Saturday, December 7, 2013

A System for Filing Unpaid Bills

Bills!  Almost every adult gets them, and they have to be paid -- preferably, on time.  I hate to mention them this time of year, when some of you are already stressed out.  However, if you have a system, it will be easier to keep track of the bills that come in.

Bear in mind, I am not qualified to give any advice on how to manage your money;  however, I can give you suggestions  on organizing so you know when to pay the bills that come in.

Losing bills is something that often happens when you live in clutter.  Bills get lost in the pile of mail on a counter or a table.  Then, you move the pile and you forget you even had the bill.  Maybe your focus is not the best, because you are fighting brain fog.  Or, bills may set off anxiety attacks, because you are living on the edge of depression.

One thing you can do is put your mail in a basket, as soon as it comes in the house.  If you are in the middle of something, come back later to sort it.  And if for some reason you forget to sort it, the mail is not going to be shuffled around.  You will know where to find it -- right there in the basket.  However, don't use the basket as an excuse to let the mail pile up;  because, you will basically be in the same boat.  Just throwing the mail in a basket is not enough:  this is only the first step for busy people.  The best thing would be to go through the mail right away, filing the bills and trashing the junk mail;  however, the basket is an excellent container for when that isn't possible.

The next step is to have a file system.  It doesn't have to be a big file;  but you need to be able to mark it according to when the bills are due, so you can get them mailed on time.  If you are using a paperless system on your computer, you may need to mark the days you pay bills on your calendar.  Moreover, it is best not to wait until the last minute, because it will be more stressful waiting until the last possible day to pay them.  Not waiting until the last minute is also a matter of being good to yourself.  That way you have some space, just in case you are in the middle of a flare with brain fog galore on bill paying day.
For more information, you can
check out the bottom of my page.
For bills, I like a desktop file organizer that contains hanging files.  You can arrange the folders  according to the bill due date;  or, they can also be arranged according to the date bills should be mailed to reach the vendor:  ie.  Due 1-8, Due 11-18, Due 19-23, Due 24-31.  If you need some buoying up on bill paying day, you might want to attach some inspirational stickers that inspire you -- something that makes you smile.

I hope this helps.  It's something practical you can put in your to-do file for January if you don't have time now.  Meanwhile, keep an empty drawer, box, bowl, or basket handy to save that mail.  Also, you can post sticky notes in handy places to remind you of what you need to do.

P.S.  You can also put a folder for each of the bills that come in, so you can file the bill after you pay it.  Or, I suppose you could have one of those nifty machines that scan and file bills for you.  However, I suppose I am still a little old fashioned.  It's nice to have the paper backup, in case you ever need it.  I would have to check out the legality of the scanned paper, and I need a break -- not doing it today.


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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah