Anyone NOT go paperless for bills? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been getting paper statements forever, even though I always pay the bills online & don't even open the paper statements. I'm reluctant to switch to online-only. We don't have a printer so I can't just print things out when I need them. We have pretty reliable internet right now, but it is likely that we may no longer have internet in the near future (in which case, I'd pay bills at the library, but not having these things close at hand makes me so anxious!) I always feel like I need to keep paper bills 'for my records' even though everything is so disorganized that I can't imagine finding anything if I actually needed it! If I went paperless, I could toss all our old papers (except the copies of checks from my bank account, which I need for tax purposes), so not only would it cut down on future clutter, but also help me get rid of 'old' clutter! Why can't I take the plunge??? Has anyone chosen to continue to receive paper bills? Anyone gone paperless & regretted it? Is this bizarre need for paper bills a sign of mental illness????

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#2 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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If you want to keep receiving paper statements, that's your choice, but I'm wondering how many of say, the electric or the phone bill, do you actually keep? Unless you need to keep something for tax records, I'd only keep the most current one and then ditch it when you get the next one.  I did that for a long time before I went paperless. I had one copy of everything, aside from bank statements.


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#3 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you want to keep receiving paper statements, that's your choice, but I'm wondering how many of say, the electric or the phone bill, do you actually keep?


I keep everything. I have phone bills, credit card statements, & utility bills from 10 years ago... even ones with coffee stains etc. lol because I'm afraid to throw them out, though I'm not sure what on earth I'd possibly need them for. I just get anxious thinking of throwing out anything related to finances. And the online statements usually only go back 90 days or 1 year or whatever so kind of panic that these things would be irretrievable... but boy do I like the *idea* of not having all this paper around...

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#4 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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I've been switching over all our stuff because I don't have a need to have things on paper, even our bank statements.  We have internet service that is really reliable, and a working printer if I need to print off a current/past bill for something.  Right now, all the papers are doing is collecting dust in the filing cabinet till I get around to shredding them.

 

 

It would make me nervous to go paperless if I didn't know I'd have internet access in the future.  I'd wait till I knew what the situation was going to be like before going paperless then.  If you have to go to the library to pay bills online, it may be easier to bring your stack of bills and pay them especially if time is limited, rather than having to log into each site to see what you owe.

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#5 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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I went paperless during my husbands last deployment and really enjoyed it. When he returned he took over our finances. We had a
few mishaps with bills being sent to my email and me trying to relay it to him. There was even a time when he'd forget to check his email account ( he has multiple ones for various jobs) and a bill would go unnoticed.

After about 2 months it became very clear that paperless just wasn't for him. We've made little system that really benefits everyone. We pay the bills online and write the confirmation # on the slip that is usually meant to be returned with a check. The rest of the paper goes into the shredder then composted. After about six months, the conformation slip makes it's way to the compost, too.

I like to see it as a way to give back to the earth since a tree was sacrificed to print the bill.

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#6 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 01:58 PM
 
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If you want to keep receiving paper statements, that's your choice, but I'm wondering how many of say, the electric or the phone bill, do you actually keep?




I keep everything. I have phone bills, credit card statements, & utility bills from 10 years ago... even ones with coffee stains etc. lol because I'm afraid to throw them out, though I'm not sure what on earth I'd possibly need them for. I just get anxious thinking of throwing out anything related to finances. And the online statements usually only go back 90 days or 1 year or whatever so kind of panic that these things would be irretrievable... but boy do I like the *idea* of not having all this paper around...

Holy cr*p! You need to throw stuff out in a major way! ;-)  I'm going to be blunt, what use is an electric bill from 10 years ago going to be to you?

 

My bank does online statements going back SEVEN years (Chase).
 


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#7 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you want to keep receiving paper statements, that's your choice, but I'm wondering how many of say, the electric or the phone bill, do you actually keep?




I keep everything. I have phone bills, credit card statements, & utility bills from 10 years ago... even ones with coffee stains etc. lol because I'm afraid to throw them out, though I'm not sure what on earth I'd possibly need them for. I just get anxious thinking of throwing out anything related to finances. And the online statements usually only go back 90 days or 1 year or whatever so kind of panic that these things would be irretrievable... but boy do I like the *idea* of not having all this paper around...

Holy cr*p! You need to throw stuff out in a major way! ;-)  I'm going to be blunt, what use is an electric bill from 10 years ago going to be to you?

 

My bank does online statements going back SEVEN years (Chase).
 


