Create a listEither electronically or in a notebook create a list of the monthly bills you receive as well as other paper statements.
Receive your statement electronicallySet aside two hours to visit each company's website that is on your list. Switch the way you receive your statements from paper to email. On each company's website you'll find detailed instructions on how to do this. It's likely found in the site's "billing" section. Many companies will give you some kind of an incentive for doing this.
Use online billpayIt's easiest to pay your bills online through your main bank as opposed to paying through each biller's website. Your bank has been offering this service for years, they've made the process pretty simple. The most efficient way to get it done is to have a paper copy of each of your bills nearby so you can enter the complete biller's information including account numbers. After you get it all set up you can pay each bill automatically each month or manually. I pay mine manually. Every Sunday I take a look at what is owed and pay online.
Set up an online filing systemCreate an online web-based email folder - google docs is great for this. This enables you to have a back up of the bills and gives you access to them from anywhere.
Create a bill folder on your hard drive. Inside the bill folder create sub-folders. There are a few ways to do this.
- By biller: Health Insurance, Gas, Electric
- By month
- By due date
Back it upI think many people don't "go electronic" because they feel a sense of security in having the paper copy as back up. By copying your files onto an external hard drive monthly you will have a back up. A cheaper option is to store a copy of the information on a CD.
Follow a maintenance scheduleThe key to any system is setting up a regular schedule and sticking to it. Schedule 30 minutes a week to
- pay your bills or verify your online payments.
- Read your online statements
- File your online statements
- Back up your online statements
Tackle existing paper
Take a month to get use to your new system. You'll likely feel good about the results of less paper. Now set aside two hours a week to scan, then shred, important papers in existing files.
Do you want to be file free?