In October of my sophomore year, a few of my friends and I decided we were going to rent a house the following year. The stress of finding a suitable rental property was enough to make us put off thinking about dealing with utilities until the summer we actually moved in. The day before our scheduled move-in day was the time we realized that we had no power, water or worst of all—WiFi. I immediately took on the role of frantically calling all utility companies while I sat at my desk in the advertising department of the Daily Tar Heel.
If you’re looking for an easy way to ruin your day, attempt setting up all housing utilities at once and have them done as soon as possible. Quite honestly—it’s not possible to do this and it solely ends in frustration. I am a fixer, though. I was determined to have everything in order and by the end of the week they were all in place for an easy transition. (We ultimately survived four whole days without WiFi.)
As a result of my many trials and tribulations with bill paying and money saving, I would call myself fairly experienced on the topic. However, for the purposes of this post I consulted an expert. Below, you’ll find some tips and tricks that my mom has taught me throughout my years as primary bill-manager of my house.
Mine and Lynda’s top five tips of bill paying…college edition:
- Don’t cry
Deep breaths are mom’s go-to calming method. And believe me, I called her almost every month when I first started paying bills for my house. Even though it wasn’t all my money, it was hard, and I sometimes cried. But don’t cry, it definitely doesn’t make the amount of money you owe decrease.
- Go through every month in your planner and write down when each bill is due.
In our world of automated draft options, it is super beneficial to visualize when you’re going to be paying bills each month. This way you can shift your work schedule around to make sure you have enough funds to cover the bills when they’re due! (This is helpful for those of us with non-salaried jobs at the moment.) If you can’t change your work schedule, change when your bills are due.
- Make sure you have enough money to cover your bills (see above)
If you don’t, then maybe don’t go out that night. It’s helpful to know in the back of your mind that you have a cushion in your account for emergencies. Like the time I accidentally paid Duke Energy twice in one month (that was fun) because the computer automated system hadn’t processed my payment and said I was a day late on paying. Bringing me to my next point…
- It’s helpful to write down when you paid what bills
Many utilities take a few days to process your payment. They tell you this, but when you see a red ALERT on your account freaking out becomes your automatic reaction.
- Tell your roommates DAYS before you actually need their money
This was hard for me to learn/understand at first, but people need ample time to gather their checkbook and pen. I cannot emphasize this one enough. I now even go as far as weeks in advance reminding my roommates for checks. I’ve gotten it down to a science and know just how many days each one needs before she’ll actually give me her check. This doesn’t have to be a fight among everyone, just tell the person way in advance and that way you save on the stress of being late! Everyone is happy.
My personal tips for $$$:
- Don’t link both your Uber and Venmo to the same account
Spread the love. These apps are two of the easiest ways to spend money and not even realize it. If you check your account after a night out and see it way lower than expected for those two blue cups, these are two of the most likely culprits. Also—when all of your friends say they’re going to split your Uber, make sure they actually accept!!! Hello, I’m looking at you on your phone, I know you got my notification to split this Uber. Accept before we get into the car. ALSO, start charging people on Venmo!! That’s what the feature is there for! It is not an insult; I understand you need the two dollars for my third of the six-pack we split. We’ve all been there.
- Save your coins
I’m so serious about this, but I also work in a restaurant where I never leave behind those two quarters and eight nickels. My first summer of saving coins I saved almost $75. Am I the only person who thinks that’s awesome? Only downside—I sat and rolled my own coins for about three nights. By myself. Also, don’t you dare go to a Coinstar. That’s cheating and it steals your money.
- Here’s your new personal money-saving anthem…you’re welcome.
Update: Originally, I posted a video named “$ave dat Money” (NSFW) below this tip. This viral video showed up across all of my social media accounts at one point. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it’s a humorous video of a man attempting to make a traditional rap video without spending any money. My dad was not a fan of this video. It’s understandable and because I am using this blog as a way to bridge the gap I am happy to remove it due to the profanity used. His point was that including the video on my blog did not clearly show my professional abilities. Initially I was upset when he criticized my writing. I took it personally that he didn’t think it was as funny and clever as I did. After some thought, I realized his advice is sound.
I also want to use this instance as another chance to highlight a difference in our generations. I found the song funny for many reasons, but it became even better after I noticed the album cover including “Lil Dicky’s” resume. If you read it you can see that he graduated from the University of Richmond, Robins School of Business with a 3.93 GPA. Assuming this is an accurate resume, his real name is David Burd, he studied abroad in Australia and he even won a departmental award for “Most Outstanding Overall Student.” I thought it was very commendable that he’s chosen to use his creative abilities to pursue a passion of his rather than choosing a more traditional route. It added depth to the person in the video, and in my opinion his choice has paid off. The video has over 26 million views on YouTube and includes some of the most famous rappers in the game right now. In terms of viral videos, this is a huge success.
So, including a song with profane words on my blog wasn’t meant to shed a negative light on my professionalism. I appreciate the creativity and people behind the music—and it blended perfectly into the topic at hand. I thought it added a little more humor to the blog post. My dad saw a video that had scantily clad women and curse words galore, and I can understand why he would not like that. My way of bridging the gap here is by explaining how I viewed the video in a completely different light than how people of my parent’s generation may have viewed it. Maybe we can each come together here and appreciate each other’s perspective.
Cheers to happiness and kindness!