LOL!! I KNOW!! I can't rationalize it but at the same time I truly cannot imagine getting rid of them!

My bank statements are available for 1 year. My credit card has 90 days back. Not sure why they don't go further back. shrug.gif

It really would be very.... FREEING... to be able to get rid of it all & not have more accumulate. I just need to be absolutely certain there is no way I will ever need them. I don't have this problem with anything else -- I am a pro at decluttering toys, books, clothes, appliances, etc. -- I only keep papers. And ribbons, wrapping paper scraps, etc. but I actually do use those things. The papers are the problem. You should see how many (VERY DISORGANIZED) boxes of papers I have in the attic....

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#8 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went paperless during my husbands last deployment and really enjoyed it. When he returned he took over our finances. We had a
few mishaps with bills being sent to my email and me trying to relay it to him. There was even a time when he'd forget to check his email account ( he has multiple ones for various jobs) and a bill would go unnoticed.

You know, this is part of my problem the last few months. I pay all the bills online but DH gets the mail & mixes the regular bills in with other bills that I CAN'T pay online (quarterly fire taxes, water bill, random other bills) and then he puts the entire stack in a drawer or pile somewhere and I find it several days after the due date..... SOOOOOO stressful -- we now have a rule that DH cannot put mail away, he needs to let me sort through it so things like that don't happen, but it would be so much easier if we didn't have online bills coming in the mail in the first place!!

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#9 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 05:17 PM
 
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 The papers are the problem. You should see how many (VERY DISORGANIZED) boxes of papers I have in the attic....



Sometime in the mid-90s, my parents - who married in the mid-60s - FINALLY got rid of about TWENTY-FIVE YEARS of canceled checks.

 

Yes, I'm not joking. They had held onto EVERY canceled check since they got marrried. And heaven knows how much other paper they had.

 

And people wonder why I'm now a minimalist.


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#10 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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CM, perhaps you need to stop paying bills online and just write checks, if you're having issues with the stuff coming in the mail.


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#11 of 30 Old 02-05-2011, 05:39 PM
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Holy cr*p! You need to throw stuff out in a major way! ;-)  I'm going to be blunt, what use is an electric bill from 10 years ago going to be to you?

 

My bank does online statements going back SEVEN years (Chase).
 

LOL!! I KNOW!! I can't rationalize it but at the same time I truly cannot imagine getting rid of them! My bank statements are available for 1 year. My credit card has 90 days back. Not sure why they don't go further back. :shrugIt really would be very.... FREEING... to be able to get rid of it all & not have more accumulate. I just need to be absolutely certain there is no way I will ever need them. I don't have this problem with anything else -- I am a pro at decluttering toys, books, clothes, appliances, etc. -- I only keep papers. And ribbons, wrapping paper scraps, etc. but I actually do use those things. The papers are the problem. You should see how many (VERY DISORGANIZED) boxes of papers I have in the attic....

Get rid of them!


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#12 of 30 Old 02-07-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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We get bills for everything and write out checks.  There are a couple that we pay online, but dh does all the finances and it makes him feel better to get an actual bill.  We keep everything for 1 year and then toss it. 

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#13 of 30 Old 02-07-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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The only papers that I keep longer than 3-6 months (depends on how often I go through the filing cabinet) are Tax papers (w2's and copies of our tax returns), papers that have anything to do with our mortgage or home, and our vehicles and insurance for the cars/house.  I keep all papers that have anything to do with a loan or something like that until it is paid off.  I figure if I have a problem with a bill, it would have been resolved within the month-3 that I hold onto the papers.  Same with bank statements, I don't see why I would ever need one that is more than 3 or so months old.

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#14 of 30 Old 02-07-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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I save important stuff as pdf files. You can get a pdf printer for free, google it.


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#15 of 30 Old 02-08-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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I use paper for everything.  What I do is file all the statements in a file at my bill-paying station as I pay them.  After the end of the year, when I'm going through everything for taxes anyway, I sort out all the statements and put them in order and staple them together.  Then they go into the long-term filing system in a file for the year.

 

I hesitate to throw away any statements for accounts that are still open, though I did recently go back and pitch most of the old ones.  For most things I kept one statement per year, to show that everything was paid up at the time, and in case I ever want to go back and compare costs.  This purge took me practically no time at all, because the papers were well-organized.  I didn't really get rid of that much, because a lot was screened out when I opened the statements originally.

