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Bills and paperwork. Ugh. Paper clutter.
However, when it comes to bills and paperwork, they are a necessary evil in our lives.
Just as with any kind of paperwork clutter, these things can quickly take over our lives. The great thing about bills and paperwork is that there are a few things we can do proactively to help keep them in check.
In fact, dealing with bills and paperwork starts even before they enter our home in the first place!
Curious? Read on.
Here are my 10 brilliant ways to control your bills and paperwork!
(this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you)
1. Eliminate the paperwork you receive
Just as with the mail, before you even take paperwork into your home try to eliminate what you can. Do you really need a paper bank receipt? What about that receipt for that cup of coffee? Many of these can be either declined at the time of the transaction or thrown away in the store before you even walk out the door. Controlling paperwork starts before you accept the paperwork into your life.
2. Pay what bills you can online
Paying bills online eliminates a ton of paper clutter, not to mention that it also saves on stress! Most banks have a bill pay option, and if not many businesses have their own system set up to pay their bills online. Take advantage of these wherever you can!
3. Change your bill due dates
One way to make dealing with bills overwhelmingly easy is to change all of your payment due dates to the same day of the month. Most businesses and credit cards allow you to do this, which again makes bill paying much easier. It is much easier to only worry about paying bills once a month.
4. Verify that your payment has been made
Either checking this with the business itself or by watching what comes out of your checking account, verify that the money has been credited to the right place and then toss the paper bill. Of course there are things you need to keep for tax purposes, and you can read more about that in Taxes Made Easy. Unless you need to hang on to it for tax purposes, many of these paper statements can be tossed. Things like your gas bill or electric bill come to mind.
5. Go paperless
With bank statements especially, go paperless. This is an option that many institutions offer. Sometimes, you can even get an incentive for doing so since it is also saving them!
6. Have a bill paying system
I am a paper girl, but there are also several electronic resources available to set up a bill payment system. Even if all of your bills are due on the same day, writing down your bills and the amounts due is helpful so you have these things at a glance when you need them, especially when setting up your budget.
7. Have a filing system
In my life, nothing beats an old fashioned filling cabinet. I have more than 20 years of relevant paperwork in mine, and I would be lost without it.
8. File often
I hate paperwork, so this is one of those things that I really learned the hard way. Because I hate filing paperwork, I have been known to let it pile up at times, which only makes it more of a nightmare. Making some time on a regular basis to file is so smart. I just wrote that for my own benefit 🙂
9. Be specific
As you create some sort of filing system for your bills and paperwork, be specific in breaking things into categories so you can easily find them. For instance, I have files that are titled “small kitchen appliances,” “large appliances,” “outdoor toys,” “outdoor equipment,” “kids electronics,” “kids learning toys,” and so on. My files are very specific. That way I can get what I need, otherwise saving them at all is a complete waste of time.
10. Be selective
Hoarding paperwork that is truly unnecessary to keep if we really think about it is a common problem. I used to keep much more than I do just because it was easier than thinking about whether I needed it. In the long run, I discovered that it really is easier to put the time and effort into thinking about it realistically from the beginning rather than creating more of a mess that needs to be purged. If I will throw it away in the end, why bother keeping it at all?
There is no need to let bills and paperwork stress you out. These are some easy and brilliant things you can do to control yours starting today!
This post is based on a chapter in Ruth Soukup’s book, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life. Grab a copy and join in as we work through it together, or, grab a copy and work through it at your own pace in your own time.
Either way, you will have a clutter free life by the time you work through all 31 days!