Last night I paid my bills.
Nothing unusual about this, as I pay my bills two or three times a month. This might not be the most efficient way to do things, or even the most financially sound. So why do I do it?
Simple. It makes me feel good.
I’m never excited to sit down and open envelopes telling me how much money I need to send out. But I do love the feeling of walking out of my office knowing I do not owe any one a thing. (Yes, I have a mortgage and a bit remaining on a low interest student loan, but that’s it. I bought my cars outright and pay off my credit cards in full).
Over the years, I’ve gotten myself in the habit of paying of bills within a day or three after they come in. As best as I can tell, this behavior has not been so much a conscious decision on my part, but just the natural progression of moving toward that which feels good to me.
For example, my bi-yearly auto insurance bill came in late December. Payment was not due for a month, yet I paid the bill right away. While I always carry cash (everyone takes cash!), I use my credit cards (one personal, one for my company) to purchase most things. This gives me a simple, organized paper trail and lets me accrue a few free flights each year (I use Capital One cards as their system allows you to fly any airline, no blackouts). On average, I pay whatever balances I’ve accrued on the cards every two weeks or so.
Let me be clear. I’m not writing checks here. If you still write checks, I suggest you get with program and upgrade your financial life. No, I use online banking to pay all my bills from my mortgage to my magazine subscriptions. By setting things up this way, I make all my payments in about two minutes. No checkbooks, no stamps, no post office, no envelope glue on my tongue. I don’t even need to be in my office. (In December, I forgot to pay my mortgage before leaving for my honeymoon in Costa Rica. No problem. An internet cafe and 30 seconds later, a check was being mailed on my behalf.)
My friend points out that by paying things off immediatley, I am not taking advantage of the interest-free loans the companies are giving me. Certainly, my money could be earning at least a little interest in my account rather than paying off a bill 30 days before it’s due. I get that.
But for me, nothing beats the feeling of telling myself that I’m ahead of the game. (When I’m done paying my bills, I often hear David Lee Roth in my head singing, "All my bills are paid, I got it made in the shade, all I neeeeeed… is a beautiful girl!")
Having my bills paid makes me feel free. When I feel free, guess what I attract into my life?
Why, more freedom, of course. That’s the way it works.
But here’s the catch. If you want more freedom (or more money) in your life, guess where you need to put your awareness? Guess where you need to be clear? Guess where you need to have your sh*t together?
If this resonates with you on some level, I encourage you to organize your life in a manner that supports you feeling free around your money. It will take some effort on your part. You’ll have to engage in some administriva and do some busy work. Maybe you’ll have to make a visit to your bank. But in truth, on the physical effort and temporal scales, the investment is a minor one.
But, of course, that’s not really the issue here. The issue lies in the mental block most people have around changing their relationship with money (and freedom). Organizing your financial life requires you to take charge of the ship with the knowledge that you’re never going to leave that wheel again. On the surface, it’s easier to continue to have the autopilot continue to do the driving. After all, it’s gotten you this far and you’re doing okay. But know that the dominate vibration of that autopilot is not freedom, it’s fear. And it won’t leave your life until you put your full awareness on it. Simple. But not always easy.
Anyheeew, that’s why I pay my bills several times a month.
P.S. I’ll take the opportunity to plug my book, Piles of Money, here. In my book, I outline step-by-step how to set things so that you are in control of your money (and your freedom), rather than feeling like your money is in control of you.