Declutter your bills: 3 steps to save you money
Simplify your life by organizing paper bills and documents. File, scan, and toss is the mantra. Then try to lower the cost of some subscriptions.
Scan. Important documents you want to keep but don't need in paper form go on this pile. Receipts, for example, can be scanned or photographed and stored on a computer; Kiplinger discusses which tax records you need copies of. Banks and brokerages often store copies of your statements on their servers for several years, but you probably want your own.
Store scanned files on your hard drive and with a cloud service, such as DropBox or Evernote; Evernote lets you look at a scanned image and make the text searchable. If you're concerned about potential data breaches with cloud storage, load documents onto an external hard drive that you keep in the fireproof safe.
Worried about going completely paperless? Try this compromise: Keep a single large three-ring binder with plastic pockets or a file box with hanging file folders. Organize bills or statements by company and at the end of the year scan the documents. Only retain end-of-year statements in paper form -- everything else can be shredded after copies are loaded onto your computer.
Toss. Throw out or shred (office supply stores generally offer this service if you don't have a shredder) the documents in this pile. Papers to shred include anything with identifying information, such as account numbers and, if you're really risk-averse, credit card receipts even if they only contain the last four digits. Old magazines that you'll never get around to reading should be tossed or recycled.
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