If you’re already a great organizer, you probably don’t need many tips on how to improve your efficiency for handling bills. You’ve probably already got a perfect home mail organizing center, with color-coding and everything! These tips for handling bills more efficiently are much more basic, but they’re also much easier to implement. After all, there are many different systems for handling bills more efficiently, but none of them will do any good if you don’t commit to them!
Do set up files for each type of bill. You can do this in several different ways. It’s easiest to make a “Paid” file for every type of bill, and a differently-coloured “Unpaid” file for all new bills. The Unpaid file needs to be in a place where it’s highly visible, so that you’ll check it at least once a week. Some people like to set up different “Unpaid” files by week or file bills together with the household budget. If you only have a small number of bills, you can just post the unpaid ones on the refrigerator and file them away after they’re paid.
If you’re computer-oriented, do sort your bills on your smartphone. There are all kinds of programs to help you, along with alerts you can set up to remind you when they’re supposed to be paid. The important thing is to enter each bill immediately. If you’re diligent about this, the computer will do the rest.
Do open all mail or ebills immediately. Pull out the invoice and anything that needs to be read and read it immediately. Watch out for mistakes in the bills or automatic opt-ins that you don’t want. If the terms of your service have changed, read them carefully. Place new terms of service and anything else you need to hang onto into the paid bill file by order of date.
Do sort all bills immediately by date due, using whatever system you’ve set up. Ideally you’ll only be handling each bill twice, once when you open it and once when you pay it. As long as you keep your bills in order by due date, you’ll always be clear on what needs to be paid next.
Decide on whether you’re going to be paying bills weekly or monthly. That’s how often you’re going to be checking your file for the unpaid bills which fall during that period and paying those bills off. If you want to pay each bill exactly on the due date, make a habit of checking the file each day, either when you have breakfast or when you pick up the mail.
Do file the paid bill away immediately after it’s been paid. Once a year, when you start thinking about taxes, cull all the bills from the previous tax year. Add the year to those files and place them into a labelled storage box for that year.
Do dump everything except the invoice and anything else you need to deal with into recycling. If it’s got your name, account number, or personal data on it, put it into the shredder first. Don’t give it a chance to grow into mountains of paper clutter!
Don’t leave your bills unorganized. You don’t want to be spending more time with your bills than you have to! Look at it, sort it, pay it when it’s due, and file it away.
Whatever else you do, don’t ever leave bills unopened! Stalling on opening bills doesn’t make them go away. If you’re in serious money trouble that’s going to start putting you behind on paying bills, call the company immediately! It’s better to work out new payment arrangements than to wait until you’re drowning in debt.