 

If I were you, I would throw away nearly all the old papers, create a good filing system for the new ones, and then open all statements and throw out the non-essential parts before you file them.

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#16 of 30 Old 02-19-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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I do like to get some statements in paper form (credit cards & investments), even though we pay most all bills online.  I keep all paper bills and statements in seperate 3-ring binders, and put them in every 3 months or so.

 

Maybe you could let go of some of the older paper ones to start with, and organize what you do have instead of going cold turkey.  Figure out what you would feel comfortable getting in electronic format, and make a slow transition. 

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#17 of 30 Old 02-19-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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meh just do it, i pitched years of pay stubs and old bills and it was sooo liberating! i really enjoy getting mail and paper bills but since they just get tossed i really did just bite the bullet and go paper free.


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#18 of 30 Old 02-20-2011, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK I am taking baby steps. I decided I am OK with the phone & electric bills being paperless, but I'm holding off on the credit card & bank statements... At least it's a start!! (and makes me feel more free to toss at least some of the old mail!!)
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#19 of 30 Old 02-06-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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I know I'm bumping an old thread, but I wanted to see how you felt a year later.  smile.gif

 

I don't have problems with keeping old documents, but I am really having a hard time with going paperless. I may start with our mobiles and see how that goes.

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#20 of 30 Old 02-06-2012, 01:46 PM
 
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I've been getting paper statements forever, even though I always pay the bills online & don't even open the paper statements. I'm reluctant to switch to online-only. We don't have a printer so I can't just print things out when I need them. We have pretty reliable internet right now, but it is likely that we may no longer have internet in the near future (in which case, I'd pay bills at the library, but not having these things close at hand makes me so anxious!) I always feel like I need to keep paper bills 'for my records' even though everything is so disorganized that I can't imagine finding anything if I actually needed it! If I went paperless, I could toss all our old papers (except the copies of checks from my bank account, which I need for tax purposes), so not only would it cut down on future clutter, but also help me get rid of 'old' clutter! Why can't I take the plunge??? Has anyone chosen to continue to receive paper bills? Anyone gone paperless & regretted it? Is this bizarre need for paper bills a sign of mental illness????


I don't think it's a sign of mental illness! All but one of my bills is online, and I haven't regretted it at all. I haven't even needed to print any in years- we don't even have a printer. If I did need to, I guess I'd just go to the library but I can't figure out why I would need them printed.

 

You don't have to have the internet either- you could make a list of the companies phone numbers and call them each month and do it over the phone with a debit card. Or get the balance on the phone and send a check.

 

You know.. you could always just try it for a month or two, and switch back if you hate it. You probably won't hate it though :)

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#21 of 30 Old 02-06-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know I'm bumping an old thread, but I wanted to see how you felt a year later.  smile.gif

I don't have problems with keeping old documents, but I am really having a hard time with going paperless. I may start with our mobiles and see how that goes.

Wow old thread! Fun! smile.gif I have been doing pretty awesome with this I think!! I took it just one bill at a time... first was internet since my employer reimburses me for it (and I provide all the substantiating papers to my company electronically) so it seemed least threatening. Then I switched the cell phones and slowly just about everything! I don't regret it at all, I wish I'd done it sooner.

I still get my quarterly water bill in paper since that's the only option, but I throw it out after it's paid.

I chose to keep my checking account in paper since they send me copies of my checks which I need for tax purposes. I also kept my credit card bill paper because I just feel the need to have it (that's how I pay most of my bills so I guess I like having a paper record that I've paid them??) I might be able to forego the credit card one, not sure. But it's awesome not to have the rest cluttering up our counters and desk drawers & filing cabinets. DO IT!!! Even if you're not ready or will never be ready to do it with all your bills, start with the ones you can!!

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#22 of 30 Old 02-07-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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Wow old thread! Fun! smile.gif I have been doing pretty awesome with this I think!! I took it just one bill at a time... first was internet since my employer reimburses me for it (and I provide all the substantiating papers to my company electronically) so it seemed least threatening. Then I switched the cell phones and slowly just about everything! I don't regret it at all, I wish I'd done it sooner.
I still get my quarterly water bill in paper since that's the only option, but I throw it out after it's paid.
I chose to keep my checking account in paper since they send me copies of my checks which I need for tax purposes. I also kept my credit card bill paper because I just feel the need to have it (that's how I pay most of my bills so I guess I like having a paper record that I've paid them??) I might be able to forego the credit card one, not sure. But it's awesome not to have the rest cluttering up our counters and desk drawers & filing cabinets. DO IT!!! Even if you're not ready or will never be ready to do it with all your bills, start with the ones you can!!

