How to choose a bill organizer

Many people find paying bills to be entirely annoying, and so they procrastinate and carry around a nagging feeling that due dates are being missed and late fees are stacking up. If you are like most people, you collect your mail and briefly check it for interesting letters before putting the rest aside in a stack on the table. By the end of the week, the stack has grown large, and may or may not get moved to a desk in the office. Keeping track of bills can be easy if you use a bill organizer, which is a simple system you create to track and pay your bills. Getting organized can help you avoid late fees, and empower you to control your budget and manage your finances.

Organizing your bills

bill-organizerStep one in the process of organizing your bills is to get a clear picture of everything you pay during the year. Start by making a list of all of the bills you pay, whether they are monthly like an energy bill or yearly like car registration; it is up to you what to include or excluded on the list. You can use a piece of paper or a spreadsheet on the computer. Write down the name of the company you pay, what the bill is for, how much is due if it is fixed or space to input the actual amount, and the date of the month or time of year the bill is due. Once you have the list, you can think about what type of organizer works best with your lifestyle.

Which bill organizer is right for me?

There are a variety of bill organizers to chose from, each with their own benefits.

  • Online bill payment: Paying bills online has become very easy and popular. If you prefer this payment method, you can set up automatic withdrawals on your merchant’s website that will debit from your bank account or charge your credit card, or you can chose to pay manually. It is still important to keep track of the exact amount of the bill so you are sure your bank account is not overdrawn accidentally.
  • Spreadsheet: An inexpensive and easy way to track bills is in a spreadsheet. Simply list all of your bills as mentioned above, and keep track of each payment in a separate column (date paid, check number). If you pay online, you can keep track of your payment confirmation number in the spreadsheet as well. If you do pay online, you can save paper and reduce clutter by opting out of paper bills through your merchant’s website. Instead, you will get an email reminder from the merchant notifying you when your bill statement is ready and you can view it online.
  • Filing: if you prefer to receive and keep paper bills and avoid the computer at all costs, you can set up your own filing system to organize your bills and keep a notebook to track them. You can use an accounting notebook with a preset template, or create your own. Think about a system for filing your bills when you receive them so they will be easy to view when you sit down to pay your bills. A filing cabinet or binder with pockets might be useful. You can also use a wall mounted or desk organizer with slats or shelves to file your bills each day. Once you’ve paid them, you can immediately place the paper statement in a filing cabinet for easy reference and tax preparation.
  • Software: if you prefer to use a computer versus paper, several companies make financial software that will organize bills, expenditures, and other financial information. You can import financial information from banks or merchants directly into the software for easy reporting. You can view your spending, track your budget, prepare tax information, and much more. Software like Quicken® can be purchased online or in a store, but there is also free online software available such as