Bill Notification Overload

It used to be my bills showed up in my mailbox (my Canada Post mailbox), I opened them, I piled them up and once a week I’d pay them (on-line). The system worked fine, and was better than the old system of either mailing (Canada Post) cheques out, or going to the bank and paying bills there.

Bills, Bills, Bills

The Barrage of Bill Delivery Mechanisms

In the past few years things have changed, and various firms started offering to send me bills in electronic format. This sounded interesting to me, however, I like my paper bills, and back then e-mail systems were a little flakey (and untrustworthy in my estimation). Then I started getting charged for getting my beloved paper bills, which annoyed the crap out of me, so I started to get some of my bills electronically, which has now created a veritable electronic cacophony of bills.

Allow me to elaborate on the many ways my bills arrive:

  • Some bills still arrive in my super mailbox down the road (yes I hate those too)
  • Other bills are sent to my e-mail account (I try to have them show up to only 1 account, that way I don’t have to sift through my 15 different e-mail addresses).
  • Still othersare sent to my e-post account (from Canada Post)
    • An interesting side issue is that I get an E-post account with my TD accounts as well, however, I cannot merge my other E-post account with the TD version, thus the TD version is useless to me.
  • Then some bills I have to go to a web site to pick it up (but I get an e-mail to tell me the bill is available)
  • Finally other bills send me annoying text messages reminding me about payments due, and some do not

All of this really is getting under my skin, and also has succeeded in making me paranoid because last year for the first time I missed paying more than 4 different bills, which has never happened to me before (usually it is 1 a year). Is this due to the fact that I am barraged with bills from many different sources? Maybe, it could be my advancing age as well, but I keep getting the feeling this “brave new world” may be passing me by, but it is certainly making paying my bills on time a challenge.


Updated Tip: Scan those Bills

So one of the first useful tips I wrote about was To Scan All Your Bills, so you didn’t necessarily need to keep paper copies of them.

I still continue to do this, although I do keep paper copies as well, for things that I am sure that the CRA might want to look at if I make claims on my taxes like:

  • Tuition receipts for University and my son’s schooling
  • Utilities bills, as I do claim part of those as business expenses
  • etc.,

The interesting updated idea that I have changed to is that I no longer only save these images on my computer at home (which is being backed up). There are now many different services that offer free off-site backup of files such as:

  • Google drive, which comes with your Gmail account
  • Dropbox which is an app that runs on many devices
  • Outlook has file space for you
  • iCloud from Apple
  • Even Ubuntu One offers some free disk space

I am a little leery to use “the cloud” for this kind of storage, so you might want to encrypt them if you use these services, as you never know who the heck might look at your files from elsewhere.

The interesting part about the scanning of my bills was that I did exactly that when I was asked for receipts from the CRA, and I sent them scans of the documents in question, and they seemed happy enough with that. My guess is if it was an actual audit, they would want to see the originals, but for a “request for receipts” the government seems happy enough with a scanned image now as well.

Unfortunately you need to keep your paper records for a while before you can safely dispose of them (i.e. shred and/or burn), but maybe we are finally getting away from paper copies of things?


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