Bills: Tag it and bag it - Metro US

Bills: Tag it and bag it

If cleanliness and —adding a new dimension to the proverb — orderliness are next to godliness, my household is doomed to an eternity in purgatory.

From a mountain of solo socks to stacks of newspapers and magazines on the chairs, the space I work and live in is often in gentle disarray.

But I’m fussy about financial bits and pieces. All it takes to lose control financially is to let stacks of statements, receipts and bills pile up.

Tame the chaos with three folders marked with the following: To Read, To File, To Pay. Put them in a wall-mounted file holder, a desktop file box or an accordion folder and locate it close to where you enter the house or sort your mail.

Each day when you open the snail mail, check your email or clean out your wallet, slot everything into its place. Getting the items into a file with a specific intent is a big part of organization.

It is the eco-trend to go paperless but even so I recommend prin­ting out e-bills or proofs of payment as they arrive and filing them. Statements from banks, Canada Revenue Agency, RRSPs and RESPs belong in To Read.

Just getting the envel­opes opened forces you to pay attention even if you don’t have time to scrutinize the contents.

In the second, To File, put receipts relating to next year’s taxes — daycare and medical receipts, for instance — and general purchase receipts.

Don’t forget to keep grocery tabs and even receipts for small items: Anything you buy can be defective or unsuitable and the majority of non-sale items can be returned.

Finally, the category most people fret about, To Be Paid. Open, take a peek, circle the due date and in it goes. Twice a month clear out To Be Paid and once a month go through the To Read file and find a final resting place for everything in To File.

If you follow these three simple steps you’ll keep your financial house in order and achieve a delightful sense of financial control.

Alison’s Money Rule:

• To Read. To Pay. To File. Three simple steps are all it takes to keep your financial house in order.

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