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Paperwork Nightmares?

Pay your bills on time, and find those receipts when you need them. Here's help with getting your paperwork organized.

Some people are very organized, always pay their bills on time, and essentially manage to remain on top of things constantly. But for some of us life seems to be one constant crisis after another. We throw all bills in one drawer together with receipts, never remember to pay or collect anything, end up paying hundreds of rupees in penalties for late payment, and are constantly panicking as we try and locate some important paper - which is very likely at the bottom of a trash can - in a garbage dump. If you fall into the second category and have a life, here's help.

Consider getting a thick folder that has different compartments, which can hold different folders. You could then label each compartment according to your needs. Alternatively, you could get a bunch of different folders and stack some around your desk, others in a shelf, depending on how accessible you need them to be.

To Be Paid

Keep all the bills that need to be paid together in one folder, and make sure this folder is not only easily accessible, but that you access it often and don't forget all about it or where you put it! You don't need to further categorise bills that need to be paid, or you will just waste more time and will need to keep searching through various folders to find various bills that require payment. Just dump all bills that need to be paid, in a single folder, irrespective of whether it is the insurance, electricity or credit card bill.

Once the bills have been paid, remove them from the 'to be paid' folder, and place them in another 'bills paid' folder.


Make sure you keep a 'Receipts' folder, so you have receipts and proof of all payments made. You can keep receipts of payments made separate from receipts of pending matters. For example, keep the receipt stating that you have paid the newspaper or club bill in one folder, and your dry cleaning receipt - which tells you to pick up your laundry next Monday - in another folder. Similarly, if you have signed up for a class a month before the class begins, you may wish you keep the receipt stating that you have paid the class fees, in second receipts folder. Keep going through this folder on a regular basis, to make sure you have collected all your dry cleaning, followed through with that advance you made on the lehenga and used your gift certificate in time. Once the matter has been dealt with, transfer the receipt to the regular receipts folder.

To simplify matters even further, you could simply make a 'receivables' folder which can hold cheques you need to cash, refunds you need to get, gift certificates and so on, in addition to receipts of advances made.

In a nutshell, if your electricity bill and insurance bills require payment, they should be in the same folder. But once payment has been made, you can transfer the insurance bill to the insurance folder, and electricity bill to the utilities folder. This classification takes place at the second stage, if you feel the need. Otherwise, they can all go into the 'bills paid' folder.

Related Articles:
Paperwork Nightmares? - II

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