Home and Organize
Do you misplace bills or miss payment due dates? Do you have a stack of paid bills but aren’t sure what to do with them? A bill paying system gives you a way to find, pay and file your bills simply and quickly.
Unpaid bills need a home so they are easy to find when it’s time to pay them.
Personally, I like to keep an action file that is organized by the category of action such as “to pay,” “to read,” and “to follow-up.” I like the action file because I like doing similar activities together.
Some people like the tickler file system that is based on forty-three files (1-31 for each day in the current month plus one file for each month). Bills and anything else that need to be processed on a particular date are filed under the appropriate day. Items for future months are filed under the appropriate month. Some people like how the tickler file creates a daily agenda.
Regardless of how unpaid bills are filed, allow sufficient processing time.
Payments need to be mailed seven to ten days prior to the due date to avoid late charges. Allow three to four days for processing when making online payments. Record the date to pay bills in your calendar, and use this date to file the bills if you are using the tickler file. I like to limit my bill paying to a couple of days during the month because the routine provides me with a certain amount of financial predictability. The dates chosen for the bill paying routine allow sufficient time for the payments to be received and processed.
Schedule bill paying in your planner.
Bill paying is a rather mundane task and it’s easy to put it off or forget about it. Scheduling provides the time to get it done and a certain amount of importance.
The last step of the process is filing the paid bills.
File the bills as soon as you are finished so you avoid making two tasks out of one. Using a month system to file paid bills is fast and easy. Bills paid in September are filed in September. In a year, just take out the old bills and shred them before filing the new bills. However, if your bills are tax-deductible you will need to file them with all of your tax-deductions for the year and keep them for seven years after filing taxes– or for the length of time your tax preparer recommends.
Organized bill paying involves providing a home for the paid and unpaid bills plus scheduling the bill paying. Once organized, you may find you never pay a late fee again. It’s like money in the bank!
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Clear Spaces owner Denise Lee merges seven years of social service experience and seventeen years experience in Information Technology to bring you effective and personal organizing solutions for the home, the small business and the student. The Clear Spaces approach is holistic -- empowering you to live the life you want to live.