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Cari's Corner

Organizing Ideas and Tips


July, 2015

Bill Payment

Bill payment is a task that everyone does, or at least has someone who does it for them. Here are my suggestions to make this task easier.
 
Certainly the easiest thing is to hire someone to take care of it for you. There are Bookkeepers who will pay bills, as well as Daily Money Managers and some Professional Organizers who will take care of this for you.  Feel free to email me if you have questions about this service.
 
But if you are someone who likes to do it yourself, here are some tips:
 
If you are comfortable with online payments:
  • Set up all your bills to only be sent as paperless statements.
  • Set up as many bills as possible on automatic payment.  This can work directly from your bank account or on a credit card.
  • Set up any monthly investment deposits as automatic transfers.
  • Set reminders for yourself to check your bank balance a few days before any automatic payments if your accounts are at risk of being too low.
  • For bills that can't auto-pay, set up a schedule for yourself to make the payments.
  • Check to see if your bank has a free bill payment system, and set up any accounts that are not on auto-pay for payment through your bank's system. 
  • Set your email system with smart mailboxes to automatically sort all bill emails into one folder.
  • Set up two days each month where you pay all non-auto payments, and enter all payments into your check register.
  • For those bills that you will still receive as paper bills (medical, gardening, etc...), have a specific folder or basket where these bills go when they arrive.  On your scheduled bill payment days, make sure these paper bills get paid as well. 
If you prefer paper: 
  • As your bills arrive in the mail, write the due date on the envelope, and put it in a specific bin or folder that is set aside just for bills.
  • Schedule a bill-paying day twice a month. Put it on your task list or calendar.
  • Some companies will allow you to set up an auto-payment to a credit card over the phone. Try this for the bills you feel comfortable with.
  • Store everything you need in order to pay your bills together in one place – envelopes, stamps, return address labels, pens, and your checkbook. 
 Whichever payment method you use, I suggest keeping a record of all bills you pay. For me this is an Excel sheet on my computer that shows the biller, date received, due date, amount, how I paid, and any payment confirmation number. When a bill comes in I jot it down on the list, and when it is paid I make those notes. This is a great running record of everything you have paid.  It is also nice when a bill arrives that I don't want to pay until closer to the due date (like Property Tax).  Add this bill to your list and highlight it, so that when the due date approaches you can pay the bill on time.  If you are using accounting software like Quicken or Quickbooks, this is not necessary, but for regular household bill paying it is nice to have a record of what has been paid.
 
Bill paying is one of my favorite tasks.  See what you can do to make it an easier one for you!

 
A home for your bills!

Cari's Product Favorites

File Sorter

I really like to sort mail in a vertical file sorter.  I find that items can get buried in a bin, but in this type of file sorter nothing gets forgotten.  This is a great place to sort your mail into different categories, and have one slot reserved for bills to be paid.  Another slot can have your envelopes, stamps, Return address labels and check book.  Then on bill payment day, you are ready to go.  These come in all sorts of different styles and sizes.  The one pictured here is $16.99 from The Container Store.
Uploads your statements for you!

Cari's Favorite Apps

FileThis

I mentioned this service last year, but I think it is worth repeating in this issue.  FileThis is a great service for retrieving your statements from all the different companies that you use.  "FileThis is like a personal assistant for all your paperwork.  It automatically collects, and organizes your online bills, documents, and statements in an easy to use digital filing cabinet.”
 
It is available for your mobile device or any computer, and allows you access to all your statements - anything from banking to utilities to insurance.  It will fetch 6 different companies for free, or just $20 per year for up to 12 connections.  That is usually enough for most households.

About Cari:


Cari is a Residential Professional Organizer and Personal Photo Organizer in the NE Areas of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.  Cari specializes in organizing home offices and photos.  As a Financial Organizer, Cari also provides Daily Money Manager services.

Do you have digital photos that need organizing?  Ask about our remote digital photo organizing services.

Cari also offers maintenance services to help you keep your home office in shape, and your papers up to date.  Weekly, monthly or even quarterly sessions will help keep your paper life and bills under control. 

You can find more information about Cari and her services on our website:  Cari's Custom Organizing
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