Saturday, November 9, 2013

Seeing red with money and mail management

A few months ago I went hunting for a bill I knew I needed to pay and soon realized it was lost in what I thought was an organized pile of papers to be filed. Let's face it, there's nothing organized about a pile of papers..we're just trying to fool ourselves. I needed an answer that was easy, simple and actually doable. First I needed to figure out what I needed out of the new system. I needed it to sort my mail, help make bill paying easier and deal with stuff I'll need for taxes…oh and it needed to be free or close to.  :)

What I came up with was a big red binder I had on hand. Red seemed like a color that screamed "Don't Lose Me!" so I went with it. I had some leftover dividers with pockets from another project so I labeled each for my needs. I also used some Dollar General page protections for all the papers (I'm kind of addicted to them. I think hold need they keep the papers and make them easy to flip though), some left over three level binders and a pencil holder pocket from Dollar General too and my trusty label maker. You can just use tape and a marker if that's what you have on hand. After all, it's all about being thrifty! :)

Appropriately titled "Money Management, Mail Management"

(the tabs don't really stick out this far, it's the camera angle)

Filing: This isn't a true section so much as a three level folder I put in the inside pocket. In this space I can put papers that I need to keep close and aren't ready to be filed yet. Also there's a place for things that need filing and for the new mail. When the map comes in I put the majority of it here, unless it needs urgent help..then it goes in it's proper place elsewhere.

Pencil holder: Remember these from your school days? These are great for holding the checkbook, payment booklets..anything you need for bills you might otherwise misplace.

Bills: this section holds all my current bills and one statement for every bill I pay. I just needed one as a reference for account info and contact numbers. This is very helpful when you have to call to make changes or have questions. On one pocket I labeled it urgent for the things that need serious attention, this way it doesn't get lost in the other bills..those get placed in the pocket on the other side.

Log in: I printed out some pages I found online and used this section to keep track of all my passwords and log in info. Now my husband knows where to find the info and I don't have to rely on myself or my computer to remember it. I'm covered if my computer crashes too. :)

Taxes: This section actually makes me money in the long run! I printed out a list of tax deductions for reference on things to keep I might not otherwise. I used another three level folder to label all the major tax deduction categories I use. As I collect papers and receipts I put them in each pocket. When tax times comes I just take the folder to the tax prep service..easy as that!

Debts: In this section I put all the debts I'm currently paying on. If I every have a question about the terms or conditions I know right where to look.

Total cost of this time, money and frustration saving binder.. $3!

My system is simple. When I get the mail I sort it in my binder and shred the trash or sensitive stuff. When I pay bills, I sit down with the binder and get the job done fast and efficiently. When the "Need to file" section gets full I take the stuff out and take care of it. It's as easy as that!! No more lost papers, no more paying fines for lost bills..I'm thrilled :)

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