The One Thing Not to Say After You Pay Your Bills
We all have monthly bills to pay. It can be an emotionally painful ordeal to pay those recurring obligations for months on end. Sometimes we have to reach and stretch to make the money last the full month.
What do you feel and say to yourself after you have paid all of your monthly bills?
I have assumed different personalities as a bill payer over the years. I’m sure others have as well. Some examples of thoughts that might pop in your mind after that last payment is sent for the month:
The proud bill payer might have these thoughts: “I made it!” or “I think I’ll call Dave Ramsey and get an attaboy.”
The relieved bill payer goes in a different direction: “Whew – that was close!” and “I’m glad the month ran out before the money did.”
The frustrated bill payer: “Why did I buy that stupid gadget and charge it?” or “My car is on life support and I’m still making payments?”
The annoyed bill payer: “That pay check sure disappeared in a hurry!” or “No more kids for me!” but more likely “No more ex’s for me!”
I can’t really argue with any of these emotions. We’ve all had at least some of them. They’re legit and likely therapeutic.
So what is the one thing you don’t want to say after you’e paid all of your monthly bills?
I’ll vote for this no-no from a reckless bill payer: “Finished at last – now I can spend the rest!”
Too many folks look at meeting their monthly payment obligations as sort of a spending traffic light. When the bills are paid, the light turns from yellow to green. Whatever money remains in the bank becomes fair game for the spender. According to this story, 70% of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck. For some, it’s a matter of necessity. For others it’s a mis-guided bill-paying state of mind.
This is how bill-paying success can lead to financial failure.
Of course we should feel good about getting our monthly bills behind us. But we should not reward ourselves with a spending hall pass.
Next month that car on life support may need a transmission transplant. Where will the money come from? Not from that bank account if you’ve spent it during last month’s shopping celebration.
What should you do instead? You could rely on will-power and not even think about the post-bill paying leftovers. That’s a high risk strategy.
I suggest paying one last bill – to yourself. Move the remaining money to a different account. This could be a long-term savings account or where you keep your emergency fund. Whatever it is, make it difficult to access on the fly. You can leave a little behind as a personal allowance, but only a little. Pat yourself on the back in other, less tangible ways.
So what is your bill paying personality?