 

Thanks for the update; I'm glad you're happy with your decision.  I switched our mobiles to paperless billing last night, so we'll see how that goes.  smile.gif

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#23 of 30 Old 02-08-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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one trick for online bills that dont go back very far is to download each months statement and start a electronic file system for them, then they will get backed up with the rest of your stuff and they are easy to find and look at.

 

 

 


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#24 of 30 Old 02-09-2012, 06:02 AM
 
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We do a combination. For the bills that we can pay online for free, we're paperless. We still pay by mailed check for the accounts that charge an online filing fee, so we get the bills for those. We keep everything for 1 year, then it gets shredded. Exception to that is anything tax-related, that we keep for 7 years. If your most recent bill reflects that your account is in good standing, there's really no reason to keep more. 


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#25 of 30 Old 02-09-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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Thought I'd chime in here even though this is an old post...

 

I have made the transition to paperless and it's great. One thing that helped me with organization was making a chart with all my bills. There is a row for each month and column for each bill (water, cell phone, energy, etc). Whenever I pay a bill online, I just make a note of the date, amount, and payment method in the corresponding box. I keep the chart in a binder with other home-related stuff. It helps if I have a moment of doubt about whether something has been paid I can flip it open and check. 

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#26 of 30 Old 02-27-2012, 05:19 AM
 
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I recently made the decision to go back to paper.

 

I need the physical, tangible reminder of each bill and the ritual of writing checks.  (I write checks for almost everything because I have those duplicate checks so it's easy to remember what to put in my money spreadsheet.)  Also, once a bill is paid and gone, then I'm not wondering if I remembered to pay it.

 

I have a spot where I just put all the bills as they arrive.  I pay them once a month (or twice if money is too tight for once.)  They don't take up much space and they look tidy since it's just a handful of bills in their envelopes.  I also put little notes in that pile of things I need to remember to pay by a certain date that are not bills, so I won't forget to factor them in.

 

I went mostly paperless and decided it was too mentally complicated for me.  So I decluttered the mental stuff, LOL.  Now I don't think about bills until I sit down to pay them, and my inbox isn't stuffed with bills and reminders (that I was mostly deleting anyway). 

 

Of course, I pay bills with the recycle bin next to me, and once it's in the envelope ready to go, the remainder of the paper gets recycled immediately.  Works for me, feels simpler than paperless, and also doesn't feel like clutter since it's just a small tidy pile of bills in a specific spot (standing up so they don't magnetically attract clutter, LOL)

 


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#27 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 04:01 AM
 
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I haven't gone paperless because I'm lazy, but I pay all the bills online now. Instead of keeping the bills as a reference, I made a list of what bills need to be paid at the end of the month and what bills need to be paid at mid-month. When the time comes, I just run down the list, go to each website, and pay it! Easy as pie, and a lot easier than keeping track of emails or paper bills. (Maybe less workable, though, if you are in the kind of situation where you may not have the money to cover the bills when they fall due and have to take creative measures to pay them.) My husband used to be in charge of the bills and he'd forget to pay stuff and run up late fees, so now I handle everything except his student loans (who knows what he's doing with them!)

 

There's always automatic debit too. Those make me nervous personally, but some people like them.

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#28 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 06:10 AM
 
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I need the physical, tangible reminder of each bill and the ritual of writing checks.  (I write checks for almost everything because I have those duplicate checks so it's easy to remember what to put in my money spreadsheet.)  Also, once a bill is paid and gone, then I'm not wondering if I remembered to pay it.

 

 


This is me.  I get a hard copy of each bill so I can read it and remember to pay it.  I still pay most of the bills online but I like the paper trail.  I only keep a year's worth of statements.

 

I'm really trying to get my financial house in order and I think the paper really helps me.

 


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#29 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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I get paper bills for everything. With the exception of the student loan payments, which I autodebit for absolute safety against defaulting, as soon as I get the paper bill I sit down at my computer and schedule the payment to electronic pay. Then the paper bill gets tossed. I would autodebit more but most of the bills change from month to month, and I like to know exactly how much is going out.


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#30 of 30 Old 03-08-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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I'm paperless with my bank statements but not for the electric bills.  I'm on assistance and I always seem to need a handy copy of my electric bill to prove residence.  I file them in my home management binder.


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EarthyMamaofDaisy is offline  
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