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4 Reasons Why You Should Read Your Bill Every Month

This article was written by in Personal Finance. 27 comments.


Over the next couple of weeks, six finalists will be auditioning for the opening of “staff writer” at Consumerism Commentary. Each will be providing two guest articles to share with readers. After the six writers have shared their guest articles, readers will have an opportunity to provide feedback before we select the staff writer.

This article is presented by Ray, the owner and primary author of Financial Highway, where he discusses investing, saving and practical money management concepts.

I hate going through bills and statements every month, but the Mrs. on the other hand is very particular about it, she goes through all of the bills and checks items off “what a waste of time” I used to think until I recently. The few minutes it takes to check your bills can save you a lot of headache in the future.

Fraudulent charges

The most obvious reason you should take the time to check your statements is to check for unauthorized charges. This happens more frequent than you would think, if there is a large fraudulent charge it would be easy to detect but it’s the small amounts that can go unnoticed for a long time. This could also be charges that are not necessarily unauthorized but certain fees that you are unaware of, often you have between 60-90 days to dispute these charges so it is important to check regularly and report such charges immediately.

Mistakes

Yes mistakes happen, sometimes you are charged for things you are not suppose to be charged for, maybe a promotion ended or maybe a new fee was placed on certain things and you may miss them. By checking your bills regularly you will be aware of any extra fees or mistakes on your accounts, again taking early action will help you rectify these issues.

Accounting

Although I am a big fan of putting your finances on autopilot, you still need to keep track of your spending and budgeting. Going through your bills and statements will enable you to keep track of your expenditures and see if you are staying within your budget. It will also help you keep track of who you owe and how much, doing this on monthly bases will save you a lot of time at the end of the year and during tax filling.

Promotions and changes

Every now and then I notice some promotional offer being available from the company, for example recently I noticed that we can get a free upgrade on our TV package for six months, I love free! Checking the bills you may be able to find a few good promotions, which can go a long way. Companies also notify their customers of any changes in their terms and conditions when they send out the bills, you may miss important changes if you do not go through them which can end up costing you in the end.

I used to hate going through bills, but now I realize that those few minutes can save me a great deal of headache and run around later on. Not to mention the potential of saving money.

Do you go through your bills? Any other reasons why one should go through their bills on regular bases?

This is a guest article by Ray, one of six finalists interested in being Consumerism Commentary’s staff writer.

Published or updated November 8, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

This is a guest article by Ray, the owner and primary author of Financial Highway, where he discusses investing, saving and practical money management concepts. You can check subscribe to his RSS feed or follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Single Guy Money

I check all my bills each month for errors and/or fraudulent charges. I also check to be sure that my payment is reflecting accurately. This is also another reason I don't allow anyone to automatically debit my account. They could make an error and it would cost me a lot of time and energy to get it figured out.

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avatar Ray

@ Single Guy Money yea not letting pre-authorized payments can be a good way to avoid these charges, I just find it easier to put everything through my CC and than just pay one bill.

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avatar Erica Douglass

“for example recently I noticed that we can get a free upgrade on our TV package for six months, I love free!”

Any good PFblogger would know that those are money-sucking devices…after the 6 months, you get walloped with a huge extra charge. Worse yet, it’s monthly.

-Erica

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avatar Ray @ Financial Highway

Any Smart PFblogger would know how the get the most value out of those promos, read fine print, set-up cancellation date a week prior to expiry. Using these offers from types of offers from various competitors I have been able to either get free of highly discounted internet and cable over the past 10 years…..you just have to do it right!

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avatar RainyDaySaver

My honest take? This needed a good edit prior to posting. I can’t get past the run-on sentences, poor grammar and awkward phrasing.

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avatar kenyantykoon

i learnt how to read electricity bills in my teenage years out of plain curiosity and a little self education. At first i realised that i did not know most of those terms that i saw. When i asked my parents they also told me that they did not know how to read them. While i have never spotted inaccuracies, i still think that it is of fundamental importance for a person even vaguely interested in their finances to learn how to read these bills and how to complain to the corporations in a way that you will be heard.

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avatar Ken

I caught a mistake this past week by reading my statement. It is well worth it gor sure.

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avatar 1Malaysia

A few times I’ve caught errors on my credit card statements. Rebates that were due to me were not credited into my account. Had to call the card issuers to rectify the problem. This usually happens with “special promotions” or “special rebates”. The standard promotions and rebates are usually credited. It pays to check these statements.

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avatar SteveDH

Why wait?
Every day I open Quicken (not a plug, other programs work too) download transactions and tell my wife we’re spending too much. Seriously though, keeping track of finances is not a monthly chore. Reporting and analyzing is. There should be no surprises when the statement comes, because if there were questionable transaction, you can bet they’ve already been addressed.

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avatar Sue

Many companies are using opt-out programs which sign you up for new features with added costs if you do not tell the companies you do not want these items added on. These are usually printed in very small print somewhere on the bill or in an insert with the bill. I read everything. Also, third party marketers, usually based in a foreign company, are lying saying customers have agreed to sign up for various programs when they have not. This has happenned continously with my AT&T bill.

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