This post is sponsored by Origin Energy
If not managed, paperwork and your finances can easily get out of control. Organising the finances and creating a system to keep your online bills and/or paperwork tidy takes a little bit of planning, however having a good system in place will result in:
- less stress, because you can easily find what you are looking for
- helps you keep up to-do date with your household budget
- a tidier office – meaning you can find things much easier when needed.
In our old house we had a filing cabinet where we kept everything tidily filed away. However, we don’t have room for the filing cabinet in our current office, it’s currently sitting in our garage. Filing cabinets are great for keeping your paperwork organised, but they are large, heavy and hard to find a space for in many homes. I needed to come up with another solution for organising the finances and filing that we wanted to keep within arms reach in the office and with many businesses improving ways of paying bills it’s helping to reduce the paper clutter.
Organising bills received electronically
In previous years I would keep copies of the bills received in the mail in my Bill Organiser, however times have changed and we don’t receive many bills by mail anymore, instead we get copies via email. Businesses are coming up with new and improved ways for us to pay our bills and try to take away any hassle involved.
Gone are the days of having to write and post cheques or line up at the post office to pay your bills, you can now pay bills online. Some options are:
- DIRECT DEBIT -it’ll automatically pay your bills straight from your bank account or credit card when they’re due.
- BPAY – make the payment by internet or phone banking.
- PAYMENT PLANS – help you have more control over your finances with options to pay your bill in wekly fortnightly or monthly instalments
When we receive our bills by email we save a copy of the invoice, (with some energy companies – Origin included, you can see these bills in your online account), however I also save it on my computer. I rename it to help me easily identify the period this invoice was for. ie. below I have an invoice for our Jan-March electricity. I keep all invoices within folders for each provider, then by year.
Tips for organising the finances & filing without a filing cabinet
Here are a few steps to create a ‘non-filing cabinet’ organised filing system for your paperwork.
Sort your pile of paperwork
Sit in a big clear area on the floor with your pile of paperwork. Sort it into like piles. ie. phone bills together, insurance papers together, bank statements together etc.
Categorise your paperwork
Grab a pen and paper and write down the paperwork you have piled. You will find that these piles can be categorised into groups such as:
- Home and Auto
- Medical and Pets
These folders and dividers are available from Kmart.
Create a system
I have a cabinet in our home office that is perfect please to put my new filing system. I have used the 3 categories listed above, in each I have placed plastic dividers which I have labelled for easy identification.
BILLS – I use the pages of my Bill Organiser to keep information such as our bank account, credit card and loan details all in one place.
Divider labels: Bills Due, Bank Accounts, Loans, Bills Received, Tax. I also have plastic sleeves behind to store all my receipts for tax purposes.
The repayment plan allows me to keep track of how much we still have owing on our loans. I also use these pages to keep track of money the kids have borrowed from me.
HOME & AUTO – In this folder I keep all home and car insurance details, along with maintenance records ie. a copy of the invoice for the last car service so we can keep track of what has been repaired. As well as repairs we have had to do around the house, to the airconditioner, pool etc.
Divider labels: Home Insurance, Home Repairs, Home General, Car Insurance, Car Maintenance
MEDICAL & PETS – When I visited the doctor recently for the kids and myself, she printed out information that I can take home and read, along with pathology sheets to have on hand to get my cholesterol checked in 3 months time. I have labelled the dividers for each family member to place information for easy reference. Plus… can’t forget the pets, I keep all our cats vet bills in her divider so I can easily look back and see what they performed during her regular check ups.
Divider labels: Health Insurance, the name of each family member, name of pets
I file away all the items mentioned above into the folders when I receive them, I don’t store them anywhere to file later as I know it will just keep piling up, filing piles bug me. So for me, it’s easiest to do it straight away, like the one touch rule.
In the top section of my filing area I have two magazine files. One is for kids school notes that I need to action, once actioned (ie signed) it then goes elsewhere. The other magazine file is for unopened mail, once opened it’s then dealt with and filed away. I also keep pens here which the kids can use, as I have my favourite pens on my desk and it drives me bonkers when the kids take them and I can’t find them.
All of our very important information such as birth and marriage certificates, passports are kept in another safe location. I have a different system for storing and organising the kid’s schoolwork.
I hope this system can help you organise all your paperwork in your home.
Choosing simple ways to manage finances
As well as filing billing paperwork or emails in an organised manner, there’s also paying them. While it’s a regular occurrence, it can still be overwhelming at times to get bills through the year and not know what’s coming. But Origin Energy has recently launched an option to help with this, and it means that their customers pay the same amount for energy every month, for 12 months.
ORIGIN’S PREDICTABLE PLAN – Predictable Plan is an option which allows Origin customers to pay a fixed amount every month for the energy they use. This means you’d know the cost of your energy for a whole year. No matter how much you use! I like this A LOT as our energy bills are ‘unpredictable’, with some bills surprisingly higher than the last; this could be because we have used the air/heater more, pool running longer during the warmer months or I’ve used the dryer a lot more etc.
- It’s predictable – pay a fixed amount for 12 months no matter how much you use
- Available for electricity or natural gas
- No price increases during the 12 month period
- Easy budgeting – choose fortnightly or monthly payments and know exactly what’s coming
- Tailored pricing for each customer and their home
- Hassle free- with direct debit payments are made automatically and can align with your pay cycle
- No exit fees – change to another plan at any time
- Schedule payments with your personal pay cycle
- Green energy options available
So, regardless of how much electricity or natural gas you use, using Origin’s Predictable Plan you will pay the same amount for your energy each month or fortnight.
Find out more: About Origins Predictable Plan
If you’re not an Origin customer you can easily switch over, then after three months of billed usage you’ll be eligible for Predictable Plan.