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Tip: Scan those bills

Yes, I am saying look at your bills closely and make sure you understand the charges you are paying for, but also if you have a scanner for your computer, SCAN your bills, and use that as your permanent record.

I have always found that filing paper just gives me the chance to start “filing by pile” and soon the “pile” becomes a “heap” which in turn becomes a mountain of paper, which I eventually spend hours sifting through, which is something I am loath to do.

I have started to scan my bills (again, I did this a couple of years ago), and if I feel I have too big a “build up” on my PC, I can simply make an archive CD of the data and store that somewhere safe. This image has allowed me to compare what I was paying for Natural Gas two years ago and today and see:

  • Last year at this time I was paying 23.41 cents/cubic meter
  • This year I am paying 41.19 cents/cubic meter

Isn’t that great? No, I am not saying it is great that my Natural Gas charges have gone up almost 100% over 1 year, but I now KNOW I am being gouged, isn’t that great? No, it’s not, but being informed makes you do things.

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How do you pay your bills?

Written back in 2005 when paying your bills on-line was still a more novel thing. Now it is what we do, but back then, not so much.

I think on-line banking has made my life more complicated. It has also allowed me to do a few things I would never have been able to do, if I’d had to go to a bank to do it.

  1. I can pay my bills when the money appears in my account RIGHT AWAY, and thus I don’t have the “opportunity” to squander the money elsewhere. Remember, I talk a good game, but I don’t always follow my own advice
  2. I get paid BI-Weekly (i.e. every two weeks) but most things get billed MONTHLY (e.g. mortgages, electric, gas, etc.,), so what I do is pay 1/2 of a bill on 1 pay cheque and half on the other.

Example Scenario, say my monthly bills were:
Mortgage: $650 Property Tax: $200 Electric: $80 Phone: $40 Gas: $90

Each pay cheque I have each of these “bills” set up on my automatic bill payment side that on my PAY DAY (no later than that or I would have squandered my money by then) I make the following payments:

Mortgage: $325 Property Tax $100 Electric: $40 Phone: $20 Gas: $45

and twice a year I don’t have to pay these at all, or better still for debt like my Mortgage I can get ahead of the game and have 2 extra payments!

Now some companies don’t seem to like getting paid in installments, but I haven’t got any complaints directly from them (Gas grumbled once, claiming I hadn’t paid, when I had).

  1. If I forget a bill, I can quickly pay it without having to get to a bank branch!

I still hate paying bills, but at least with on line banking my life is a little easier

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