What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

02 April 2011

B is for Bills

This is one of those words that means different things in different countries, so just to clarify: I'm talking about the notices your various creditors or utilities or whoever send you to request payment for services.

So! Today's green-living tip is really obvious, but it's one of those that is so easy to do that it's also easy to forget. Go paperless! Pull out last month's bill from whoever and look for the website: most places now have an option to receive your bills via email, so that no printing and mailing is required. Your bank probably also has a spot for you to receive your monthly statements online and a place to pay your bills, so no check-writing or trips to the post office are necessary. This simple action saves paper, saves postage, and saves you from suffocating under a pile of notices in your living room (okay, that might be just me).

And (for my writing friends) it saves visual clutter and frees up your brain for reams of creativity to come flowing out.

As for me: When we made our last move, I was determined to go paperless. But it's taken until this week for me to finally remember to contact ALL my companies and request e-notices only. But I have to admit, I'm ridiculously happy to have fewer things arriving in my mailbox. Next project: Stopping the stores from sending me circulars.

Are you paper-free? Do you work for the post office? Can you call my local supermarket and ask them to stop sending me dead trees?


Carole Anne Carr said...

I do that as often as I can, but I've just discovered that my accountant wants to see them, and it's a bit awkward telling him to log on and search for himself. The only alternative is for me to print them out... oh, well, I can't win them all. :0)

Anonymous said...

I started out paperless and then realized that this was going to be a problem for my non techie husband. His idea of using the computer is to ask me to look things up. What if something happens to me? How is he going to know there are bills to be paid hiding in cyberspace? I'm back to paper.

Giggle, Laugh, Cry said...

I despise bills and even more so because of all the paper. Ugh. I'm constantly shredding paper but I know that at least it will get recycled.
I'm a new follower!
Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. :-D

Su said...

@Carole: That is a downside. :( Dang accountants! ;)

@mybabyjohn: Oh, dear. That's what my dad is like with a computer, too; if my mother were to suggest that they go paperless he might die of shock.

@Giggle: I do the shredding thing, too. I've just discovered what great packing material shredded paper is!

Ju Dimello said...

Bills are the boon and the bane of life ;) A bill is a reminder of our payment and the proof too ;)

creative one for B!

Followed you from A-Z challenge :)

Beth said...

You know companies save so much money by not printing bills. I wish they would give people an incentive to go paperless(as in give us a discount for going paperless). Even if it's only 50 cents, it's fifty cents. And geez cell phone bills get looong.

The Words Crafter said...

I receive mine via email, but I still don't like them, blech!

Great point, though....

Renae said...

I go paperless as often as possible. I hate all of that clutter...makes me crazy!

Sherrie said...

That's a wonderful idea! If you figure out how to keep grocery stores from sending you flyers I would differently be interested in that one. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!

Just Books

Anonymous said...

I am paperless except for my mortgage statements - I just want those on paper not sure why it brings me comfort. I'm a bad hippie

Margaret Hall said...

Unfortunately, I have not gone TOTALLY paper-free~! Shame on me, huh?..Nope, don't work for the P.O., and I, too, want the junk mail to STOP~!!...I shop for what I NEED...Like your posting..Good one~!
See you soon...

Su said...

@Ju: So true!

@Beth: What a great idea. That would make me all kinds of happy!

@Crafter: Yeah, whatever form they come in, I don't like them much. :(

@Renae: Me, too. And then there's the "What do I do with this now?" thing-- I'm never sure of how long I have to keep a bill around.

@Sherrie: I am going to do my best to find out!

@Charlie: Hey, whatever works, man.

@Margaret: Alas, our society does still love paper. It's probably not entirely your fault that you still have some kicking around!

Alison Miller said...

I'm a little of both. I still have some bills I pay through the mail and some I do online. But I'd love to go completely green.

Heather Henry said...

I would love to only receive letters in the mail, I do miss those days. Bills are no fun! :P bleh!

Su said...

@Alison: I just realised today that our apartment complex only sends out paper bills. Dang! And here I was all pleased with myself. So I hear ya.

@Heather: I miss those days, too! I was such a good letter-writer, then email came along and ruined me forever. :(

V. Furnas said...

I love paperless. Hate and distrust the US post office not because of any odd conspiracy theory or some dedication to the environment. I am just more organized electronically then in "real world."

Ginny the Sock Monkey said...

Yup paperless is great!

Hi from the A-Z challenge!

You know, I'm also paperless in other ways- no paper towels or kleenex in this house....

Tomara Armstrong said...

we are slowly, but surely going paperless as well. I wish there was a way to contact all of the Wednesday junk mail senders, too. If you find a way... please please please pass it on :-)

Margo Kelly said...

I actually do about half and half. I'm not even sure why? ... I'll put some more thought into it!

Raquel Byrnes said...

We do try to be paper free. Its becoming easier, I've founEdge of Your Seat Romanced.

erica and christy said...

My bank doesn't have online banking, but I pay through a few websites. What really makes me mad is the free newspapers I get twice a week (I don't know if other areas have these, but in western WI, we do and I'm right between two towns that do, so I get them both). I NEVER read them and recently started just leaving them in my mailbox to make that point. Instead I just got a notice from our postal worker that if I don't clean out my mailbox, I'll have to start picking up my mail at the post office. :(

a runners' life said...

Going paperless when it comes to bills is fantastic. I love having the ability to view statements online and make payments the same way. Now if only advertisers would stop filling up my mailbox with junk mail :)

Su said...

