Paying bills is not a chore any of us want to do, but it is one that we must do. A great first step is making sure you know how to organize you bills so they get paid on time and help you keep good records for tax time.
Not to mention the time you will save paying your bills because everything will be where you need it, saving you time searching for that one bill you need.
And the stress you will save by knowing exactly when things are due, what you already paid, and the peace of mind knowing you are all caught up paying your bills.
So lets simplify the process with ideas to make paying bills easier, save time and frustration, and hopefully learn to enjoy it just a little.
Set up a bill paying station
You’ll need an area in your home where you can comfortably and conveniently organize your bills. This could be an office in your home, a desk, or even a small table can work too.
Pick a place that you can dedicate just for bills, mail, and/or family planning.
Designating an area just for this will help you to stay organized and less cluttered, which is a huge step in helping you to pay your bills successfully.
Be sure to have these things readily available in this area. A paper shredder, pens, pencils and highlighter, a calculator, file folders, file holders, file cabinet, stamps and envelopes, a printer, and a laptop or other method of getting online.
How to organize paying bills
Now that you have your space I want you to find a few baskets, boxes or any other containers to sort what you already have. These containers are just temporary so anything that can hold your papers will do.
Label one for “trash” and/or “recycling”, one for “bills to pay”, “to-do’s”, and one for paid bills that need “to be filed”.
Now grab your pile and go thru each piece of paper, each envelope, each bill, and put it into the appropriate labeled container.
Take all of your bills out of the envelopes and throw the envelope away and all junk mail, or recycle them. I will be willing to bet that more than half of your stack of papers will disappear just doing this!
Don’t forget to shred any sensitive information before throwing away. Stay safe!
Next, take your trash and/or recycling pile out of the house. I bet you feel better already!
How to organize bills and mail at home
Next we can figure out what kind of permanent containers you’ll need for the paperwork you are keeping.
There are many different containers available to organize your bills and what you get depends on how many bills and papers you have, and what kind of space you have for paying your bills.
If you have a wall near your bill paying area, use this space by hanging file folder bins on it. Not only does this keep you organized but it also frees up your work area. Buy one that has at least 3 sections and label them “bills to be paid”, “to do’s”, and “to be filed”.
Here are a few ideas to start with.
If you don’t have wall space or a door nearby, then buy the stack-able file bins to sit on your desk or table with sections labeled just like the wall organizers.
You will also need some file folders. This is basically so you can organize your paperwork together and be able to transport them easily to your file cabinet later.
Now we are going to empty the containers you sorted into the appropriate file folders.
Your “bills to pay folder”
The “bills to pay” folder is self explanatory. It will hold everything that has to be paid. Keep this folder front and center because it is the most important.
Within the folder you can organize bills by due date. When you open your bill, use a highlighter to highlight the due date. This will help you see quickly when a bill is due. Put the oldest bills, the ones that are due first, in front, and they will get paid first.
If you have duplicate overdue bills gather them together, with the most recent on on top, and staple together. This way you will have the most up to date amounts due on the top of the pile.
As you pay each bill write paid, the amount you paid, the date, and any amount still due.
If you paid the bill in full then put it into the “to be filed” folder.
If you still have a balance due, then staple it to the last month’s bill and leave it in the “to be paid” folder.
The “To Do” folder
In the “to do” folder you will keep everything that needs your attention but isn’t a bill.
This would include school papers to be signed, warranties to send in, projects to do, and any other important papers that need your attention.
You should go through and complete items in this folder at least once a week. You can also keep this folder organized by sorting the items by date due or most important in front.
Take all completed to-do’s and outgoing mail and put them in a basket or bin near the front door so you will be reminded to take them with you when you leave.
The “to be filed” folder
Use this folder as a temporary place to hold your paid bills. Empty this folder on a regular basis into your file cabinet, or wherever you store your paid bills.
Don’t let this folder get out of hand or you will be overloaded with papers again.
How to file your paperwork
Take the “to be filed” folder to where you house your paid bills. If you don’t have a file cabinet or other storage place for them then you will need to get one. Here are a few different options to concider depending on your space and amount of paperwork you have to file.
I wrote post teaching you how to set up a filing system that will help you with this. But for now you will need to file these paid bills and empty this folder.
Now put the empty folder back into to your bill paying area.
Bill paying checklist
- Take a few minutes each day to sort, trash, and/or organize your papers. Setting up your filing system is just the beginning. You need to keep up with your filing to stay organized.
- As soon as mail and school papers come in, trash junk mail and envelopes right away. You’ll cut your paper stack way down.
- Keep empty folders on hand to help you organize your paperwork and bills.
- Have a designated place to pay your bills
- Use available space for holding your file folders and paperwork such as walls or back of door.
- Schedule a time each week to pay your bills. Bills come due at different times during the month, so paying bills monthly doesn’t make sense. Stick to a weekly schedule and you’ll only have to pay a few bills at a time making the task less daunting.
- Try an online bill tracker app to keep track of due dates.
I hope this post taught you how to pay your bills by being more organized and more disciplined. The hardest part is always getting set up. But, keeping things organized is the easy part. You’ve got this!