Writing Checks

Melanie and I have decided that one of my household chores will be paying all of the monthly bills.  We made that decision several months before we got married.   Mel’s system was to let all the bills stack up and pay them all once a month.  That blew my mind since each bill was on a different pay schedule and is due at a different time each month.  I wasn’t worried that she was overspending or collecting debt or anything, it was just very different from what was then my personal habit of paying each bill the same day I received it (turns out, when you only get one bill a month, that is an easy habit to keep).  I used to kid her about her system and how it doesn’t really work, which she would deny.  We would kid each other like this:

R: This system doesn’t work!  The due dates are all different!
M: Yes it does!  The bills come once a month. I pay them once a month.  It works!
R:  Then why are there two unopened bills here from the same company?  How does that happen?
M:  Stay out of my biz, nosey!  When we’re married, you can pay the billz if you’re so excited about it.

So now I pay the bills.  But here’s my deal:  I don’t pay bills online.  I write checks for all of them.   I’m interested in saving paper by going paperless, and I’m tech savvy enough to do it, but it just doesn’t seem that appealing for several reasons: 
1. Writing checks is easy and quick.  It doesn’t take me any longer to write 15 checks than it would take to log into 15 different web sites to make payments.
2. Who can remember all the monthly bills each month and remember to pay them?  The unpaid bill on my coffee table (or nacho table, as I like to call it since I don’t drink coffee) is a reminder to pay the bill.  A reminder email would get lost in my inbox, I fear.
3.  I file away the bills after I pay them, so that i have a physical record of what I’ve paid to who.  Going digital would no longer give me a physical record (unless I print the digital receipts – but that isn’t exactly going paperless…)
4. Allowing companies to charge whatever they want to my credit card each month without my authorization (so that I wouldn’t have to remember to log in each month) scares me a little bit.  I’ve done it before with my cell phone bill and it was entirely uneventful and simple, but it makes me uneasy.  (Especially if I were ever to end up in a dispute with someone over a bill – if they’ve already deducted the funds from my checking account because I’ve authorized them to…. I’ve already lost.)
So what do y’all think?  Am I the only one who still pays the billz with checks?  Anyone else uneasy about automatic debit stuff?  How do you pay your monthly billz?  Do you write checks?  Do you log onto each web site and authorize payments?  Do you authorize automatic payments?  Do you use a bank bill-pay service?

7 comments to Writing Checks

  • Tara

    I still pay the bills by writing checks. But since I have been moving around so much, for my credit card I do have an online set up so if I need to pay it before my bill actually comes I can, but I don't like to use it. I agree w/you, it makes me feel uneasy about doing it online it doesn't help that I don't think that I have the proper security on my computer to do so either. I also file the bills right after I pay them (even w/a little note of when I sent the check in, check #, and amount). I guess it was the way I was brought up?

  • I don't have many bills right now. The bills I do have currently, are deducted automatically from my bank account. This wasn't always the case. When I marry, I would like to pay bills with checks as well. It seems more secure and easy to track since you file the paperwork and have a copy of the check stub as well.

  • I pay my bills online and I do it twice a month: I know which bills I pay at the beginning and which ones I pay at the middle of the month. However, I never do the automatic debits, especially because of the point you made of when there might be a dispute or discrepancy that I don't even see until after the fact.

    I've thought about paying my bills with checks for the reasons you've outlined, but I really hate buying stamps, and that's the only reason I don't.

  • So I'm not alone in writing checks.. that's good to hear. Darcy, you're right.. buying stamps is lame.

  • i work for a bank…so thus I definitely use a the online bill pay system and automatic debits. It saves time and money. The online system is very secure too…and you know your payment got there, with a check there is always that chance of getting lost in the mail.

  • We pay almost everything online through bill pay. We have all of our bills sent to a folder in our email, so I don't worry about not noticing them. I do worry some about the security, but I also worried when I paid with checks that it would get lost in them mail, or not arrive in time. All of the bills we pay have a place you can log into and see all past payments, so if you wanted a hard copy, you could print off that record every 6 months or so.

  • I write checks, yo, because I gots the skillz to pay the billz.