@V: Hee hee, I love the non-conspiracy thing. And it is MUCH easier to let the computer do the organizing than to keep up with all that paper!

@Ginny: We use hankies instead of tissues and love them (it's relatively new for us)! We do still have some paper towels kicking around from a massive package we bought from Sam's about 5 years ago (not quite, but it feels like it). But at least those are compostable.

@Tomara: Okay, I'm now determined to look extra-hard.

@Margo: This seems to be one of those things that is a slow change; it's taken us ages, even though we knew how easy it was.

@Raquel: I practically live by "this must get easier as I do it" rule. Sometimes it lets me down, but usually not. :)

@Erica: Bummer! Nice try, I guess. Our local free newspapers come in a huge stack at the library, although I suspect the only reason they don't show up in our mailbox is that the apartment management won't let them on the grounds.

Su said...

@Runner: Oops; I must have clicked to post right when you did! I love online bill pay, too-- I thought I would miss check-writing and stamp-sticking, but I don't. And we're working on the junk mail. :/

T C Mckee said...

Paperless as much as possible here too. Found you on the challenge and I'm now a new follower. Nice to meet you. Waves.

Michelle in a shell said...

And most companies give you a dollar rebate usually! Transferring everything when you move is such a hassle though. Not looking forward to having to do that soon!

doreen said...

I did not even think of the word bills. I have been paperless for quite awhile now. We use our banks 'bill pay' because it is free and it is automatic. It does help with the clutter in my mind.
Great post.

Cally Jackson said...

We're about halfway through changing our bills to online versions. I hate opening the letter box to discover another bill. I don't really like seeing them in my inbox either but for some reason I find it's not quite as depressing!

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

I have started scanning everything. Bills paid get scanned and put into a PDF, the filename is the company + date of payment. I upload the PDF to a private folder on google docs and the original (unless it's a warranty thing, gets tucked into the paper shredder.

This way I hope to be in a world where I only have one binder left over where I keep the originals for some things (warranty, deeds to the house etc)

Grandpa said...

Despite all the green campaigns we still get tons of bills. The only better thing now is we get to pay all our bills online. No more long queues.

Duncan D. Horne said...

I'm a tree-lover, but I'm not paper free - I use plenty of paper for writing my novel. Thank you trees for providing this resource! Yeah, we need to plant more than are cut down...

Duncan In Kuantan

Seams Inspired said...

I have a few paperless bills, but I enjoy the process of writing the checks, licking the stamps, and balancing the books. I like having the tangible evidence of where my money goes each month. I guess I'm old school...and my postlady thanks me for that. :o)

Su said...

@TC: Nice to meet you, too!

@Michelle: Alas, none of the companies I do business with do that. Perhaps I should call round and request it.

@Doreen: We do the same; if I had to go to all those separate sites to pay I'd go mental!

@Cally: I feel the same way-- less depressing when it's electronic. That's odd, isn't it?

@Sylvia: That is absolutely brilliant. I think I'll start doing that. Thanks for such a great idea!

@Grandpa: Oh, yeah, I'm not sad about losing the queue!

@Duncan: Well, there is that. I'm working on getting my novels (apart from my own, obviously, but that will be a while anyway) either secondhand or from the library, but that's hard with new releases! And I'm not willing to go totally e-book quite yet.

@Seams: My dad feels the same way. And hey, if it keeps you on good terms with the postal workers, so much the better! :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Cheek,

Dropped over to see you for the challenge. BILLS YUK! But they are a part of life, so....

Great idea plugging for on line bill paying. I believe is saving a tree any way we can. We all need to be kinder to the earth.

Martha (MM) said...

Yes, I finally went paperless several months ago. It's the best thing I've ever done! I hate paperwork, was always late paying just because I didn't want to deal with it, now I usually pay the day I get the bills online - just love it!

Visiting from the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Nice to "meet" you! I'm a new follower. Have a great Sunday and a fun A-Z April :-)

Juliet Boyd said...

Paperless is good. The flyers from the supermarkets and the fast food outlets are really annoying - they go in the recycling straight away. I don't know anyone who actually reads them.

SharleneT said...

Visiting from the A-Z Challenge. I've gone paperless by paying online and using the NeatReceipts machine. Love it. Great blog.

Come visit when you can at:
http://rockingchairreflections.blogspot.com (A-Z)

Su said...

@Michael: I like the trees upright and leafy, not processed and in my mailbox. :)

@Martha: I'm the same way-- bills get paid so much more quickly now than they used to do.

@Juliet: I usually have a glance at the supermarket ads, but since they are available online, I'd much prefer not to get them in the main. Fast food ads are a different story!

@Sharlene: I've never heard of NeatReceipts! I'll have to check that out.

Arlee Bird said...

Online bill pay doesn't just save paper, it's really convenient and saves time.

Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during challenge I will not be doing so during April. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Su said...

Paper, time, postage, clutter... we have quite a collection of the stuff we're saving today!

Lynette Killam said...

I'n so with you on this one...have managed to lessen paper use at home, but work is another matter. They insist on hard copies for everything...great stacks of files that no-one looks at, just bogging down our space. Such a waste...

Great post for the challenge...:)

Imagination Lane

sema said...

Going paperless is a great way we can help mother earth.

Expressive Impressive
Enjoying my first year in A to Z challenge
and now your latest follower.

Su said...

@Lynette: My last office was "paperless", but I still had piles of dead trees all around me... sigh.

@Sema: I agree! It would be an even better step if companies would print the paper bills on recycled paper, for those who aren't wild about doing things electronically.