Author Topic: How long do you keep your bills ?  (Read 883 times)

stashing_it

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How long do you keep your bills ?
« on: January 23, 2021, 01:10:58 PM »
How long do you keep various bills / records that you get ?

i.e. utilities, medical, financial, credit card, etc.

I'm wondering if I should purge some of the paper I've accumulated over the years

sentry

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2021, 01:26:12 PM »
Pretty much none. I keep records for big ticket items like a private party sale of a car etc. in a single binder. 

Utilities and credit card bills? Haven't gotten or kept a paper version of one of those.. ever.

100% digital is so much easier.




MudPuppy

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2021, 02:06:56 PM »
I rarely keep something that isn’t tax related or warranty/ownership related more than 3 years. General monthly bills like the electric or my car statements? Never more than a month.

Malcat

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2021, 02:24:21 PM »
Uh, I don't. Not paper copies.

FINate

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2021, 02:30:22 PM »
Almost all my bills are digital and auto-pay.

For the few non-digital things I use an app called SwiftScan. I take a picture with the app then it does OCR on the image to extract text and annotate the PDF to make it searchable, then it auto uploads to a special folder on my Google Drive and Synology NAS. I keep the PDFs for at least a year, occasionally go through and clean out the old stuff.

Blue Skies

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2021, 02:44:27 PM »
Monthly bills - I have a folder that contains last month's bill.  When the new one comes and I schedule it to be paid then I put it in the folder and toss the old one.  I do this mostly so I have the phone numbers to call in one place if I were to need them.  I pull the folder to find the electric company number whenever we lose power. 

I have been considering changing to digital, but then I have to remember all the passwords.  That is a pain.  For now, paper seems less hassle.

wenchsenior

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2021, 03:18:11 PM »
I keep a paper copy until I get the next bill; so anywhere from 1 month to 1 year.

Cranky

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2021, 03:26:19 PM »
I keep 18 months worth of bills and yes, I have occasionally needed a paper copy and find it easier to go through the paper than to comb through online stuff.

Legally important papers I keep indefinitely. I have a file of stuff related to a tax dispute I had with the IRS in 1987. (I won.)

stashing_it

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2021, 03:42:35 PM »
Whelp,  this seems clear.  Time to throw away some old papers

Gronnie

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2021, 04:04:33 PM »
Monthly bills - I have a folder that contains last month's bill.  When the new one comes and I schedule it to be paid then I put it in the folder and toss the old one.  I do this mostly so I have the phone numbers to call in one place if I were to need them.  I pull the folder to find the electric company number whenever we lose power. 

I have been considering changing to digital, but then I have to remember all the passwords.  That is a pain.  For now, paper seems less hassle.

This is what a password manager like Bitwarden or Lastpass is for -- and you REALLY need to be using one along with extremely strong autogenerated passwords.

Mr. Green

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2021, 06:51:29 PM »
A decade ago I kept paper copies of bills. As we prepared to downsize our house I moved to e-billing for everything and pitched all bills in the trash. For taxes and budgeting, I moved to spreadsheets and scanning hard copies. I just Google Drive for backup so I don't have to worry about a hard drive failure.

I highly recommend it. We went from four file cabinet drawers down to just a couple of folders with product manuals and miscellaneous stuff that isn't digitizable for various reasons.

terran

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 09:33:25 AM »
I don't receive or keep paper copies, but I save digital copies of anything included in my home office deduction (self employed) indefinitely (at least 7 years, though I'm not sure I've actually deleted older ones as that's the limit for any sort of tax audit).

Adventine

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2021, 09:45:49 AM »
Whelp,  this seems clear.  Time to throw away some old papers

Careful not to accidentally throw away important ones!

When I was reorganizing my deceased mother's paper records a couple of years back, before I even touched the stack of papers, I made a quick list of all everything that I knew I absolutely needed to keep.

That list was my one last "sanity check" before throwing out 90% of the documents. Prevented me from second guessing myself and thinking "What if XYZ important document was in a folder I just threw out??"

Christof

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2021, 09:53:00 AM »
I keep documents until I scanned and filed them unless there is a reason such as legal, warranty, tax, contractual dispute or that they would be needed should I die or not be around. My digital copies I don‘t purge at all and still have everything since the late nineties when I started going digital. The only issue I have is that back then everyone considered TIFF files to be the future instead of PDF and some files I can only open with Microsoft Imaging on an old disconnected XP machine.

Sibley

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2021, 11:32:27 AM »
I have a file box. When it get full, I go through and slim it down. The only things that aren't in the file box are the mortgage paperwork because it's legal size and doesn't fit in the box.

Tax records I keep for 7-10 years. Mortgage paperwork I keep at least as long as I have the house. I was involved in a lawsuit, I will keep those papers at least 7-10 years. Auto loan/title/registration and maintenance records I keep as long as I have the car. Bank statements get hole punched and put into a 2 inch binder. When the binder gets full, I thin it down, keeping a year.

Regular bills - many of them are electronic and available online. The ones I get in paper are relatively few, and get put into the file box. When I go through the box, I generally keep a year's worth.

Now, it's just me. I'm not married, I don't have kids. Which limits the amount of paper. So my practice of wrangling the paper as it comes in, then letting it sit around generally works fine. Others who have significantly more paper inflow may need less lazy approaches.

Pookie

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Re: How long do you keep your bills ?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2021, 12:55:16 PM »
I keep mine way too long! We own rentals and I still get some paper bills, receipts, etc. I am always fearful of being audited. Everything is very organized but I don't like having to keep it. I think 7 years is good on regular paperwork but taxes, etc. I will keep for longer.