How to tackle all your mail quickly and easily! [Money Tip + Action Steps]

by Belinda Rosenblum

My hands used to literally shake…

I would put my key in my mailbox, hold my breath, and pray that there wouldn’t be more mail and bills I had to deal with inside!

In my 20’s, I was a total avoider when it came to my mail – and my money. I just couldn’t deal.

How to handle those piles of mail!

My lifeline out was creating actual systems – so I knew what to do and when – to not let everything pile up and get out of control.

So to help you start your year off right, I’m going to share with you exactly why and what to do in the first 30 seconds you walk in your house with your mail…

MONEY TIP: What is missing in your life, causing you all that paperwork stress? You are in dire need of a system – specifically a mail system (and an easy regular practice to keep up with it).

The mail will keep coming. The bills will keep coming. The overwhelm will keep happening. AND it all gets solved with a system that you can actually keep up with. The key is that whatever you set up has to be easy to maintain – and even fun and rewarding to do.

ACTION STEPS: So here’s how you get going:

DAILY: Keep the following supplies/ equipment close at hand to where you usually just put down the mail: a letter opener, a recycle bin, and a basket (ideally with divided compartments).

As you bring the mail in, put down the other stuff in your hands (including a purse, briefcase, or a child, for instance!) and immediately decide if the item of mail can be recycled, needs to be opened and checked for next steps, or can be opened and then added to the short stack of items to be handled during your “money date” to be paid or reviewed.

WEEKLY:

1- Set up a “money date” – a set time each week that you will pay the bills, do the filing, and handle any money-related items (like calling the cable or cell phone company to negotiate a better deal, for instance). More to come on Money Dates as these are a game-changing practice for you to implement in 2018.

2- Establish an easy monthly filing system now to set yourself up for success for the entire year. Instead of 10-20+ separate files for each company that gets paid, set up 12 files – one for each month of the year (ex: Jan ’18, Feb ’18, etc.).

3- When you are sorting, review the bill/statement and pay (or schedule on-line) what needs action. Once you have quickly reviewed all and acted on any requiring follow-up, then (this is KEY), immediately file the document based on the invoice date into the respective month’s folder.

Boom – no “to file” pile needed!

If there is an item that you reviewed and now can be shredded (like a credit card offer or those blasted “free checks” you get in the mail (that have ridiculously high interest rates BTW – so be careful!), either shred it right away or create a folder or bag for items to be shredded.

That is for all the new mail coming in – because lord knows it does keep coming.

For those lingering items – many of us sit on 3-12 months of stuff piled up separately, and perhaps you do too – you have a few choices: (1) Keep tolerating it and know that it is unconsciously distracting you and stressing you out… OR… (2) Take 1 hour each week – you have 168 to choose from – and set a timer and clear through the old stuff, with a leaning towards recycling, garbage, or shredding. (3) Find a 2-6 hour block and blast through it – and then celebrate your accomplishment with something fun at the end as a reward for yourself. (Best if items not requiring much cash, like enjoying a favorite song, a delicious cup of tea or a nice walk outside.)

PAYOFF: Allow yourself to make more and save more money once you can trust yourself with the back-end money (and paper) management required to be more successful. I literally see this payoff every day for my clients (and for me).

Comment below with your biggest money or paper management question too – so I can address your struggle in a future money tip!

And as a timely “thank you” for being such a loyal reader, here is immediate access to an organizing checklist for those papers left over from 2017 (and prior) and how to stay on top in 2018:

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Own Your Money Organizing Your Finances Checklist 

My gift to you – and of course, feel free to share this tip and resource too!

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