WRITTEN BY: GILLIAN MANNING
Nothing is less fun than paying bills – except, maybe, studying how Americans pay their bills. But that’s what one personal finance site did, and the results are both serious and weird.
By comparing the bill-paying habits of over 7 million Americans across all ages and income levels, the website Doxo found that 89 percent report their household expenses have risen with inflation now at a 40-year high.
On a less serious note, the study found, “Consumers are most likely to pay their bills right before lunchtime.” The most popular days for paying bills? Mondays and Fridays. Almost 4 in 10 bills are paid on those days. Not surprisingly, “The weekend is the least common time for consumers to pay their bills.”
The Doxo study also revealed that, during the height of the pandemic, a quarter of Americans put an ever-increasing number of bills on their credit cards, a costly idea that financial experts warn against. Credit card interest rates hover around 20 percent. That means for every $5 you put on a card, you pay $1 in interest if you don’t pay off the balance each month.
Those dollars add up. The average American is losing $387 a year because of late payments and overdraft fees, up from $216 in 2021. And still, some people rely on credit cards to pay their bills. About 10 percent of consumers use their credit cards to pay for water, sewage, waste or internet.
It’s possible that this will only get worse as most Americans have seen their bills increase. Inflation is at a 40-year high, and the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates again.
Other findings of interest:
- The average household has 10 monthly bills.
- 16 percent of Americans delay at least one bill per month.
- The average American spends about 36 percent of their income on bills.
- 27 percent of people feel “happy” or “satisfied” after paying their bills.
When it comes to skipping out on bills, utilities were the most popular – possibly because providers can be a bit more lenient in that area.
“If I am making a decision about which bill I’m going to delay, we all know that utility companies are fairly forgiving,” Jim Kreyenhagen, Doxo’s head of marketing, told CBS. “If I skip a bill, my power doesn’t get turned off right away. … But we also know, if you skip a payment on your rent or your mortgage, that’s costly.”
Utilities cost $328 on average. Unfortunately, Americans who are struggling to afford that could be in for a rude awakening. As gas prices continue to fluctuate, utilities probably will as well.
“We think utilities are going to go up – we’re already seeing some indication of that,” Kreyenhagen told CBS. “That’s driven by fuel prices.”
If you’re having trouble paying your bills, Debt.com recommends the following: