The Absolute Easiest Way To Track, Pay & Organize Your Household Bills…No Filing Involved!

For years, I kept our household bills filed in file folders in a file box….. just like hundreds of other people.
Let me also confess that I have gone through periods in my life where bills were ‘filed’ in a grocery bag hanging on the back of the bedroom door.
Yep. Sad but true.
I have seen many examples of how to organize & ‘file’ bills around blogland lately.
But I want to share with you a different way.
 Two years ago I switched to this method…and I like it much better.

And here’s another dirty little secret about me….although I love to organize… I HATE, with a capital ‘H’,  filing!

I like not having to go through different files to find things or put them away.
This system helps me avoid that!
Let me introduce the Household Bill Binder.
It’s a simple method….. it’s fast and it works.
I just get out the binder when I am ready to sit at the computer to make on-line payments with our bank.
And then I put the binder away. No filing!
***
All that is needed is a 3 or 4 inch 3-ring binder.
 A few other things are handy to have in the front…a calculator, a pen, a red pen, a pencil and eraser. I have these stored in a  3-ring pencil case in the front.
Dividers are placed inside with labels for all the types of household bills.
When bills arrive, I place them in a box on my desk. Once a week I schedule time to open them.
As I open each bill, I write down the amount due and due date on a calendar page for the current month in the front of the Household Bill Binder.
The calendar page provides a great visual of what the month looks like.
I keep the unpaid bills in a pocket at the front of the binder until it’s time to pay the bills. I pay the bills on the 1st and the 15th of every month.
As each bill is paid, I write  ‘paid’ in red pen with the amount and date, punch 3 holes in the bill and pop the paid bill into the binder in the appropriate section. I also use the red pen to cross the bill off the calendar so I know that it’s paid.
Easy Peasy.
And then I put the binder away.
That’s it.
No filing. None. Zilcho.
At the end of the year,  I clean out the binder, and keep only those things we need for income tax.
I store those items for a whole year in a file folder labelled with the year.
For example, everything from 2013 goes into ONE file at the end of the year.
Another thing about this method  I like is that when my husband and I want to look at and discuss bills, I just get out the binder.
 I don’t have to spend time rifling around files. I just flip pages.
And I like the simplicity of the calendar pages in the front for tracking. I print off 6 months at a time to have in the front of the binder to record bills as they arrive.
{You can find free calendar pages to print HERE.}
The calendars pages can be formatted in whatever way you like.
They are the pages that I use…just simple black & white.
I hope if you hate filing, like me, you find this method a little more helpful in rounding up those household bills.

Comments

  1. says

    LOVE it! I love being organized, and generally think I do a good job. However, the busier I get, the more I feel like I'm always "just making it" when it comes to getting bills taken care of. I can't wait to use this method! Thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    May I please just say thank you? I have a pile of bills on my kitchen bench that I never know what to do with. I am going to get off my chair right now and put them in one of the 3" binders I emptied out yesterday.

    It's funny, the binder I emptied out was full of paid bills, years worth, but I never considered having a calendar or unpaid bills in there with them.

    Sometimes it takes someone pointing out the obvious, I guess :)

    So, thanks again!

  3. says

    This is a really, really great idea! I am going to have to give this a try! I am like you….I HATE FILING! :) I love orginaztion and binders and labels…so this is perfect! Love it!

  4. says

    I love this idea! My least favorite thing is filing so I think this just might work for me. Right now I have all my paid bills in a hanging file folder,which is fine until you are looking for something in particular. Plus my current "system' has unpaid bills scatted everywhere (some in my purse, some at my desk at work, some on the kitchen counter, etc.) Thanks for the idea!

  5. says

    Wow this is great! My husband does the same thing…told you you both would get along lol !!!

    I wish I could give this giveaway to my closet blogging friends Angie!!!!
    I'm glad you entered!
    Pamela xo

  6. says

    That is such a smart idea! Even though we pay most of our bills online it's still hard to remember when the specific bills are due and they don't always send reminders. You have everything organized so perfectly and organization is my goal. Thanks for the great idea.

