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Clean Up Your Bill Clutter

An unorganized bill system can bring havoc to your finances. You have to create a system and keep it in place so that it works for you. Somebody else’s system will never work for you. But you may be able to take some ideas from others in order to create your own.

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If you are anything like me, your system has to be simple. A system that is too complicated gets put off. Then the domino effect takes place. The more you put it off, the more here will be to do in the long run. Personally, the method I use has worked for me for several years. I have kept it simple and easy to use so that in case anybody needs to, they can jump right in and take over where I left off. Hopefully you can benefit from my methods as well.

I have a one inch binder that is the center of my bill system. Do not use a binder that is any thicker. The thicker the binder, the more clutter it can hold. Your binder needs to have three prongs to hold paper and dividers. It needs to have pockets on the front cover and back cover. The beginning of school is a great time to buy binders. I recently found them for $.50 each. Don’t spend a lot of money creating your binder.

Now let’s organize your binder and rid your life of bill clutter. Open your organizer. The pocket on the front cover should be used for future purchases only. Place catalogs here. But be careful not to overload the pocket with junk. No more than three items in this pocket at a time.

The first organization tool you should have in your binder is a divider with a pocket. This pocket is where you first park your incoming papers. I’ll tell you more about this later.

Next you should have a bill schedule form for each bill you have. Even if you do all your bills on the computer, this piece of paper is the most important tool you may have. In the event of an crisis, all your payee information will be in one central location. Your bill schedule form should have four lines at the top. On these four lines put the payees name, address, phone number and your account number. The remainder of your page should contain a simple spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should contain a place for the balance, date due, amount due and date paid/amount paid. More on how to use this later. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but stick with me. You only have to print these pages once a year. Make a blank form, print plenty and fill out the needed information at the beginning of the year. Use the extra forms throughout the year as you need them.

The last item in your organizer is another pocket divider. This divider is the last place you park your bills until they are filed in their final destination.

You are now ready to use your organizer. Your bills come in. Take each bill and log them onto their individual bill schedule form. Proceed with your usual bill paying system. Place the paper bill into the last pocket divider. When you pay your bills, pull this paper bill, log the payment onto the bill schedule form and file. You should never have more than one bill for each payee in the divider at a time. This helps cut down on clutter also.

This is the basis system that I have in place. Occasionally I change a little detail here and there. Overall it works for my family. Create a simple system for you and don’t be afraid to change alter it as needed to make it work for you.

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Roxanna Ward, Community leader and staff writer for http://www.BabyUniversity.com, lives in Georgia with her husband and her three children. As a published freelance writer the focus of her writing is concentrated on sharing household tips, her experience with her frugal lifestyle as well as the phenomenal process of breastfeeding, child rearing related issues and romantic relationships. She is also currently the Editor of three newsletters:
What’s New at BabyU?, Intimate Encounters and At Home with Baby University. Roxanna can be contacted at Roxanna30135@aol.com

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