HELP!! I’m OK with paying bills on time but what do I do with all the paperwork?
The Easiest Way (And Better For The Environment Too)
Tip 1. Go Paperless
What?? Simply not receive paper bills in the mail??
Yes!! Less decisions!! Less paperwork to organise!!
Now days it’s pretty easy to opt to receive your utility bills by email or by email notification, telling you the bill is available to view on the provider’s website. In fact, a lot of service providers prefer their customers to choose that option. Even a few will now charge a small fee to send out a paper bill or invoice.
So save yourself time and space by having less paper work to organise, as well as saving on money and trees!
But a paper bill is a good physical reminder to pay the bill on time. What if I forget?
The “set it up and leave it” option will ensure your bills get paid on time. This means organising with your service provider for your bills to be paid either monthly or quarterly by direct debit. Businesses love it when their customers choose direct debit too. Direct debit is when the company withdraws an amount, either what you have requested or the amount of the bill, when it is due. All you need to do is make sure there is enough money in your account to cover the direct debit. Again there may be a fee from your bank or the business, if that direct debit transaction cannot be honoured.
For me personally, I have now changed most of my bills to receive the invoice online and to pay by direct debit. I then make sure I have the amount available in my account by using a budget. I love using You Need A Budget for this purpose!!
And they offer a 34 day free trial to their online budget software if you want to get organised with your finances!!
For any bills, that you don’t want paid for by direct debit, a simple way is to schedule them for payment in your online bank account as soon as you receive the bill by email.
Then it’s all done and dusted!!
Tip 2. Shred Your Paper Bills
OK, you like the above option of going completely online, but for whatever reason paper bills will still be a reality in your household for a while longer. Instead decide whether the specific paper bill needs to be kept and filed at all.
Usually there is no need to hold onto residential or household bills beyond the due date. So most bills can be shredded immediately after paying. Yes simply tear them up and put in the recycling bin.
I love how Professional Organiser and author, Marie Kondo shares in her book, the life changing magic of tidying up, how some clients she sees have more elaborate filing systems for all their household paperwork than a small business would.
“My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away… there is nothing more annoying than papers… I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of these three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.” – the life – changing magic of tidying up
Tip 3. Store The Few Paper Bills
There are one or two bills you need to keep for now. So what is the easiest thing to do with those?
I use two ways of organising important documents for my household. I have a lever arch file file that all expenses and documents related to the house, get filed in. For example; rates, electricity, invoices for major repairs etc., as well as the mortgage documents and title deeds. My exception to the above suggestion to change to online billing, is the electricity bills for our house. Ever since we had solar panels installed a few years ago, I like to compare our energy costs from season to season and track how the solar panels are doing.
Then I also use A4 plastic sleever display folders labelled by category. The categories I use at the moment are Medical, Vehicles, Documents (eg birth certificates, passports), Insurance Claims and Other. Paper bills or any other paperwork related to that category gets filed in a sleeve in that specific folder. About once a year I will go through them and remove anything I no longer need to keep.
It’s simple and it works well for our family!! Especially when it comes to accessing specific documents at a moment’s notice.
I also use this expanding wallet I bought from Kmart for storing receipts. I have simply labelled the dividers according to months of the year. Anything that is purchased within that time frame, and needs the receipt kept for warranty purposes, is popped in. At the beginning of each new quarter I go through the existing receipts for that section and remove any that have expired.
Super easy!! And I always know where to look for a receipt if I need it!!
What action step do you need to take to simplify how you organise your paper bills?
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