I continue to work on scanning paperwork and photos as well as figuring out how to reduce the mail we receive at home. Most recently I targeted bank statements. I also wanted to see if there was a way of balancing the checkbook without having to actually keep a check ledger or start using a fancy software.
We use Bank of America. I discovered I could go into the account online and simply click on each line item for bank activity to show the item as reconciled. Here is a snapshot of what I’m trying to describe:
The letter C represents completed transactions. I click on each item which then reconciles the account.
I next needed to figure out how to stop having to keep paper receipts to compare against the online bank register. I discovered the bank will send email alerts of every expenditure for more than $100 as they occur. This includes when I pay bills online. I created folders in my email account to which I move the bank notifications. When using the ATM there is also an option to just send the receipt to my email rather than printing it.
I get direct deposits from work for payroll. The bank notifies me of those through emails as well.
One last area to help reduce paper were credit card purchases. I had never known I could go online with the credit card company and select an option to be notified my email of all transactions, as they occur. So now those go to an email folder. I use these notifications to verify expenditures when I receive the monthly credit card bill. Receiving notification from the credit card company had a hidden benefit. When Karen uses the credit card I get an email rather than having to chase down a receipt.
I know there could be tax reasons for keeping receipts but that’s usually not the case for Karen and me. I’m not sure yet but I may download the monthly bank statement and save it to a folder. Of course, if there are any receipts that have to be retained for taxes those are scanned and saved.
We still don’t receive bills electronically and have never allowed a company to automatically take money out of the bank account each month. For auto payments we use the credit card where we can dispute any charge. And as for any service/product we use that requires an annual renewal; I do not allow those to be renewed automatically. Seems like it’s a good idea to at least review the expense once a year to make sure it’s really necessary.
I found this site on the Federal Trade Commission web page to opt out of some junk mail.
Here are a couple links to earlier blog posts on the subject of Going Paperless.
Going Paperless: An Update (3/14/15)
I’d appreciate any comments on the subject to include if you are receiving bills electronically and how that is working out.