Setting up a good filing system for bills and other payments can take a long time to organise and wade through. Here’s a super simple and cheap filing routine that involves manila folders, a clipboard and a two-hole punch.
Photo by stopnlook.
This workflow is a great way to handle the paper side of bill paying (that is, if you haven’t already gone completely paperless). Business consultant and blogger Mike Beato describes his filing system step-by-step:
Step 1. I’ll assume you’re paying your bills using an application like Quickbooks or Quicken. After a payment is made, punch holes in the top of the invoice and check stub (if you have one) and place the paperwork on the clipboard. Just put them on top without regard to what you’re paying. It might be a phone bill, a vendor, credit card bill, etc. Doing it this way will ensure the paperwork is filed contemporaneously, with the most recent payments on top.
Step 2. When the clipboard is full, transfer the entire contents to a new manilla folder. Write on the front of the folder to identify what’s inside: begin/end dates, begin/end check numbers.
Step 3: Put the folder into a box or container for the calendar year.
Then, when you need to find things, you can just look up the payment in Quicken (or whatever software you’re using), check the payment date, and quickly know where to find that folder in your filing cabinet. It’s a super easy way to keep paper copies around for reference without spending hours filing things and then searching through them later. If this doesn’t work for you, be sure to check out our guide to creating your own filing system workflow, and share your own methods in the comments.