When you get hate mail disguised as a “love” note from your mailman to PLEASE empty your mailbox, it’s definitely time…
Like their motto says, “Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we deliver your mail!” They will get it to you… whether you want it or not.
(In this case, my client had been that afraid to open her mail for fear of one particular bill. Within 2 months of our work, she had that bill opened, settled, and the debt completely paid off. We gave her back such a sense of freedom!)
But with our busy lives, handling the barrage of mail and paperwork can often just feel like one more thing to do.
The result: Piles – and lots of them. Instead, here’s a much better answer…
OWN YOUR MONEY TIP: You need 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 is easy to maintain – and even fun and rewarding to do.
ACTION STEPS: 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/ mail organizer (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.
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). Harness all that worry into an action-oriented 30 minutes each week.
2- Establish an easy 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 ’15, Feb ’15, etc.), plus a few other special files like one for 2017 tax paperwork and donation receipts. (If you run a business, this system works best with an additional 12 files to support all your business expenses – and hopefully a separate bank account and credit card too.)
3- Then, when you sit down weekly to address your bills, 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.
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, and then handle those quarterly or when it builds up.
That is for all the new mail coming in – because lord knows it does keep coming.
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, as a total recovering avoider).
Be sure to let me know and comment below with your best organizing hacks, tips, and tricks now too!
And since you may have your own challenges around money, mindset, or organization, I created an easy way to let me help you.
LEARN FROM THE BEST: Since this section seems to be getting a lot of great feedback, here are some great resources to make more, save more, and spend better:
- Grow Your List Giveaway from Vrinda Normand and 33 other business and marketing experts, including me, share their best tools (for free!) to help you attract, convert, and nurture more subscribers
- With $15 Left in the Bank, a Baby Boomer Makes Peace With Less (includes interesting video on the retirement challenge for Baby Boomers) by Timothy W. Martin for the Wall Street Journal
- Rich People Literally See the World Differently by Drake Baer from the Science of Us
- Money Saving Tools for Children by Brian Brandow of Debt Discipline
- How to Find Really Cheap International Flights (Without Credit Card Hacking) by Whitney Hansen
- 15 Surprisingly Easy Loan Tricks to Ditch Debt Fast by Joseph Hogue, CFA
Get started with your new filing system this weekend – the best time to start is today!
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