Mail & Bills

kittiemomApril 3, 2005

Paper is a huge problem at my house. I now sort the mail when I get it from the box & immediately toss the trash & put other things in the shred box. The big problem now is bills. A lot of our stuff is drafted, but I still have things like local bills - gas company, water bill, etc. that can't be set up on draft. Also, the insurance co. that my car & house ins. are with doesn't do drafts. I can't do online payments with any of these either. Of course, there are the other things like RSVP's & the like that need to be mailed.

I have a problem forgetting to get these out on time. How do you handle your mail & bills? I'm thinking that I need to purchase an organizer, but I'm not sure what type. The ones with the daily slots look like they might work, but they seem pretty big. Suggestions & links, please!

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holly_bc

Hi Greta,

I can relate with the paper problem! I've been shredding like a crazy lady lately and now am using all my *shreddings* for packing to move. Maybe my timing was right after all. :-))

I, also, was missing payment dates so I set up a folder called "To Pay" and it is the first folder in my file cabinet which is right beside me at the desk. Every Monday I check it for anything due the -->following Must say, I'm really surprised, being you live in California the heart of computers, that more of your bills aren't able to be payed online.

For other than bill payments - e.g.- RSVP's etc., I use the "do it now" method. Otherwise the occasion will have passed. :-))

Nothing to original but it does work for me.
HTH

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 3:50PM
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steve_o

I have one small organizer on my desk. Three slots; one is bills due on some date (even if, like the property tax, it's months in advance). Every Sunday night I go through this slot and pay the bills which are due in the next week or so. I keep the stamps there, too, and envelopes are nearby for the few billers that do not include envelopes.

The second slot has stuff with no firm date on it (deals on lawn care if I book early, points for frequent-buyer programs, etc.); I look through that periodically (maybe once a month).

The third slot is big enough to hold 8-1/2x11 paper the long way. Anything that does not fit in the other two slots goes there, and a Post-It goes in the appropriate slot to remind me. I also have a manila file folder in that slot that contains invoices and receipts that I don't need to track after the next billing cycle because I can verify the payments were received. Once I get the new bill and verify that the old charges are gone, the paper goes to the shredder or to the recycling bin.

This system has worked for me for years and has been pretty painless to enforce (in fact, once I made it a habit to put the bills in the right slot, it wasn't painful at all).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 10:44PM
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Terrapots

Are you sure your local utility companies don't do autopay through your checking acct? The city here handles water and garbage billing and we pay it once a year. Home and auto also get paid once a year. When the bills come they're just info to file or pay. I pay those bills immediately because I don't like to handle paper more than once. Years ago, we built up a reserve on our checking account so that we don't have to wait for payday to pay bills. It was painful at the time but better the bank pays us interest than we paying late fees or interest charges. Special dates go onto the kitchen calendar immediately and responses made asap. Our system is pretty much like Steve's above except I keep files in a hanging folder file box I can take to my desk, kitchen table, FR, or wherever needed. In it I keep papers for insurance, health, receipts for taxes, activities, etc. for the year. They go into permanent file or discarded when no longer vital. I track and report on 3 businesses from home so paper can be horrendous if we let it pile up unorganized. Also, make sure you have plenty of postage stamps so mail can go out immediately and not waiting for a trip to the post office.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 2:28PM
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maddiemom6

Just a thought.. we use Quicken bill pay and they send out the checks for us to people who do not do online stuff.. so it's online for us.. and that is what counts. Past that we do take the time 2x a month to sit down and pay bills.. As each day's mail comes in.. I strip off the tripe.. then staple that days mail together.. that seems tomake things easier.

maddiemom

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 4:19PM
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lowspark

I organized my bills on my computer. I keep my checkbook register on computer and I pay bills twice a month. I keep a list of what bills I pay at the first of the month and what bills I pay in the middle. Then I just stack all bills in one spot on my desk as they arrive. When it comes time to pay -- I grab the stack and check it off against my list on my computer. Then I know if I'm missing any bills.

For once a year bills like insurance, I have a list by month of what bills to pay. For example, my car insurance is due in May so I list that for May. That way when I sit down to pay bills in May I know I need to be on the lookout for that bill.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 3:18PM
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starpooh

I've always struggled with bill paying. I would procrastinate because I hated mailing my money before the bill was due. Then, of course, I would end up paying them late.

Now I use BillPay and I love it! It's available online through my credit union. Every night I login and schedule payment for any bills that have come in that day. BillPay mails the checks several days before they are due. Nothing gets paid early, and nothing gets paid late!

Check the website checkfree.com to see if your bank or credit union subscribes to the service.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 2:04PM
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