Organize Your Personal Monthly Bills and Paperwork

Many people now receive most of their monthly bills online.  However, some people still prefer to receive bills and other information in paper form.

If you are frustrated by having to look for a bill in order to pay it, or if you are being hit with late fees for missing a due date, some of these organizing tips may help you.  If you spend a few hours organizing your papers and personal bills now, it will save you time, frustration and perhaps money in the future.  Another advantage is that when you need information for tax time all your paperwork will be easily accessible in one place.

The first thing you want to do is set up a place to sort mail.  Have a trash basket handy and toss or recycle junk mail as soon as it come in. This includes any catalogues that you do not plan to use.  Any magazines or catalogues you want to keep should be placed in a rack or basket to be read later.

When your bills come in open them immediately.  Put the due date on the envelope front, stack the envelopes on your desk in date order with the bill due first on top.  Make it a point when you write the checks for your bills that you allow enough time for the bill to reach its destination and be posted before the due date.  You should probably mail checks at least one week before the due date.  If you have the same bills coming due each month it may be a helpful idea to make a master list of your bills with the date to be paid and the amount.  Then when you receive the bill you can check it off the list as received.  This way you won’t overlook any bills.

The ideal time to start your new filing system is at the beginning of the year in January.  However, you can set up your system at any time.  If you have an available filing cabinet you can use it.  Otherwise, a plastic box that will hold folders works well to store your files.

If you have quite a few monthly bills you might want to set up a file folder for each company that you send a check.  Put your file copy of the paid bill in the proper folder together with your check number, amount paid,  and the date paid noted on the file receipt.  Set up folders for those bills you pay quarterly or annually such as insurances.  You need folders for bank statements and for investments and a folder to hold receipts you will need for tax time.   For things that only come due occasionally set up a miscellaneous folder to hold these items.

You want to pay your bills as you get paid.  If you get paid weekly then pay some bills each week.  If you get paid bi-monthly or monthly then work out a schedule to pay your bills at that time.

It may be easier if you pay your bills online since you can set up payment in advance of the due date.  Even if you pay bills online be sure to write the date and amount paid on your file copy.

At the end of the year you can remove all of your receipts from your active file and start new file folders for the coming year.  After removing your old papers from your active filing area you can store them in a box until you no longer need to refer to them.

Once you have taken the time to set up a filling system and have organized your bills you will find yourself spending less time each week handling the personal paperwork and paying bills.  When tax time comes around you will have all the necessary receipts available in your tax folder.  No more looking for receipts to prepare your taxes.  Having your bills and personal paperwork organized will not only save time, it will  eliminate some stress from your life.