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How to avoid late payment fees

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.
 
Reporting season is tough for teachers. Sarah's was particularly hard, seeing her working past midnight a few nights a week. With personal responsibilities on top of school, it wasn't easy to keep on top of things.

Some things slipped through the cracks. Some monthly bills got put off for a while. She had the money, she just kept forgetting to pay them!

Just check out what kind of impact that had on her deposit savings:

  • Sarah drove on the Eastlink freeway with an e-tag, then kept forgetting to buy a pass. Late fees ended up being more than $100.
  • Sarah used a lay-by company to purchase a few items for Christmas. However, she forgot to put money in her account and was charged a late payment fee of $10.
  • The same happened for an energy bill, which Sarah forgot to pay. The charge was $12.

That’s $122 right there. If that happens a couple of times a year for a few years, you’re looking at losing nearly $1,000 off your deposit! It doesn’t seem like much, but every cent you don’t put on your deposit is another cent you have to borrow, which you pay interest on.

That isn’t even to mention what can happen if you don’t pay credit cards on time, which can charge as much as 20% interest a year. On a balance of $5,000, that’s $1,000!

There are a few things you can do to make sure you avoid late fees completely. Let’s take a look at what Sarah did:

  • She started setting up automatic debits to make sure she never missed a payment.
  • She put reminders in her calendar for every single bill she needed to pay, and when. After doing it once and setting up recurring reminders, she never forgot again.

It doesn’t take much to avoid late fees. Put some simple principles into practice, and you’ll be sure to never waste that money again.

SARAH'S TAKEAWAY:

Sarah needs to get more on top of her bills! Setting up some good habits will save her thousands of dollars, for just a few minutes of effort.

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