    And also thanks for your lovely comments on my site :-)

  7. says

    This is exactly how I organize my household bills as well! I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who feels comforted by a well organized bill filing system :-)I have definitely received a snicker or two when I've brought my notebook out. Once, I had to have my cable repaired several times in the same month. When I brought my notebook out to show the last repair man all of the repair bills, exactly who from the company had come to my home and how often, he was amazed to say the least! In the end, he discounted my service for the month and made sure that I wouldn't be billed for the numerous repair visits. Long story short…….it "pays" to organize the bills!

  8. says

    You are an organizing queen! I think I first found your blog because of a post you did on organizing for a campground stay…I love when you share how you organize things around the house. I've seen tons of household bill systems and I have to say this is one of the easiest. Love it!

  9. says

    Angie I wanted to let you know that I am going to feature this post on my Organizing Mission Monday link party on Monday the 14th! Be sure to stop by and pick up your "I''m Proud To be Featured…" button!
    Thanks so much!

  10. says

    I'm definetly doing this later next week! Right now we just have a magnetic paper holder on our fridge.. so bills and other misc. papers get shoved in there.. and I have a calendar on the fridge and write the info on there.. but this looks MUCH neater and more organized! Thanks!

  11. says

    That's kind of what I already do but I don't have a spot to put my unpaid bills in my binder, and I like the calendar idea at the front. I hesitate paying bills only on a couple pre-determined days because it always seems to me that my bills come a week before they are due, so usually I try to pay them as soon as they come in.

  12. says

    Thank you for the great post and also for your confession about the grocery bag. It released a lot of guilt I have about the giant stack in our bedroom behind the armoire. I am going to show your post to my husband and see what we can do!

  13. says

    Brilliant, just Brilliant! I just made three binders in the past two days since finding this post. I don't know how I happened here, but I stuck now :))). We have rental properties so I made a binder just for that. I now have things all in one place. I used the Avery two pocket folders I got at Walmart instead of hold punching everything. Now I put the bills due in the front pocket and move them to the back pocket once paid. I feel free from the filing chains!!!

  14. says

    Just reading this post now… excellent system! The only improvement I can see is to file by month instead of by category. That way, you will have one year's worth of bills… when you get around to that month again in the next year, you just shred the old ones and replace with the current ones. Works for me! Thanks for your blog… inspiring!

  15. says

    Great idea… I too hate filing and am always confused as to how long to keep bills. My mom sent me the link to this post since the system has worked so well for her, I think this will be so much easier. Thanks

  16. says

    I am totally going to try this. Nothing seems to work well for us. I have a nosy question though. Why do you have "mortgage pay day" on three days in the month? Do you put money away to pay the mortgage on those days? Do they do it different in Canada? Just wondering, and looking for any bill paying advice I can get!

  17. says

    I just started this, Thank you for the idea. No to go to the shops and get some more for the filing like bank accounts (many of them), kids accounts and centrelink information etc Again Thanks

  18. says

    I love this idea, you make it look so easy!! I've started this, but between my husband and I, we have four 1.5" binders and at the moment, are MONTHS behind with organizing them into the binders. It's a very daunting task at the moment.

  19. says

    What do you do with all the paid bills at the end of the year? Do you just keep them in your binder or do you take them out and put them in a storage box or do you purge them? I like this method. Think I might try it.

  20. says

    If I don't have one, I am buying my binder TOMORROW! I have been looking for something simple and organized like this for SOOOOO long! Thanks so much!!!

  21. says

    I came over this morning from "I Heart Organizing" because my file system is so similar to yours…only to remember my file system is based on yours (duh!) LOL. I've been using the binder system since March and haven't looked back. Love it!! I too am a hater of file cabinets.

  22. says

    I've been trying for years to budget and keep track of bills and I'm beginning to think it's just because I haven't found a system that works for me. This might be THE system! But can I ask, why do you punch three holes in the bill? To have another indicator you indeed paid them?

