So you did all your homework – researched cars, fixed your credit as much as possible, and got a car loan for the one you wanted. Congratulations!
If you had bad credit or no credit and struggled to get a car loan, you realize that the one thing you really need to do is keep on top of your car payments so you can continue to improve your credit score for the next time you need to buy a car, or even obtain credit for something else. (We did a cool blog about Calculating the Cost of Credit and how much you can save by having good credit.)
Life is busy. Things come up all the time. Lots of bills have to be paid. So how do you make sure you don’t just accidentally forget when it’s due? Here are some great tips:
1. Set Up Automatic Drafting
Bar none, this is the very best way to make sure you don’t miss a payment. Pretty much every lender loves this method, too, so it should be available to you. Essentially, you’re giving the lender permission to withdraw your car payment each month directly from your checking account. Simple, right?
It’s hassle-free, but you do have to make sure you have money in your account to cover the draft on the due date. If you don’t, you’ll not only have a late payment on your loan but you’ll also be subject to overdraft fees from your bank, and we know how much fun those are.
So you have to stay on top of your account balance. And if you need a reminder to check your account balance each month, try one of the following methods.
2. Use a Task Reminder App for Your Phone
If this was the only thing I could use my phone for other than calls and texts, I might just be okay with that. I use task reminders for ALL my bills, and I never miss a payment. There are lots of task reminder apps out there but here are two good ones:
Any.do. This one is very simple. Any.do alerts you in the morning about all tasks due for the day, then alerts you again at the specified time for each task. Set your car payment for a monthly recurring reminder and let your phone do the work. (Any.do for Android, Any.do for iPhone)
Evernote. This app is also pretty simple but allows you to do a lot more than Any.do. As the name implies, you can create all sorts of notes, as well as share them with others, and set reminders for tasks. Evernote doesn’t have a recurring reminder feature yet, so you’ll have to reset your reminder each time you make your payment. (Evernote for Android, Evernote for iPhone)
3. Try Google Calendar
If you don’t have a smartphone or just find it easier to work from a laptop or desktop, Google Calendar also allows you to set recurring events. You have space to include notes and you can also set two types of reminders: pop-up notification and email.
If you’re really, really concerned about missing a car loan payment, you can use a combination of the above methods. And of course there are plenty of others, too. If you have a trick that works for you, let us know!