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Bill Notification Overload

Bill notification is less of a problem today. This was written back in 2015 and 90% of my bills are now electronic. I still have issues with email losing bills, but that is easily fixed. I have set up monthly reminders in my online calendar for most of the bills.

It used to be my bills showed up in my mailbox ( Canada Post mailbox). I opened the bills, I piled them up and once a week I’d pay them (online). The system worked fine. It 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. Various firms started offering to send me bills in electronic format. This sounded interesting to me, however, I like my paper bills. Back then e-mail systems were a little flakey (and untrustworthy). Then I started getting charged for getting my beloved paper bills, which annoyed the crap out of me. That is when I started to get some of my bills electronically. This has now created a veritable electronic tsunami 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, others are 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 website 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? I keep getting the feeling this “brave new world” may be passing me by. It is certainly making paying my bills on time a challenge.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. The biggest fear that I have is that something happens to me and Lindsay is unable to see the bill notifications. Why these companies can’t have TWO email notification addresses is beyond me. I am reduced to leaving my passwords in an envelope for Lindsay to use in an emergency. (I still have to set that up!)

    On the positive side, I no longer have to worry about forwarding our mail to the summer home and I don’t have to worry about a bill being stuck at the alternate mailbox address.

    I made the big change following the last mail strike. I had taken a trip where I had succumbed to vertigo on the plane and had to cancel the trip. This left me with a travel claim in which the company re-imbursed me by sending 3 separate checks. Why they couldn’t credit my credit card is a mystery to this day.

    The checks were sequential and so were all mailed out on the same day. The first check arrived two weeks after the mail strike ended. The second two weeks after the first and the last two weeks after the second. Total delay was 6 weeks for items all mailed on the same day!

    Add this to the inconvenience that we were at the summer home where the nearest branch was 1.5 hours away.

    This delay cost me almost $500 in credit charges. After we got back to Ottawa, I started the process of moving everything to electronic delivery.

    To this day, I remain a strong advocate of abolishing the post office.

  2. I hate e-bills. We only get a Bell bill that way and if the government ever forces them to remove the $2 a month fee for paper, I will go back to getting it from Canada Post. Yes it kills some trees but I resent having to pay for printer ink to print my own copies and I need paper copies of various bills for taxes and some other things.

    I agree with you that relying entirely on email is dangerous.

    I do have a list of when to expect bills, like one of the other commenters, but I’ve only very rarely had to check whether a paper bill was late. For all I whine about Canada Post they actually are pretty reliable.

    And two of our bills are “hand delivered” by our local utilities: the meter readers have printers in their vans and after they read the metre, they print your bill and put it in your mailbox. Not sure how that’s going to work if they force us onto supermailboxes (although I intend to keep our mailbox for the newspaper and for friends to drop stuff off in.)

  3. Sounds like a PITA. We get all our bills sent to us via email. This way, I can see what the amount owing is and pay it based on our schedule, for budgeting purposes.

    When I get the email, I pay it that night for flag it for the weekend. Pretty easy.

    I haven’t relied on Canada Post for years for bills in the mail. Email doesn’t go on strike 🙂

  4. We’ve been signing up for pre-authorized payments so everything is automatic. We also sign up for equalized monthly payments so the payments like gas and electricity are the same month to month.

    For credit card bills we just make a rule to pay at beginning of each month.

  5. My wife and I had a conversation about this very topic a few months ago. It’s true that it used to be simple. We would get the post and pay the bills full-stop. Now it’s just a cluster-mess of places we have to check for bills.

  6. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I’m a fan of paper bills. If somethings a regular amount, we usually get those auto-paid with electronic bills. Utilities and such we like to get paper copies so we have backup for side hustles at tax time.

    Last year we thought we were being smart by setting up e-bills and autopay for our electricity bills. Aparently didn’t do the auto-pay part and we thought everything was fine until we got a letter saying our power was going to be cut off! That was a shock. Back to paper bills! (with auto-pay, so some have been double paid. can’t win!)

  7. I had this problem too. My solution was to stop relying on the bills and calendar when they need to be paid. I do a sweep once a week and ensure that any bills that need to be paid are taken care of and anything that I want to pay early (e.g. A credit card bill that I see could be a cash flow problem when the bill actually does come) gets paid down/off. I just can’t trust that I’ll receive the bill in a timely fashion, on the other hand there is a joy that comes from already having a bill paid by the time the paper bill arrives.

    1. That is what I am trying to do now, which is set up calendar reminders that force me to remember them. I could “automate” this, however, there are still variable bills like credit cards that I need totals to pay correctly.

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