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How Often Should You Review and Compare Your Bills?

How Often Should You Review and Compare Your Bills?

Review and compare your bills regularly to gain valuable insights into your spending patterns, help identify potential errors or discrepancies, and enable you to make informed decisions about your finances. Effective financial management involves not only tracking your income and expenses, but also staying vigilant about the bills you receive.

In this article, we will discuss the logic behind reviewing and comparing your bills and recommend an appropriate frequency for this essential habit.

The Rationale for Reviewing and Comparing Bills

Identifying Errors and Overcharges

Bills can occasionally contain errors or discrepancies that result in overcharges. Carefully reviewing your bills can catch these mistakes and ensure that you’re not paying more than you should. This is particularly important for utility bills in Australia, where rates can fluctuate and billing errors can occur.

Contact the service provider for clarification or correction. This not only saves you money but also promotes fair billing practices.

Controlling Expenses

Reviewing your bills helps you gain a clear picture of your monthly expenses. The comparison over time can identify any sudden spikes or unusual patterns that require attention. This insight allows you to take control of your spending habits and make necessary adjustments to stay within your budget.

Monitoring Subscription Services

In an era of digital subscriptions, it’s easy to accumulate various services without realising the total cost. Regularly reviewing your bills allows you to assess your subscription expenses and identify any services you no longer need or use. This helps you trim unnecessary expenditures and optimise your financial resources.

However, you have to be careful on how to safely cancel any subscriptions. Some companies have been claimed to delay any attempts at cancelling a customer’s subscription, such as putting them on hold for very long while an agent is found to process the call.

Recommended Frequency for Reviewing and Comparing Bills

Monthly Reviews

For most bills, such as utilities, internet, and cable, a monthly review is recommended. This frequency allows you to stay on top of your expenses, catch any errors promptly, and address any issues with service providers before the next billing cycle.

Set aside a specific day each month to review and compare your bills.

Quarterly and Annual Assessments

In addition to monthly reviews, conducting a more comprehensive assessment every quarter or annually is beneficial. This involves examining trends and patterns in your bills over a longer period.

Quarterly and annual assessments help you identify any significant changes in expenses, such as increased utility usage during certain seasons or the impact of lifestyle changes on your finances.

Life Events or Contract Renewals

Certain life events or contract renewals may necessitate more frequent bill reviews.

For example, if you move to a new home, get married, or have a baby, it is important to review your bills more frequently to accommodate the changes in your circumstances. Similarly, when contracts or agreements for services like insurance or mobile plans are up for renewal, it’s crucial to review the terms, compare alternatives, and ensure you’re still getting the best deal available.

Tips to Efficiently Review and Compare Bills

Keep Organised Records

Maintain a space to store your bills systematically. This makes it easier to access them when needed and facilitates efficient comparisons.

Here are a couple of suggestions: 

  • Physical. Maintaining a physical filing system is a traditional but reliable way to store bill records.
    • Use file folders or envelopes to categorise bills by type or vendor.
    • Put a label on each folder or envelope with the vendor name and the date range of the bills inside.
    • Store them in a filing cabinet or a designated storage box, ensuring they are easily accessible and protected from damage.
  • Digital (Cloud Storage). Cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive offer secure and accessible storage options.
    • Scan your paper bills or save electronic bills directly to the cloud.
    • Create folders or directories to organise bills by category or date.
    • Using an external hard drive provides an offline storage option for your bill records.
    • Connect the external hard drive to your computer and create folders to organise bills.
    • Regularly back up the hard drive to ensure your records are safe from computer malfunctions or data loss.

Automate Bill Payments

Consider setting up automatic bill payments to ensure timely payments and reduce the risk of missing due dates. However, continue reviewing the bills even when payments are automated to catch any discrepancies. Even with the benefits of automated systems, the human factor should never be forgotten.

Use Budgeting Apps or Spreadsheets

Leverage technology by utilising spreadsheets or budgeting apps like UBOMI to track your bills and monitor expenses. These tools can provide visual representations of your spending habits, making it easier to identify areas where you can save.

Reviewing and comparing your bills regularly is essential for effective financial management. Aim for monthly bill reviews, with quarterly and annual assessments for a comprehensive analysis of your financial situation.

Stay vigilant and proactive in managing your bills to help you optimise your resources, avoid unnecessary expenses, and make sensible decisions about your finances.

UBUDGET, provided by UBOMI, empowers users to manage their finances by setting and monitoring budgets, thus giving them increased control. This is a formidable resource that can assist in accomplishing personal targets.

If you liked our “How Often Should You Review and Compare Your Bills?” and find it useful, check our blogs regularly for more information to get updates on UBOMI’s money planner app.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only. UBOMI has no relationships with any company or individual mentioned in the article.