I've been shredding bills as I've been paying them but I think I better start having a better system. Do you keep the bills you receive? In a filling cabinet? Paper file? I'm trying to think of a good way to keep them organized.
I have a large accordion style pasteboard box to store bills in. Everyone is different, but I pay bills the day I receive them. Then I mark PAID and the date on the bill, along with the check number, and file the bill into the correct slot in this box. I have one slot for automotive , one for home repairs/improvements, one for charity, one for health ins., one for car insurance, one for home insurance, and so forth. Our life is rather simple and we don't have many bills, so this works for me. At year's end, We sort through these, culling out the items that we need for taxes, and the items that we think we need to hold on to for a variety of reasons. Then we shred the rest. Don't know if this will work for you, but it seems to meet our needs.
I do the exact same thing as forHISglory and it has worked excellent for me. At year end I also shred what I don't need and then I put them in a regular school binder with the a divider marked with the year. A regular school binder holds 7 years worth of papers. It is easy to find when I need to find a certain paper/bill from a certain year.
I am all electronic. I rarely get a paper bill in the mail. We pay most bills by credit card (and pay it off every month). The emailed bills just sit in my inbox. Anything that is paper gets paid immediately and then put in the "to burn" box to light the woodstove with. Using the bills is cheaper than paying for a newspaper (that we never read) and there is something sort of satisfying about burning the bills.
I am all electronic for my bills too, except the water bill which comes every other month, and when I get it I write check and put in in outgoing mail right away. I have microsoft money on my computer. I have all bills that need to be paid in it until end of February, and all income as well. This lets me see when I have "extra" money to put toward credit cards. I have all my bills online set to auto pay as well, so they come out same time each month. Easier for me to keep track.
Depends on the bill - but for monthly utility bills, I only keep the latest and as soon as a new bill arrives, showing my payment, I shred the old one and keep the new one.
I keep all of my credit card bills electronically (basically paperless) and have those going back to when they started (a couple of years in most cases). My mobile phone bill is also paperless. I keep the copies on 'dropbox'.
For more ad-hoc items like invoices, car items, insurance etc, I have one of those expandable 'accordion like' binders and I keep them for a couple of years, or until the warranty has expired.
I used to keep everything, but now it's all online so there is no need anymore. Spent the summer getting rid of all the paper clutter. We have one box now, for warranties and a few important documents. I love our online bank; it is so easy to keep track, make budgets, and plan spending. As soon as I get a bill, I add it to the online payment queue and burn or shred it. We have one separate online account for bills, and I keep enough money there to cover the queue (approx one month of expenses). There is no card connected to that account, daily expenses (food, gas) get paid from other accounts with debet cards. All the accounts are listed in the same online bank, together with some saving accounts and credit cards. Transfer between the accounts is done in seconds.
I am sooooo disorganized in this area of my life! Do I hear "new years resolution" in my near future?! I pay the bill when they come in and before their due date...I then try and file them in a file cabinet...I guess I am old school as far as bill paying, I prefer to have them come in the regular mail and I prefer to write a check for them....it kinda keeps them in the forefront of my brain...if I see them sitting on the counter, then I know I need to put $$ in the bank and pay them...physically writing the check kinda puts it in my memory that I actually paid the bill....I need to come up with a better organizational situation for my incoming/mail and bills...I have paper clutter all over...because it's "necessary"....it's awful, and drives my boyfriend crazy!
I keep them for the year in a folder. I have a large basket filled with different labeled folders for each category. Once paid I file it. I still get paper bills because I will forget something if it's electronic. I shred at the end if the year. I pay everything I can online. I hate sending checks or using checks at all. I only use checks for our contractor because that's what he likes.
Most of our bills are electronic. Some go on hubby's credit card and that is paid off monthly and then some come to me electronically, I am the kind of person that needs paper so I will print it off and pay everything on line. Then I keep the paper for a year and then shred.
We have one drawer in our file cabinet that only has 1 file in it (plus other misc. office supplies) it is the bill file and when a bill comes in it is tossed in there and they are all paid at the end of the month ( which is before any of them are actually due ) as I pay them I shred the bill. Hubby was paid 1 x a month until just recently so that is how we always did it, actually I guess that is how he did before we were married........I on the other hand was not so organized before we were married. The house and car insurance are paid 1 x a year because it is cheaper that way.
I keep an envelope for each category and put the paid bills in the envelope. Most envelopes will hold a year's bills. At the end of 2013 I pulled all of the paid bills and put them in a box. I will find 2011's box and shred it soon. I do not pay anything electronically other than health insurance which is required to be an auto withdrawal. I've seen way too many messes with electronic payments and people struggling to find a way to contact an actual human or even find a mailing address to straighten them out. I know it works for most people, but I don't want to go there myself. I also like hard copies of bills that contain contact information for the various companies. When I need to call a company I want a copy of the bill in front of me to refer to while I seek assistance.
I keep tax returns and the accompanying proofs for 10 years. Bank statements I keep for 7 years. Again I've seen people struggle to prove they paid the IRS and having to pay their bank to retrieve records or even try to figure out which bank to ask. The IRS requires copies of both sides of a check as proof of payment. BTW the IRS makes a LOT of mistakes.
I've also had to help clients prove they'd made mortgage payments to Wells Fargo -- who was foreclosing -- due to the Bank's misdirecting of payments. It was very fortunate that my client had made check payments and had copies of all checks as the Bank was not reasonable or willing to admit they'd made a mistake.
All in all I'd advise everyone to keep a paper trail on all financial transactions for at least a couple of years. In the case above with Wells Fargo my client had to go back three years and show she'd made all her payments.
I am mainly electronic. I have a list of monthly bills on my IPad, that I change the dates on them when I pay them. I save my email sent statements into folders on my desktop. At the end of the year I print them out, and they get paper clipped by year and go right into the file cabinet.
Bills that aren't monthly or aren't electronic (medical, etc) get placed in my home binder in the financial pocket. When I have extra money in a paycheck, I dig through this folder and pay off the soonest due.
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