One Small Step to Improve Your Finances

One place where I occasionally make a mistake with my finances is paying the credit card bills.  We have two cards that we use regularly, plus we have a couple of cards that we don't use – a military Star card, my husband's American Express, and I have an extra Mastercard (I don't know why.)  I pay all the bills online by making manual transfers.  Once every couple of years, I will forget to make the payment by the due date.  In the past, this was a minor inconvenience, as our cards are all with reputable companies and they've never assessed any nonsensical fees because of my slips.  One time, however, my husband's interest rate went up from 7.9% to 9.9% because I didn't pay his bill on time.  I hadn't set up automatic payments because I like to pay the whole balance, but I'm not always exactly sure that there is going to be enough money in any single account.  This is especially true if we are traveling or PCSing.

Fortunately, I've figured out a solution that works.  I have set up all my credit cards to automatically debit the minimum payment from my checking account on the due date.  The minimum payments aren't much, so I'm not in danger of overdrafting my account by making the minimum payment, but it makes sure that a payment is made.  So far, it has worked great!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • From my experience with all my credit cards with AMEX, Chase and BoA, I have found that scheduled automatic payments do let you pay off the whole balance on the due date. There are usually 3 choices: minimum payment, statement balance and account balance.
    Though I prefer to have it pay the statement balance because that way my account is in the clear, but I don’t have to pay what isn’t due yet and therefore can earn a little more interest on my money before it needs to be taken out.

  • Janice

    I solved that problem by getting rid of my credit card debt, and not using them. Thank you, Dave Ramsey!