How I Keep Up On My Mail, Bills, Receipts - Part 3 - How I Pay Bills10:53 AM
Hello again. Today I'm going to talk about how I pay our bills, and what I keep and don't keep as far as papers.
First, when I get a bill in the mail I open it, and keep the bill and the envelope whether I'm mailing a payment or paying online. In my mind when both the bill and envelope are together it means I need to pay it.
As I mentioned in Part 1 - this mail goes into the bin at the top of our stairs. Every few days I empty that bin, and take everything in it downstairs to enter into Quicken.
I stack all of the bills together, and then get to work.
The way I handle paying bills is pretty straightforward. I go into my online banking and set up payments for all the bills that I pay online. As I pay each bill I record the following on my paper bill - the amount paid - the date paid - and the payment confirmation number. If the payment amount and or date is the same as what I would write then I just circle that on my bill.
Setting up payments as I receive bills in the mail ensures that:
I will not be late on a payment
I will not waste time looking at the bill multiple times while I wait for it to be time to pay
keeps my desk cleaner since extra papers aren't waiting around
After I pay the bill online I go into the checking area in my Quicken, and enter the payments there. So I enter the date, the company, the amount, the category, and there is a memo section. It pretty much auto fills everything so there is not much typing and it goes quickly. In the memo area if I've paid online I just write online. I don't enter the confirmation number. Not necessary. So now the bill is paid and recorded in Quicken. I just make sure there is enough money in the account so I can avoid an overdraft. Once the bill is paid and recorded in Quicken I toss out the envelope or keep them to use for grocery/errand lists.
Now I deal with the paper bill itself. Other than bank statements and my main credit card statements I only keep the latest bill I've paid. I have an accordion alphabetical file that I keep on top of my desk - this is where I keep my bills. So lets say I've just paid a DTE Energy bill. I will open my accordion file to D - take out the last bill I had paid - if that last payment cleared I shred that bill. The new bill is now in the accordion file. As long as I keep one bill I have my account number - that's all I need if there is a power outage or some reason I have to call the company. In the past I kept so much paper, and then I realized that I never needed it. I keep my credit card statements for 3 years.
So, I think that is about it for paying bills. I handle bills I mail the same way. The only difference is recording the check number on my bill and in Quicken.
Two great takeaways from this post:
1. Paying bills online simplifies everything because you can schedule payments ahead
2. You really don't need to keep a bunch of old bills
I will do a post on all my favorite desk organizing products too. Things I use all the time. I will also share how I organized my boys report cards/special papers from school so they are all together and easy to find.
Here are the links to the other posts I've written about how I keep up on mail, bills, and receipts: