You are here:
Best Way to Organize Bills - Organize Files
Organize Files is part of a series on how to organize an office and how to organize it all .
Why is it important to organize bills? The answer is simple. When it comes to keeping track of your personal finances, organization is key. If you don't have a system to deal with your financial paperwork, you could be dealing with some serious consequences. Payment deadlines could be missed, important documents could be lost and, maybe most importantly, you will waste a lot of your time sifting through piles of paper when you could be spending that time with your family.
Everyone has bills that need to be paid. It is important to develop a system to organize bills so that you know exactly where they are and what their status is. This is important for two reasons:
- Late bills cost you money. Whether it be for the fees that creditors charge for late payments or interest rates on credit cards, paying bills late will cost you more.
- It messes up your credit and your budget. If you don’t account for a bill payment then your monthly budget is going to be messed up. Also, having late payments reported on your credit report will cause creditors to charge you more on interest rates in future loans or flat out deny you for a credit application. Both of which in turn will cost you opportunities and/or money (see #1 above) !
Your system should include a designated home for unpaid bills. Once you decide where you will keep your unpaid bills, get into the habit of putting the bills into their home the minute you open your mail. That way, you will always know where your bills are when you are ready to pay them and there is no chance of them getting buried under a stack of other papers.
A tickler file has made a world of difference to me for this.
The second part of your system should be a designated home for paid bills. A file box or filing cabinet with labeled file folders works well for this. Once you pay a bill, the portion of the bill or statement that you keep for your financial records should be immediately placed in its corresponding file folder. This accomplishes two things:
- It helps you to visibly see that the bill has been removed from the "unpaid bills" pile so you know, at-a-glance, that it has been paid.
- It also ensures that you will know exactly where that payment stub is if you need it in the future.
In addition to creating labeled file folders to organize bills, you should also have files for other important documents that you need to keep for your records. These files should all be kept together in one file box or filing cabinet. Taking the time to organize your files and keep all of your important documents in one place is all part of making sure that your personal finance records are complete and organized.
How to organize office files is really a matter of personal preference. The easiest and most logical way to organize files is to simply store them alphabetically. Be sure to keep some extra folders on hand in case you need to file a document that does not yet have a folder.
The goal is to create a home filing system that works for you.
How to Organize an Office
The final step to a well-rounded organization plan is to organize your office, or the area in your home where you keep your financial documents. How to organize an office really depends on the answers to some questions that will be unique to each family.
- What do you use your office for?
- Do you work from home or is your office strictly to keep track of the family's personal finances?
- Does your office do double-duty? If so, what else is it used for?
The answers to these types of questions will guide you in making the decisions that are right for your specific needs. For
example, if your home office does double-duty as a guest bedroom, you'll want to be sure that your family's files are able to be stashed away when company arrives. If you work from home, you'll want to be sure to keep your family's files separate from your work files and designate time to work on each.
Return from Organize Bills to Family Finance Matters
Return to Personal Financial Planning home