How I Keep Up On My Mail, Bills, Receipts - Part 3 - How I Pay Bills

10:53 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:
Part 1
Part 2


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