I was reading another gal’s blog and it was dedicated to how she manages her family’s mail. She had a system for filing mail away and paying bills that worked for her family, but, to me, it seemed really complicated. I also see lots of “family command centers” on pinterest that women use for doing similar things – managing the paper that comes into the house. The command centers are really cute, but I just can’t see how they’d be useful to me.
I thought about it and realized that it’s because 95% of our bills are set up on automatic payments. My bank is set up to send the utility companies a check once a month. Same with the cell phone bill. Same with the money we give to charities.
Our retirement accounts pull from our checking account or our paychecks each month. The DiscoverCard that we carry pulls the full statement amount each month from our checking account. We use Quicken to automatically import our transactions and produce a spending report each month – that feeds an Excel spreadsheet that I keep. I probably spend 2 hours/month on financial things.
So when mail comes in each day, I just open it, make sure the amount seems right, make sure that they’re set up to pull the right amount and then put it in the “To Shred” pile. Maybe 2-3 times a month will I need to actually take the bill and make a payment. We only have 1 magazine subscription, so on a typical day we get 1 bill and 3 pieces of junk mail. It’s fairly easy to come up with.
When our kids get older, I’m sure we’ll have more paper to process – forms to fill out and the like that need to go back and forth to school. Maybe it will be then that we need a “Command Center”.
What else do people have to manage with their Command Centers? Why don’t more people like automatic payments?