I’ve finally struck on a system for filing all our bills, statements, and other financial paperwork that really works for me. I need to credit probably Real Simple magazine or Better Homes or Gardens, and my apologies for not remembering from which magazine I got this brilliant idea. I had a major “AHA” moment when I read it, and that was 5 years ago – it’s been smooth-sailing ever since. So if you’ve seen this before and remember where, let me know please!
It’s actually very simple.
When bills arrive, I place them in this folder.
Then you need 12 folders labeled January through December.
Towards the end of the month, I pay everything that has landed in the Bills To Pay folder. Next, I file them away in the appropriate month folder and throw out/recycle the bills from the previous year.
By organizing this way, I’m continuously cycling through a years worth of bills and I don’t have to remind myself to throw away old ones. In a year’s time, I’ve sorted through all the discrepancies, taxes, etc, that have arisen through the year and there’s really no real reason to hold onto them.
I use this for all utilities, car and mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, etc.
I use a separate folder to save ALL credit card statements and I keep them forever. I’ve needed to go back sometimes to prove I purchased something more than 1 year ago, so it’s helpful to have them all in date order.
I also save all 401K, investment and savings bank statements in individual files with the bank or institution name by year (For example, if we had an account with Chase Bank, I would label the file “Chase Bank 2009″ . So after my drawers get full, I move files from several years ago out to other storage (like the attic), and keep my system going. After 7 years, you can pitch these too.
I also have a Tax Folder for the year.
Imagine a photo of “Tax Folder 2009″ right here.
Inside, I keep all relevant tax info so I don’t have to hunt for it in January, February, and March. Reciepts for property taxes, car registration payments, donation confirmations, etc go in this folder. Anything that you **might** need to complete taxes.
This system has really worked for me and I know you have other ideas that work for you! Please SHARE THEM!
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