Esther's Insights: Paying Bills

Paying Bills

Esther SmithIt is that time of year when you start thinking about reorganizing your personal finance records and promising yourself that you will do a better job this year than last in keeping up with your bills. Here are some tips that I hope will help.

Paying Your Bills

Most banks offer their customers large print checks with bold lines with a light contrasting background such as yellow. You can contact customer service at your bank to find out about these checks. I have used these quite successfully.

Some people like using a bold-line 20/20 pen for writing checks, but I find that using a dark medium-point pen works best for me.

You can set up your own large-print registry book or these are available for purchase. I have developed codes for my regular bills so that all I have to do is write the code, the check number, and the amount. Here are some examples of codes: UB for utility bill or EB for electric bill. You may want to ask a trusted neighbor or friend to transcribe the information for you or even engage an accounting service for a monthly fee.

Another option is to have regular monthly bills such as telephone, water, electric and cable deducted automatically from your account monthly. Electronic book keeping systems are also available for people who use a computer. Most banks have a customer service number you can call to determine what checks have cleared and your balances.

Keeping Track of Your Bills

I tend to lose my bills and forget if I have paid them. So I try to pay them as soon as they come in and then file them in a paid drawer that I keep for that purpose.

Some people use an expanding portfolio that has a pocket for each month and can be labeled with large-print or braille labels. The bills that are due can be placed in order by date in the portfolio and tracked in that way.

A word to the wise. Be very careful with your account numbers. Keep them in a safe place and share, if you must, only with trusted individuals.

Equipment That Can Help

  • You may want to think about using a labeling device that can label folders in large print or braille.

  • Instead of trying to add everything in your head, try a talking calculator. These are readily available through Specialty Product Sources.

  • If you have low vision, you may want to consider investing in an electronic magnification system. These come in desktop and portable models.

  • Scanner-reader machines are another option. These come in stand-alone models or types that connect to a computer with speech. Using these machines, you can scan your bills and have them read back to you. I have been using one for several years.

You may also want to read some of the information found in our Tax Guide.

Good luck with your organizing!

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