Stop Procrastinating With Credit Card Payments

A man is frustrated talking on the phone
© David and Les Jacobs / Blend Images / Getty

We all drag our feet with certain tasks from time to time, but procrastinators make a habit of it. Procrastination is more than just putting off something until a later time, it involves delaying a tasks knowing that doing so may have harmful consequences.

Why Do We Sometimes Procrastinate?

Some people procrastinate because they get a rush from doing things at the last minute. For example, you know your credit card payment cut off time is 5:00 PM on the due date, but you habitually log on at 4:58 to feel the victory of getting your payment made just in the nick of time.

Or, you may delay paying your credit card payment because you don’t want to part with the money, so you delay paying the bill.

People who don’t like making decisions may wait to be in a certain frame of mind to pay their bills.

Once you get in the habit of paying at the last minute, it can be hard to break that habit. If you don’t have a reminder system, you could forget. Or, you skip out on bill paying to do something else.

Consequences of Procrastinating With Credit

Procrastinating may cause you to pay your credit card bills late, which in turn leads to late fees, higher interest rates, and damaged credit. Or, you may put off depositing checks into your account, as a result, you don’t have enough money to cover your bills and you have overdrafts and returned payments.

Not only can procrastination lead to expensive late fees, higher interest rate, and damaged credit, it could also have an impact on your health, causing increased stress.

Your loved ones may be affected if they’re depending on you to pay the bills. Services can be disconnected. Purchasing privileges may be suspended on shared credit cards.

How to Overcome Bill Paying Procrastination

Set your bills to auto pay. Rather than try to gear yourself up for paying your bills, set as many bills as you can to be automatically paid.

That way, your payments are made on the due date without any action on your part. And if you don’t already, have your pay set to direct deposit, so you don’t have to make a trip to the bank to make a deposit.

Reward yourself for bills paid on time. Some procrastinators may feel a sense of reward from delaying their payments. Avoiding late fees and saving your credit is reward in itself. If you need additional incentive for paying your bills on time, consider making a small deposit into a “splurge fund” money for each bill you pay on time.

Keep a bill checklist. Having a list of monthly bills along with their amounts and due dates can help you stay on track with your payments. You can even set a calendar reminder in your phone or email client to remind you when your bills are coming due. Your credit card issuers may have a mobile app with payment due date alerts.

Don’t overthink it. The more thought you have to put into paying your bills, the easier it will be to talk yourself into saving the bills for another day. Decide upfront how much you’re going to pay. Will it be the minimum? The entire balance? $100? Set an amount and stick to it.

Have someone hold you accountable. Having the support of another person can keep motivate you to change your habits.

Enlist a spouse, relative, friend, or even an accountant or financial planner, to help you stay on top of your bill paying habits.