  23. says

    Ha! Nevermind…I'm an idiot. Punch holes to put in binder. I was picturing 3 holes in a corner somewhere or something. ;oD Is it Friday yet??

  24. says

    Love this bill binder idea … I think this is exactly what I need to handle all the bill filing that never gets done because I hate filing so much, too. Thank you, thank you!! Adding this to my pinterest right now so I never lose it …

  25. says

    This is awesome! I've only been married for a year and a half and we only get two bills a month but I would like to start this (get in the habit).

    I'm planning on possibly making one for my mom and my sister. They would love it!

    I was wondering though. Do you have a list of all the different sections you have? I'm sure there is stuff I don't think of.

  26. says

    Loving this idea! I have spent the last few weeks filing papers that had been piling up for years, so this seems to be just the perfect solution to make sure I don't end up in that situation ever again! Thank you!

  27. says

    What a great idea. I am on a mission to organize every area of our home. Thanks for another great idea for the bills. I will be doing this. Keep the idea's coming. Love it! Happy Holidays.

  28. says

    Found this post via Pinterest! I read your entire post to my husband and his response was "Do it now"(at o dark thirty last night). I started this system today and OMG it was so easy to just punch holes in the paid bills and put them in the binder. We also use the Dave Ramsey system for budgeting and I included that in the front of the binder. With a baby on the way I'm so glad I found this THANKYOU!

  29. says

    I really love this!!! My husband and I bought our first house this past September and have yet to figure out a way to organize the multiple bills we get. We've got piles and it's shameful.
    This type of organization is right up my alley.
    Thanks for the inspiration! Found you via pinterest.

  30. says

    Woot woot! Just got a wild hair and filed months and MONTHS worth of crap and was tired of having the "second notice" crap happening. Just finished printing labels for the tabs and put it all together. Maybe this will keep me in track better. I printed out a neat 12 week calendar though instead of the one month one.

    Cheers!
    Sara
    http://www.thetangway.com

  31. says

    I'm not sure if I missed it when reading, but what are the tabs for. Are those other pages that you file the bills in or what? In the meantime I'll be reareading. We've just started the Dave Ramsey system, and this will help too…. Thanks…

  32. says

    Thanks for sharing. Love this idea. Question though… we are trying to go green and receive many of our bills electronically. I've just been writing them on a bill pay sheet I created, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for that. Thanks!

  33. says

    This idea can't be any cooler! I will definitely do this. I have bills organized in hanging folders and what I love with your idea is that I will not have to fumble through these folders individually.
    I will pretty much be able to "centralize" all the bills in a ring binder.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderfully brilliant idea!

  34. says

    Hi! I am 60 yrs old & this is the best I've ever seen!!!!! Thank you for sharing, Angie!!! I shared with my grown daughters & niece!!!

  35. says

    I was scrolling through your bill organization and saw the pic with the calculator. I was like, "Whoa, Clifford Long and Sons!"

    I love looking through my favorite blogs and seeing stuff from home. :)

    Great blog!

    Sue, from sunny Annapolis Valley, NS

  36. says

    I made this bill book and it's perfect. I modified the instruction by using things I already had at home. Instead of using tabbed dividers and then hole punching paid bills, I used heavyweight sheet protectors and stuck a tab on each one. When I pay a bill, I will just slip it into the sheet protector in front of the previous month's bill, then file the whole mess at the end of the year.

    I just became a single mom, and was trying to come up with a way to do bills that would be easy for me to keep up with. When I read this, I knew right away it was the solution for me.

    Thanks SO much for this idea!!!

  37. says

    Thanks for posting this. We've been self-employed for 13 years and I've had to keep EVERY piece of paper ever, which creates quite a backlog of papers. Now that we're no longer self-employed, I don't have to keep all of that stuff, and I am ecstatic to switch to a binder system for 2013! Thanks for showing how yours works. I already use a binder to pay bills, so I think this will be an easy transition!

