New Year’s Resolutions & Bill Paying

As you reflect on 2009 and the time spent in your home office, perhaps you had trouble keeping up with your filing?
If so, the system is probably too complex. Statistics say that we never look at 80% of what we file so ask yourself two questions: “WHY do I have this?” and “WHERE ELSE can I find this?”
For example, the conventional wisdom is to file paper bills but do you really need October’s utility bill? Can you find the payment listed on your bank’s site? (added bonus at tax time: you can download payee info for the year straight from the bank’s site into Quicken or Excel) If you need to know account details such as energy usage, you can quickly access that information on the utility’s website. So WHY are you keeping the paper?
I suggest my clients take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with their bank and utility’s websites. Once they know how easy it is to access the information, they can “go paperless” with an easy mind. If a bill is a regular amount, put it on automatic payment and never have to worry about it again. The time savings repeats every month for every bill you delegate. In addition, consider dollar savings – a monthly bill needs checks, stamps etc. which are around $6 per year. Setting up on-line payments takes about 5 minutes to do – if you spent an hour and set up 12 bills, you just saved $72 and (as Benjamin Franklin said “a dollar saved is a dollar earned.”

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