Earlier this year I wrote an article on how one can manage their bills effectively. If you have not read that one ( read it here). I would like to just do a fellow up based on my most recent experience.
I noticed that when I received my municipality bill of last month, there was a credit to my account. As a result of this credit done, municipality owed me N$37 instead of owing them my monthly fee which is roughly N$800. I never bothered to query it and proceeded to make my normal payment.
This month, I noted the same thing, there was another credit and the N$37 has now increased to roughly N$600. I then queried because I thought maybe someone was making errors on my accounts which might have penalties later. To my surprise, I learned that there was a downward valuation done on the house and as a result, municipality has been over charging me with rates and taxes. They than back dated the lower rates and all clients affected got a rebate.
I do not know how to feel about it. I can rejoice because my monthly bill has declined, meaning I have a higher disposable income , which I might channel to my audacious goal ( read it here). Or, I can be sad that my house is actually of less value than they actually thought, meaning should I want to sell it, I might actually struggle to make a profit. Not that I really have any intention to sell it anytime soon but just a thought.
My points being :
- When you receive statements, pay attention to the details. You could be overpaying because of an error someone made or you could be paying when you should not.
- Find ways to pay your bills effectively. If you can EFT, it is cost effective and may save you time of standing in long ques. In addition, having bills on your statement with better descriptions makes it easier to track your expenses rather than withdrawing money and later trying to remember what you used the money for.
- Allow room for flexibility. Do not put all your expenses on debit orders because if Christmas time come early like this, you might be overpaying when you should not be. I know you can ask the bank to make a reduction in your debit order amount but that would probably require some paper work and time to go visit the bank.
As a result of the rebate, this month I have no municipal bill and I will probably not have next month too. So what do I do with the money I should have been paying to municipality? This is where discipline come in.
- I could choose to pay either way and build a credit. This will help me have a margin of safety in dry months like January when cash is normally tight. If I choose to do this, I just need to ensure that I check on a monthly basis that my credit is loaded and that all payments are allocated correctly.
- I could choose to use the money on something else as the credit on my municipality account does not earn any interest. So in my case, I dumped it on my home loan.
Learning the simple ways to manage your money is what will make a difference. How are you handling your bills?