If you feel like you don’t have time to sort and organize your home bills (or any paper, for that matter) you are not alone. As hard as I try, my desk is always in disarray all because of the amount of paper I accumulate daily. I never seem to catch up.
We barely receive any bills in the mail anymore, since we are signed up for e-statements for the majority of them. However, the pile of paper keeps growing on my desk. I still get one bill here and there, I still print my payment confirmations and that means I still have to sort and file the records.
How to Sort Your Paperwork at home
You can sort paperwork into different categories, and those categories will depend on many variables. These could be your type of business or employment, size of your household or even your lifestyle.
One thing we all have in common: we all have home bills. We all have rent or a mortgage, or any kind of loan, utilities, tuition, credit cards, car payments, medical expenses, etc.
Here is an easy system that will help you organize your bills at home. Whether you have a designated home office or bill paying area or nook in your home, this is a no-fail system and it will take you only one day to put together.
1. Designate a Space for Your Home Bills
Whether you pay your bills by mail or online, a desk and some desk accessories will be absolutely necessary in order to be organized with your home bills.
Find a space in your home (it does not have to be too big) where you can set up the following supplies to work comfortably.
- Laptop, tablet or desktop computer
- A desktop organizer or mail tray
- Filing box or an accordion file folder
- Filing folders with tabs. You won’t need the folders if you choose to have an accordion file folder.
- Miscellaneous office supplies such as paper clips, stapler, post stamps, pens, highlighters, and my favorite: a PAID stamp!
- My free printables. See below!
2. Use These FREE Printables to organize your bills
Nothing like pen-to-paper and old-school notes. As much as I love using all my iPhone apps to keep me organized, I also like to write things down. Paper reminders are great! Here are a few printables from my very own archives that can help you with the home bills organization process.
- Finances Tracker: this free printable file contains 3 pages that can help you keep track of the payments that need to be posted and when they need to be posted.
- Automatic Payments Schedule: print one time, fill it out and keep by your bill pay center.
- Monthly Fixed Payments Tracker: print one time, fill it out and keep by your bill pay center.
- Monthly Variable Expenses Tracker: this is an extra page that can help you keep track of your miscellaneous monthly expenses.
- Matching Calendar: print monthly pages.
Find these, and more printables in my free printable library. Get instant access, and download every printable with one single click.
3. Set Up Your Mail Trays and Label Your Folders
Mail trays and file folders are probably the best investment you can do for your home bills organization. Every time a bill (or any correspondence) arrives, open it and set it down in a tray labeled: ‘to pay’ or ‘to do’.
After a bill has been paid, place it in a tray labeled ‘to file’. Better yet, if you have the time, file it immediately in your file organizer.
Last week, I had the opportunity to work with DYMO LabelWriter®. I can’t tell you how this label maker has made my office organization such an enjoyable process. As I prepare for tax season, I needed some organization done in the paperwork department. So, I labeled and neatly filed all my business-related papers last week, and this week I am working on our household bills.
4. Set a Bill Payment Day on Your Schedule
Nothing could be more disappointing than missing a credit card payment or a home bill payment and later, being charged with a steep late fee. Late fees can really add up, but the good news is, they can totally be avoided if you set up a schedule to pay your bills and stick to it.
Whenever possible, sign up for automatic payments. This is the best and easiest way to avoid missed payments and late fees. However, this is a system that will only work if you have good control of your money and your finances. So, before you sign up, make sure your bank account has a steady proper balance that can cover the transactions you have scheduled.
- Designate a day and a time each week to sit down and go through your bill payment schedule.
- Write checks, post instant payments, or schedule future payments.
- Stamp your bill as ‘paid’, and write down confirmation numbers (or check numbers) and file in its respective folder.
If your monthly income comes in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, plan your bill payment day right around the time your check would come in. It’s always best to pay your bills as soon as the money hits the bank.
The Importance of a home bills system
Setting a home bills organization system is important for two reasons:
1. You will have peace of mind knowing your bills are paid on time, and it also gives you a perspective on how much money you have left for other non-fixed expenses.
2. The paper clutter in your home can be dramatically reduced when you get caught up sorting, paying, and filing those bills. If your bills have a ‘home’, you won’t find any more papers and envelopes scattered around your desk, kitchen counters, purse, and even in your car. I’ve seen it all!
Hope these tips help you get your home bills under control and paid on time, every time!