  38. says

    I have to admit I've been doing the same thing for a few months now as well. It's helped with reminding me to infact pay my bills (or just open them!). I love that it is a visual reminder of keeping on top of everything (especially when you're a student like I am!) Good luck with it.
    Natasha (Perth, Western Australia)
    http://www.1brokegirl-tash.blogspot.com

  39. says

    My Hairdresser has turned me onto your budget method via Pinterest & I'm very grateful to both of you. Your system seems so simple and easy to implement and follow. I am definitely switching tomorrow. I have just one question: where can I find the blank printable calendar pages you use? Maybe its because its late and I am very tired but I can't seem to locate them. Please advise. Again thanks for your system and all the cool items you have one your site. I'm going to have fun checking it all out. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

  40. says

    I do this same system but I use accounting ledger paper as a summery for each bill type. I on it I list the due date, payment, billed amount, payment amount, and breakdown charges (i.e for water bill I list sewer charge, water charge, etc). Doing this allows me to glance at multiple billing of that utility, and makes it easy to find discrepancies in billings.

  41. says

    I may implement my own version of this system! I relegated the bill-paying to my husband many years ago when I had just become a stay-at-home mom and he only got paid once a month! It just broke my heart when I would sit down at the beginning of the month and watch most of that paycheck go bye-bye. Well, even though I don't pay the bills, my husband is horrible about filing in a timely manner. I'm going to talk with him and see if something like this might work for us. Thanks for sharing!

  42. says

    THANK YOU!!! I used to be good at filing, until I got married, bought a house and had waaaaay too many bills to keep up on for filing. After two years of bills being "filed" into a box to then be filed once a year (except I'm two years behind…eeek).

    I just created a 2013 Budget Binder for my family! THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

  43. says

    Woah – this post just blew my mind. What a terrific idea! Fantastic! I'm trying to hard to make 2013 all about being organized and I can't believe I never thought of this before!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  44. says

    EXCELLENT – I use a binder each year for my taxes, incoming/ outgoing expenses with section for business, but never put the bills with it too. Then, at the end of the year, I have "stuff" left over from the files and it just piles up. (I'm so backlogged, I still have 2010 and 2011 to file away. I dread starting 2012 taxes.) This is easy way to incorporate the entire year into 1 binder and file it away – PLUS, since I do the books, I can just hand my husband the binder, just like a previous poster said, without comment and we don't have to have any "discussions" about the piles of paper – LOVE YOUR IDEA, THANKS! (Doing the Happy Dance here!)

  45. says

    I have been doing a similar system since 2008, love it!!! I spent the 18 months before that entering every dime we earned and spent into Microsoft Monet program and itemized everything so I knew what we were actually spending in all categories, now it is a cinch to budget, and I know exactly how much money I need in the checking account on any given day :)

  46. says

    I love my binder! My system is a little different from yours, though. I have mine categorized by month with bill pay sheets listing each bill in order of date due. Columns with date, bill, minimum due, actual payment, date paid, and online confirmation numbers (which avoids having to print the papers!).
    I went through every bill, listed all info I would ever need (in case my computer ever crashes). Went paperless on everything possible. I can access and print all past bills if need be. I have all but stopped the psychotic influx of paper!!
    I've even done a binder for my retired dad. I sit down once a month when he gets his check, spend ten minutes and his bills are paid for the entire month :)

  47. says

    Fantastic idea! Wish I would have come across something like this years ago. I haven't gotten paper bills in ages now though (except for those one or two hold out companies that haven't gone digital and just email it to you) so this would no longer work for me. :-(

  48. says

    Excellent idea! Hope you respond to my sincere question though: why not have your bills set to auto-pay? This is what I do and I rarely have to spend time paying bills. I look at the bill as soon as it comes, file away, and make sure I keep money in my account. If I have to dispute a bill or it is not on auto-pay I set aside and pay it at a scheduled time. Just curious what your thoughts are on that…

  49. says

    This is a great idea. I have seen several on Pinterest but this one I like best! I hate filing! I end up waiting until I have a mountain to file ugh! I can put the binder in my tote and carry to work while I sit at my desk to pay bills. LOVE YOUR METHOD! Thanks for posting!

