Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Organize Your Bills?

Bills. (Did that word just make you shiver?)  We all have 'em...but I don't know many of us who like 'em.  They ebb and flow like a great cosmic joke coming to steal away our hard earned cash.  My favorite bills are the ones I didn't know were coming. I just love bills.  NOT!!!

When I sat down and put together Prepared Binder, I added a section about bills. I wanted each family to itemize the bills they receive.  I have had some questions as to why I did that, so here are the answers:
  1. Many people don't really pay attention to what bills are coming and going each month.  It can be a bit of a reality check to know exactly what you have commited to pay each month.
  2. Usually only the person who pays the bills each month has any idea of what is being paid.  If that person is unavailable, knowing what bills to expect can be vital.
  3. Not all bills are paid the same way.  A good example is insurance.  We have our life insurance automatically withdrawn each month.  The auto insurance is paid by check on a six month rotating schedule, which of course is different for each of our vehicles, and the homeowner's insurance is paid annually. If you didn't know that, you wouldn't be looking for a statement, you wouldn't know what has already been withdrawn, and you wouldn't know what policies to cancel, should the need arise.
  4. If you die, and your estate needs to be wrapped up, knowing what bills should arrive, and when, can make a huge difference to your executor.  I know this is a tough thing to think about for many people, but it is a reality. My sister used to be a banker, and she said one of the hardest parts of her job was to sit down with families who had lost a loved one.  Very often they had no idea what bank accounts their loved one had, what financial obligations they had, or what outstanding debt they held.  It made wrapping things up very hard.
  5. If you have to evacuate your home, having a complete list of bills will help you contact the services you do not currently need.  For example, if your house is flooded, it is likely safe to cancel or suspend your water/gas/electric/cable/internet/yard service/pest control and newspaper. Having quick access to those company's contact information will save you valuable time and money.
So that is why there is a bills section in Prepared Binder It is one of those details we don't think about until we need it, and by then...well when things are crazy, it is not the time to be organizing bills.

Being prepared often means looking at the thing you enjoy least and organizing the information so you can use it in an emergency.  I think bills fall into that category, but even if you love bills, having a complete list of your bills, the company contact info, the billing frequency and the way the bill is paid will leave you feeling more in control, and better able to handle an emergency.

And isn't that what being prepared is all about? So tell me, have you organized your bills?  If so, how?


  1. Excellent. Thanks.

  2. My husband has talked to me about putting something like this together.

  3. If you pop over to my web site you will see they types of things that are included in Prepared Binder. If you have any questions you can shoot me a message!

  4. I've been really thinking about this since my stay in the hospital. Fortunately it was a short one, but I realized that my husband would have no idea how I usually pay the bills if something should happen to me. This month, as the bills are coming in and I am paying them, I will start recording how they are paid and when. Thank you for helping us to get our lives together just a little bit more!