Originally Posted by transformed
I'd like to have a tent in the woods and not do any of it.
I hate that I have to deal with this stuff.
Me too! I especially hate tax time. DH and I always end of getting so tense about everything!
My system for dealing with important financial records has changed over the years. I used to keep everything in the home office, but now that my office is upstairs, I keep things in the kitchen. I have several places or ways of keeping all the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual paperwork.
For the daily/weekly stuffy like bills, I have a "home" binder with pocket folders for each month. As bills come in, I put them in the appropriate folder. Once or twice a week, after DS is in bed, I sit down at the dining table and write out the bills and balance my books. I keep the checkbook, pen, extra envelops, stamps, and calculator, in a decorative planter on my kitchen counter. This way it’s all together and I don’t have to hunt for what I need to take care of the bills. After I write the bill, I record the check number and amount on the bill stub as well as my checkbook. I keep the stubs in the home binder under the appropriate month.
I have a small wire hanging file box/basket for important files (daycare receipts, coupons and rebates, medical receipts, tax-related files, or whatever you need to keep available) that need to be maintained throughout the year. I like the hanging file, because it’s easier to keep organized and find what I need over a flat/stacking file system. I try to make a point of putting important documents in the right file folders as I get them. At minimum, I file things that pile up on the kitchen counter once a week. I keep the file basket and the binder in a kitchen cabinet, out of sight, but convenient enough that I will keep up with it.
In the basement I have a large 4-drawer file cabinet where I store old paper work. All our financial documents are in one drawer. I keep old checkbooks and ledgers in there too. The other three drawers have professional work-related documents. At the end of each year, I move all the year’s documents from the "home" binder and kitchen file to the basement, in order to make space for the new year in the binder and basket file.
Just last Sunday I spent two hours purging old financial documents from 2000 and older out of the file cabinet in the basement. I did this because I was starting to run out of storage space in my file cabinet and I wanted there to be room for this year’s stuff at the end of December. I kept all our tax documents, but I didn’t think there was a need to keep things like my electric bills from 2000.
To make an organization system I recommend purchasing: file folders, a binder with pocket folders, a small hanging file box/basket, and some file-system for "deep storage" of documents from past years (such as a small file cabinet). Look for file folders and binders cheap at the dollar store. You might find sales for file boxes, binders, and folders this time of year at office stores. File cabinets can be purchased used at thrift stores or at university salvage.