 2017

job interview first impressionsA strong jobs report in December was a good sign for Americans seeking jobs as the new year has started.  However, there are some new trends emerging in the job-search process.  Successful candidates will be the ones who know what these trends are and how to navigate them.

Expect To Respond Quickly

Companies are paying attention to how quickly applicants answer questions and complete required assessments.  They’re then using this response time as part of their hiring decision.  In addition to the rating references provide, employers are looking closely at how fast references respond.  Be prepared for this trend by complying with requests quickly.  Have your list of job references ready and make sure your references are available and know you’re on a job hunt.

Expect More Online Interactions

Job seekers can expect to participate in online assessment screenings and job interviews.  As with an in-person interview, making a great first impression is important.  Be presentable and care for potential interruptions, such as phones ringing, dogs barking, and kids making noise.  Ensure the space around you appears neutral and professional.

Expect To Be Sourced

Companies are using every resource they can to hire qualified candidates, including searching professional social media platforms like LinkedIn.  Make sure you update your pages and use a current, professional photo.  Consider reviewing your personal social media accounts.  Delete or make private anything that might make an unfavorable impression with a potential employer.

Expect To Be Treated Well

As unemployment continues to decrease, companies are competing for the most talented candidates.  Expect to be treated well and for companies to be open to salary and benefits negotiation. However, don’t be overly demanding or you might have your job offer withdrawn.

It’s a job seeker’s market right now.  Keep these trends in mind for a successful job search in 2017.  Have any tips to share?  Let me know what I’ve missed in the comment section.

Career Resolutions for the New Year

Man working at home

It’s time to think about your New Year’s resolutions.  Here are some recommended career resolutions you might want to consider as you decide what improvements you want to make in 2017.

Develop a networking habit

Networking can be key to your success in your current job or in discovering new career opportunities.  Start early.  Reach out to your current network contacts and ask about their holidays and how the new year is starting out for them.  Use your lunch hour to meet with new people or reconnect with people you don’t see every day.  Commit to doing this once a week, and you’ll have 52 networking opportunities this year.

Manage your online presence

Many of us fail to stay in touch with our clients and networking contacts through professional social media platforms.  Take the time to update your profile on the professional social media platforms you use.  Be sure to use a professional photo that’s current.  Get in the habit of posting topics about your business industry and your career expertise.  Review your personal social media platforms and delete anything that casts you in a bad light with clients or your employer.

Spend your morning wisely

Many of us arrive at work with thoughts of what we want to accomplish during the day.  Before we know it, the morning has slipped away and we’re nowhere near completing what we hoped we would.  To prevent that from happening, take 10 minutes to create a plan for the day.  Prioritize the things you want to accomplish and spend your morning working on the most important task.  Even if the rest of your day gets away from you, at least you’ve completed your most important task of the day.

Go outside your comfort zone

Stretch beyond your day-to-day and do something outside your comfort zone in 2017.  Think about your career goals and interests and explore your options. Join a cross-functional team, such as an employee resource network or a company sports team.  Develop your leadership skills to prepare yourself for the next step up the career ladder.  If you don’t have the opportunity to build your leadership skills at work, consider joining a civic group or charitable organization.  Whether at work or while you’re volunteering, refine your old skills and develop new ones.

Ask for what you want

Too many of us sit back and wait for the things we want to come to us.  In many cases, our management team isn’t aware of what we want.  Don’t be afraid to ask for training, feedback, a mentor, or a paid membership in a professional organization.  You’ll tell your boss a lot about yourself when you start asking for development opportunities.

After you decide on your 2017 career resolutions, tackle one or two at a time instead of trying to implement them all at once.  Focusing on those that are most important to you first.  Doing so will help you stick to your resolutions and set you up for success in the coming year.
%d bloggers like this: