I mentioned on Twitter last night that I’d finally gotten around to filing nine months worth of bills, paychecks and other assorted paperwork. My “method,” if you can call it that, is quite simplistic.
I have one of those rolling 3-drawer plastic organizers. The top drawer contains only paperwork related to the house purchase and maintenance, while the bottom drawer has all of my previous papers sorted by type and date, and are separated by rubber bands. The middle drawer is my “catch-all” — I toss all of our papers in there (bills that I’ve paid, receipts, etc.) until it gets full. That’s when I finally break down and start filing it correctly, adding it to my organized, rubber-banded piles in the bottom drawer.
It takes about eight or nine months to fill up that catch-all drawer, and last night I was finally ready to get my filing done. Red from Girl With the Red Balloon did bring up a good point:
@RainyDaySaver Why do you file your bills? If you pay online, they usually keep at least 12 months of history saved on the website.
Yes, I’ve made it into the 21st century — I pay all of my bills online. But I still get paper bills in the mail, since I can’t seem to wean myself off of them, no matter how many times my utility company sends me an email asking me to go paperless. I’m comforted (well, as much as one could be by a stack of bills) by seeing the statements each month. I pile them up on my desk and then pay them off, noting the payment date and amount on the statement — another personal finance quirk I picked up from my dad.
Once filed, I keep about 2 years’ worth of statements (longer for paycheck stubs). Once I add the newest batch to the collection, I remove the oldest papers to a pile and then shred them. Although I’ll have to be careful — the last go-round, I broke my shredder, which my brother kindly replaced for me last Christmas.
How do you file your bills and such — do you leave a paper trail, as I do, or do you take Red’s route and shred it all, falling back on online statements when you need to reconcile amounts or dispute a charge?