  50. says

    It always astounds me how many "clever" things people come up with that just seem so obvious.

    I have wall calendar, I write the type of bill on the date corresponding with the due date on the calendar. We also write in paydays as well. How hard is that?

  51. says

    I found you on pinterest and I wanted to come back and say THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your system. This is easily the best thing I have found on pinterest! I also hate filing and used to have the continual stacks of papers everywhere. It took forever to get them filed and I couldn't find bills easily. I have been using your system for about 4 months now and it has been working beautifully!!! It is so much easier to keep track of everything and as you mentioned, so much easier to flip to the right section if I want to look at past bills.I love having it all organized right there in one binder. In reply to the last comment by Kristen, to those people who are naturally organized, this may just seem obvious. But for those of who are not naturally organized and have to work at it, a good idea from someone else is s lifesaver! The rest of us thank you!

  52. says

    I'm going to try to do this through Microsoft OneNote! (Since I pay everything online pretty much with everything electronic these days.)
    I'm setting everything up now.

    Do you think it's a good idea to keep a copy of your receipt of payment with your paid bill??

  53. says

    Cannot believe I haven't thought of putting it in a notebook before…I do great filing at our business, but at home it's another story…and I'm a binder nut! Thanks!

  54. says

    I've been trying to figure out a better method for organizing our bills for years. I have all these nice pretty files and all the bill stay piled on the desk. This is so simple and I just can't believe I never thought to do it this way! I've already set up a binder and put it into action. Thank You!!

  55. says

    You're not the only one that hates filing. You make this system seem so simple. I'd like to bookmark this and read over it again and see how it could work for me and make my life easier. My DH has maintained our files for years and because of his multiple health and memory loss issues, I've had to take over. I have no problem, but the paperwork is frustrating, especially all his medication receipts that I have to keep for income tax purposes. I don't have time to go through the existing filing cabinet and discard old bills and the filing cabinet is bulging. Thanks for sharing your ideas. What size is your notebook?

  56. says

    What do you do with each month's calendar when you change over the next month? If one has more than one credit card..do you still only keep one category(Credit cards)instead of making a divider for each company's credit card? We are trying to stick to using one credit card only and we rarely use that but there are certain charges prearranged(Car phone)How would I label a divider for magaines/books? publications?
    prescripitons I need to keep a separate notebook for these by month for income tax purposes.
    Do you keep this notebook on your desk at all times?

  57. says

    I'm looking for a Free Printable calendar for 2015..ruled, monthly pages that will fit in a 8 1/2×11 3 ring notebook. I've wanted Martha Stewart 3 ring notebook can't can't the refill calendar pages for 2015. Do you know of any other sources?

  58. says

    Great idea!

    All of my bills are emailed to me each month, so I never have paper copies. Unfortunately, most of them are due in the latter half of the month. I've been playing catch up for months trying to find an easier way to keep track of them all.

    Just this weekend I created a fancy list of bills, when they're due, when I will pay them and how much they're for (they're always the same amount). I had to pay some double this month just so I could start paying them in the first half of next month so they are received in time to avoid late fees. I made the list all pretty with cute pictures and even laminated it. It's currently on my wall at my desk but as I get used to the new schedule, I might three hole punch it and put it in the front of a handy budget binder, similar to what you have here. :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  59. says

    This was a very easy transition for me. I was keeping my bills in a folder, paper clipping them by month with the calendar as the cover page. Putting them in a binder should have been a no-brainer, but it wasn't :-). Thank you for this great idea. Unfortunately, I have way too many bills, so I will have to purge every 6 months or get a larger binder. Thanks again!!!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>