B.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN on October 05, 2009
How Do You Organize Your Bills & Paperwork?
I am just curious how you manage your incoming bills and paperwork? I constantly have piles of bills and paperwork. I can never find anything when I need it. My bills are rarely paid on time and I just need a better system. Any advice?
1 mom found this helpful
M.S. answers from Minneapolis on October 08, 2009
Set everything up to get paid automatically online.
Use mint.com to track all finances. It's free and SO much more user friendly than Quicken.
M.S. answers from Omaha on October 05, 2009
I have a bill notebook/folder. As soon as a bill comes in I write it down for that month in numerical order. I write in who/where the bill is from, the amount owed, and the date it's due.
Once I pay a bill I highlight it. So when I look things over, I know what's paid and what needs to be paid. All my bills go in this folder and no place else. So I can always find them. I pay most of my bills online so I toss em once paid.
J.H. answers from Minneapolis on October 06, 2009
My mom is a professional organizer and papers is her specialty!
Check out her website
1 mom found this helpful
L.G. answers from Minneapolis on October 06, 2009
I would recommend setting up auto pay or paying online as many as possible - but here's what I started doing:
I have an excel spreadsheet that is my checkbook "register" or running balance. But I don't enter things as I pay them - I schedule them ahead of time or budget them in. I know what bills i have to pay each month and approximately how much they will be. The first month or two, you just enter them in as they come and eventually you'll get the pattern and be able to copy and paste. Be sure to get all of your transactions in - this will also help you notice excessive spending! I then started highlighting the ones that I had to mail in one color and the ones that i had to pay online in another color. Once the bill is paid or mailed, I remove the color and once it posts to my checking account (which i monitor online too) then I higlight the balance column. It took a bit of work to get it organized at first but I now rely, and I've used it to take control of my finances!
If that seems like too much, at least make a chart of all of your regular bills and their due dates. that's a good start.
S.G. answers from Rapid City on October 06, 2009
I know what you mean. What I finally did was buy a notebook and some packages of dividers with pockets. I put the bills in their own pockets or punch holes in them to go in their own place. Then I put the insurance forms that come to tell what the insurance paid in with each doctors bill. I watch closely to make sure that we are being charged just our part of the bill since some like to charge the over scheduled discount (it is a discount that the doctors office agreed to forgive to be in contract with the insurance company.. which you shouldn't be charged for either). I also keep a running total on those that we make payments too... so I have a record of each payment made. It actually works good only if you are good about sitting down and doing it.. just like everything else.
P.A. answers from Duluth on October 07, 2009
I use a calendar. The desk sized ones that can hang on nails in the wall are easier to read, but any calendar will work. When I get a bill, I write what it is and how much on the date it is due. Example: Oct 1 - Rent $400
It helps to be able to see what is due all month at once. You can see what all is due before the next payday and if there is a bill coming up that you need to remember to save part of a previous paycheck for.
Do as many bills as possible online, then you can shred the statements that you don't need right away and put the rest all at one spot. If you just set them on a counter, you might want to put them in a larger ziploc bag until they are needed so they don't get knocked down and lost.
K.H. answers from Minneapolis on October 06, 2009
I use Microsoft Money to balance the checkbook, keep track of what bills are due when, etc. It is a lifesaver! I've been using it for probably 6-7 years, and I would never go without it. When I pay bills online, I write on the paper bill what day I actually did the work online and then what date it is set to be paid on. Once I've paid the bills, the papers go into an accordion file that's labeled by month. After 12 months, I shred all of the paperwork.
The key is to find a system that works for you personally. You can't force yourself to use something you don't like because eventually you'll just give it up. You'll also probably need to invest in some sort of filing system... you can get pretty cheap ones at an office supply store.
Hope that helps!
M.J. answers from Omaha on October 06, 2009
I have a bill foldeer I keep in my underwear drawer. when bills come in the mail, I open them, and then write the due date on the outside of the envelope so when I go to do the bills each paycheck I can do them by the date due. ONce I've paid them, on each invoice I write the number of the check, the amount, and the date they were written. I went and got an accordian style folder with tabs and then I put the finished invoices in their own sections of the folder. (or I try to...when I get around to it:-)
D.M. answers from Des Moines on October 06, 2009
I used to have the same problem. I solved it by writing a check when the bill came then hanging them on fridge with a date for either paying or mailing so that I see them daily. Haven't missed a bill or been late since. Some bills are auto deducted from my bank account so once at the beginning of the month I put those into my register with the date they come out of my account. I also go on line a few times a week to check my bank account and see what has cleared and what is due on pay day so I know where I'm at. Now my filing that is a different story and sometimes adds up before I get things filed even though when I do I swear I won't get behind again, but within a few weeks it does seem to happen but at least bills are paid on time.
K.S. answers from Rochester on October 06, 2009
I know you've gotten a lot of great advice already, so thought I'd throw mine in there too. I pay almost all of my bills online so I don't have to worry about mailing it in time for the due date. As soon as I get a bill in the mail, I open it, and put it in the return envelope. On the outside of the envelope I put how much I owe and then in the corner of the envelope I put the due date. I then put it up in my cupboard. I check my cupboard EVERY day to see what bill is due that day, or which one is coming up. I also have a little notebook that I write down the bills in, so then when I check my bank acct and see it has been deducted, I scratch it off. I know a lot of people use Billpay, but I personally don't use that because if I have a bill that needs to be paid (phone, cable, garbage, etc,)but I won't have the $ until a day or so later, then I can pay it online a day or so later. I know it is still being paid a little late, but I don't get a late fee and I don't get in trouble like I would if Billpay would've paid it automatically. I've only had to do it a couple of times, but it worked for me. I then either shred the leftover paperwork or file it. May sound like a lot of work, but honestly it takes only a couple minutes each day.