Why hold on to paid bills?
By Desert Rose from Las Cruces, NM
They may be necessary for proof when it comes times to pay taxes, if you have certain deductions. If you are buying a house, they are proof that you actually paid for it, when you decide to sell it. They need to be saved to compare to debits if you use a debit card, when you compare you bank statement. Needed to compare to your credit card statements every month, if you use one. Also needed to prove date of purchase for some product warranties.
Keep them in a large manilla envelope, and look through it periodically, to see what you can throw away. This comes in handy when you get a water bill for the past 3 months, claiming that you haven't paid it, if you write on each one that date, amount paid, and check number.
My husband & I had 2 accounts with Montgery Wards. One was the charge card, the other was a time payment thing for our TV. I paid off the TV and continued to pay on the charge card. I started getting notices that I wasn't paying my bill. I took proof of payment to the store and found out they were applying the money to the account that had been paid off instead of the one I still owed. I kept all of the paperwork. Two years later when we bought our house, we almost didn't get it because there was a thing in our credit report that we had missed several payments at Wards. I had to write a letter to the mortgage company explaining the mix up and I provided proof. The mortgage then went through without any problem.
I've had similar problems as DiJones. I've had companies come back as much as 4&frac; yrs later trying to say I had missed payments. Once a bill is paid off I keep ALL the monthly receipts for one year. After that I keep only the final bill where it states there is a $0 balance due. I keep that for 7 yrs.
Another thing I do as I'm paying my bills each week, is I write on the part of the bill that I keep the date I paid it, the amount I paid, and the check number. This way if h there is a question, I don't have to go through my checking account trying to figure out what check number I used to find out if that check has cleared. Also I keep this list on a flash drive just in case something happens to my computer so it's not lost (been there done that--learned my lesson!)
I also keep a running file on my computer for each bill that I have. It lists, the date the bill came in (so I know when to expect it next month), the amount due, date due, amount paid, date paid, check number, the date that check cleared the bank, and the balance due.
This way I just refer to my list in case of any questions that may come up. This has saved me many times with companies wanting to charge me "late" fees for payments that were not late, and many other situations. These companies are getting sneaky and we have to be careful now!
Ooops I hit POST before I hit PREVIEW and realized I added the note about the jump drive one paragraph too soon. Obviously it's the computer file that I keep on the jump drive. Sorry!
My husband just had an incident where they sent him another bill, it was a bill already paid, we were fortunate to put that bill in our filing system and found that we had the receipt. Companies from time to time have computer errors, plus now with the economical problems people are going to try anything they can to make us pay extra money. So, with that in mind, keep all bills for at least two years I've been told. Put in filing system.
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