Here’s some nice news: It may be possible to change the due dates of some of your monthly bills.
This can be a huge relief to many people who find that the bulk of their bills are due at the very beginning of the month, which can make cash flow a challenge. Or, alternately, perhaps you may find it very helpful to space your payments out over the course of a month and add some breathing room to your budget.
Or maybe you have some bills that are maddeningly due a couple of days before you get paid, which can also cause money management issues. Being able to scoot that due date a couple of days into the future could be super convenient.
These adjustments to your bill-paying may indeed be possible, though not every company will allow you to change your billing due date. It can be worth investigating which ones will. How exactly? And are there any downsides to making a shift? Read on for answers, including:
• Why you might want to change your bills’ due dates
• What are the pros and cons of changing your billing due dates
• How you may be able to change a bill’s due date.
Can You Change the Due Dates on Your Bills?
You may be able to change the due dates on some — or, if you’re lucky, all — of your bills. Each company likely has its own policy, but it never hurts to reach out to customer service over the phone, in an email, through an online chat portal, or even in an old-fashioned letter. If the service provider is local, you may also be able to make the request in person. Your request may well be honored, down to exactly which day of the month your bill is due.
However, setting your own bill due dates is never guaranteed. A company has the right to reject your request, but many offer this service as a courtesy to loyal customers.
Why Might Someone Change the Due Dates of Their Bills?
So why might you want to change the payment date for some or all of your bills? There are several reasons why a person might request this service:
Aligning Better with Paydays
If your bill dates are not aligned well with your paydays, you may find that you don’t always have enough money to cover your bills when they are due. If you struggle with spending and budgeting, it could be helpful to schedule bills shortly after a payday. That way you can’t accidentally overspend money that should be earmarked for bills later that month. Scheduling your bill paying like this might help you be more responsible, spending more wisely and paying on time.
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Some people like to stagger their bill-paying throughout the month, but others may find it more convenient for all their bills to come at the same time each month. A single due date each month for all of life’s bills could certainly make them easier to track and remember.
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Ability to Spread It Out So You Are Not Paying All at Once
While paying bills all at once — like right after payday — might make it easier for some people to stay on top of bill payments, others may prefer that their bank account is not drained on a single day, as was mentioned above.
If that’s the case, you may want to do the opposite: change bill dates so that they are spread out throughout the month. This could be especially helpful if your paychecks are irregular—say, if you are a freelancer who depends on clients paying their invoices before you have cash in the bank.
Remembering Pay Dates Will Be Easier
Regardless of when you arrange for your bill due dates to be, it will likely be easier for you to remember if you get to pick the dates. By picking an important date, like the first or last day of each month or the day after payday, it may be easier for you to remember, even without reminders in your phone or on your calendar. And if you sign up for automatic bill payment, it might be a totally seamless process.
Benefits of a Bill Date Change
So what are the pros of changing a bill due date?
• It puts you in control of your budget.
• It can make remembering due dates easier.
• It might help you avoid missed payments and late fees.
Drawbacks of a Bill Date Change
So are there cons to changing a payment date? If you are making the conscious decision to change your billing schedule, you likely have a good reason for it — meaning you probably won’t encounter any drawbacks with the bill date change itself.
However, you might find that you spend a lot of time trying to get a company to change a bill due date, only for them to say no. The wasted time and effort for something that might be declined could be a drawback itself.
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When to Schedule New Pay Dates
So when should you schedule new bill pay dates? That depends on your own paycheck schedule and personal preferences. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a helpful worksheet for organizing all your current bills and due dates. Seeing them on paper may help you determine the best date(s) in your calendar month for bills to process.
Tips for Changing Pay Dates
Changing payment dates might seem intimidating, especially if you don’t like talking to customer service on the phone. But doing so may help you get better control of monthly bills like rent, utilities, subscription services, and even credit card payments. Here are a few tips for changing your bill due dates:
1. Getting organized. It may be helpful if you first make a list of all your recurring payments. When organizing your bills, you can chart out when each bill processes every month. Comparing these to your monthly payday(s) may help you determine the ideal dates for bills to process.
2. Deciding which bill dates should change. Once you have a list of all your recurring bills and ideal pay dates, you can more easily identify which bills need to change. From there, the CFPB recommends calling each company or searching their website to see if they even allow you to change bill dates.
3. Making the necessary requests. To get your due dates changed, you might be able to contact the company by phone, email, online chat, or letter — or even talk to a representative in person. The CFPB offers a useful script if you aren’t sure what to say: “I am requesting a change in my bill payment due date for my [company] bill. I would prefer to have my bill payment due date be on the __th of each month. Thank you for your assistance.”
4. Setting up autopay. If a service provider has an automatic bill pay option, it might be a good idea to schedule this. How bill pay works is that you schedule electronic payments in advance so you don’t have to manually transfer funds or write a check as your due date approaches. It can be an especially good option if you have a bank account with no-fee overdraft coverage. Because of the risk of overdrafting when you set up autopay, however, it might only make sense if you regularly keep more than enough funds in your checking account to cover monthly bills.
5. Scheduling reminders. Even if you have changed payment dates to a schedule that fits your monthly budget, it’s a good idea to schedule reminders in your phone or on your calendar ahead of the payment date. This allows you to ensure you have the funds in your account ahead of an automatic payment or reminds you to manually complete the payment (in person, in the mail, or online) if you don’t have autopay set up.
Can You Always Change Bill Dates?
Many companies will allow you to change bill dates to a schedule that makes sense for your finances. However, no company is required to do this. You may encounter some service providers that do not allow you to change bill dates.
What if You Can’t Change Your Due Date?
If you cannot change your due dates, you can still take some actions to ensure you pay all your bills on time, such as:
• Setting reminders: If you often forget to pay your bills on time but have the funds available, you may just need to schedule reminders for yourself ahead of the due date. Putting a recurring reminder in your calendar (perhaps the one on your phone) can be a wise move.
• Setting money aside until you need it: If you can’t resist the temptation to spend the money available in your checking account and often struggle with a low current or available account balance on the day that bills are due, it might be wise to move money to a separate account for paying bills. And of course, don’t touch those funds for any other sort of spending.
Banking With SoFi
Are you looking for a high-yield bank account that makes it easy to pay your bills on time each month? Consider SoFi’s online bank account. When you sign up with direct deposit, you’ll earn a competitive APY, and eligible accounts can get paycheck access up to two days early — which could help you take care of your bills on time.
How easy is it to change the due date for your bills?
Changing the due date for your bills can be as easy as making a phone call or sending an email to the service provider. However, not every company allows you to change your bill due dates. It is solely done at the company’s discretion.
Can I pay my bill before the due date?
If you are worried about missing a payment or spending too much money before a bill is due, you can make an early bill payment. Paying credit card bills early in particular may not only help you avoid late fees but also improve your credit score.
Is it better to have your bill dates close together or spread out?
The ideal schedule of your bill dates depends on your own financial situation, including your payday schedule and spending habits. Some people may prefer their bill dates to be close together (even on a single day per month) while others might benefit from having them spread out throughout the month.
Photo credit: iStock/Tatomm
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