Friday, August 31, 2007

Simplify Your Bills and Life: Streamline Paperwork

The paperless society never materialized. A paper trail is valuable in a financial dispute but many people are awash in useless paper. You can keep what you need and shred the rest.

Use might some combination of these options:

  • Keep a shredder where you take in and open mail. Reduce handling by making a keep-or-shred decision the first time you see something. Handling each item 3 times is like asking the mailman to triple your junk mail.
  • Designate a container for what you keep (an envelope for a particular utility or a carry-handle box for everything) and then winnow the contents as necessary to use “make it fit” for inventory control.
  • Save only a key page or part of a page (maybe a summary for the gas bill, maybe the itemized list for credit cards). You might get a 5-page statement of which you need only a third of the page.
  • Save only recent bills (or more of recent bills and less of old bills).
  • Save only “red letter day” details (important milestones).
  • Save only endpoints (opening and closing a loan).
  • Save only records of what you paid (v. what you owe, for which you often find no shortage of people to remind you).


FIRE Finance said...

Thanks for visiting our post on Safe- keeping of Records and leaving a comment. Great points mentioned in your post, keep it up!
FIRE Finance

J at IHB and HFF said...

You are welcome and thank you for the feedback.