Organized Home

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Easy Bill System

I manage the finances in our house, and if I manage it..... I organize it! Here is my easy system for storing and paying those pesky household bills and how little time it actually takes.

  • I have 1 file labeled BILLS TO PAID 1ST-14TH of the month, or the first half of the month. When I receive bills in the mail, they get opened, trash removed, and dropped in here. 
  • The same routine goes for a second file labeled BILLS TO BE PAID 15TH-30TH, or second half of the month. If a bill is due on the 13th, it goes in the 1st-14th file for convenience and easy paying and so forth with other dates that fall between the categories. I only pay bills twice a month, it is prescheduled on my calendar so that I do not miss it and I can schedule around it. 
  • I have a file labeled STAMPS/ADDRESS LABELS to easily locate these items and see when they need to be replenished. 
  • I have a basket in easy reach of where we drop all our end of the day "gear" i.e., phones, keys, purse in order to drop all receipts in quickly, for checkbook reconciliation.
  1. When it's time to pay the bills, I gather the files I need, the basket and at the desk I have my calculator and envelopes in reach. I use the online banking system to reconcile my Household account checking with my receipts, usually taking as little as 10 minutes. I also check our other accounts to see that all is well there, heading off any errors right away.... I once was enrolled in a program without my knowledge, deducting a monthly fee from my credit card, had I not been checking this regularly I wouldn't have noticed the reoccurring charge. 
  2. At the same time, I sort my receipts for "Keep" and "Shred", doing double duty and handling them only once. 
  3. Now having my current balance, I pay the online "Bill Pay" items first, printing out my bill and confirmation of payment. I keep a list in each file of these items for reference making sure I don't skip anything. In my Check Register (CR) these items are marked with BP in the Check Number column for reference and deducted. This takes as little as 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Then the "paper" invoices are paid, recorded in my CR, and marked paid with date and check #, then placed in envelopes with stamps and return address labels. This takes as little as 10 minutes, depending on how many you have. 
Okay, the Bills are done! Put the paid bill envelopes by the door you most use, so you can drop them in the mail box right away. But we are not done yet, let's move on to storing the bills after you have paid them.
  • I have 12 files labeled for each month holding the completed bills paid for that month. 
  1.  While gathering the files in the beginning of our process, I also have pulled that month's file. This month would be labeled OCTOBER. 
  2. After the bills are paid and recorded, they are dropped in this file. Having these monthly files helps quickly locate past payment information throughout the year and will be invaluable come Tax Preparation time.
  3. At the end of the year, these files get emptied and the new year starts out with clear files. The paperwork that is required to save for tax reference gets saved together in a large envelope marked Taxes 2009.... but that is a whole 'nother Bog :)
Return files to their drawers, put away the calculator and the envelopes and 30 minutes later you are done and completely organized for the next time!

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