Leah Drewcock, CIRP, LIT, Senior Vice-President, MNP Ltd.

Leah Drewcock, CIRP, LIT, Senior Vice-President, MNP Ltd.

Breathe easier and stay on top of your paperless bills in three simple steps

By Leah Drewcock, CIRP, LIT, senior vice-president MNP Ltd.

The move to paperless billing is undoubtedly more cost-effective and better for the environment. Unfortunately, a growing number of consumers report forgetting about certain bills and increased difficulty managing their budget after making the switch. This is especially common among older Canadians who have a years- or decades-old habit of opening bills, mailing off payment, and manually balancing their chequebook at the kitchen table.

The good news is anyone with access to the internet and a computer, smartphone, or tablet already has all the tools to effectively navigate a paperless world. Getting started is simple with this three-step process:

Step 1: Sign up for paperless billing

Contact any companies who are still issuing you a paper bill and sign up for paperless billing. Some venders will email the statement directly to you, while others require you to log on to their site and download your statements.

Step 2: Organize your online bills and e-statements

Keep all your bills in one digital location. This could be a folder on your hard drive, in the cloud, or in an email folder. Create a filing system that’s easy to follow, easy to remember, and easy to find the information you need.

Tips for organizing bills in your inbox:

  • Set up separate inbox folder for paperless bills
  • Add all vendors to your safe senders list to avoid bills being flagged as spam
  • Move all bills to its folder as soon as they are received, or set a rule to automatically direct emails from certain vendors to your bills folder
  • Colour code your emails or set up subfolders to separate paid and unpaid bills

Step 3: Set alerts and calendar reminders

Sign up for alerts from vendors if and where available to remind you of an upcoming payment or due date. If alerts are not available, set a reminder in your calendar of all upcoming bills and their due dates.

  • Online payments and INTERAC e-transfers: Set a reminder for three days before your bill payment is due. Some e-transfers and online payments can require several days for payment processing. Giving yourself this time ensures you avoid any unnecessary late penalties.
  • Pre-authorized bill payments: Set a reminder for all pre-authorized payments that are automatically withdrawn from your account or billed to your credit card. Check your account the day before and the day of the withdrawal to ensure the funds are available and the payment has processed as anticipated. Try to set up as many bills as possible for pre-authorized payments. This can often be done either through your online banking or by connecting with your service provider directly.
  • Payments by cheque: Set a reminder for 10 days before your bill payment is due. If you’re sending cheques in the mail, they may take between a week and 10 days to reach the vendor and for the vendor to process the payment. Remember to also check your account within that seven- to 10-day window to ensure the funds are available.

Budgeting tips

With many of your payments now being withdrawn automatically, it’s more important than ever to be proactive in projecting and tracking your spending. Create a monthly budget on paper, in a spreadsheet, or in a purpose-built app with all your monthly bills, payment amounts, and due dates. And make note of when these payments have been completed.

Some helpful tips include:

  • Speak with your utility providers about equal payment plans for more predictable billing
  • Schedule bill payments for one to two days after regular pay days
  • Check your bank statements every month for accuracy and to prevent fraud
  • Set a reminder or automatic transfer to consistently move money into a savings account.
  • Incorporate aggressive debt repayments (i.e. more than the minimum) into your monthly budget

Leah Drewcock, CIRP, LIT, is a Prince George-based senior vice-president and Licensed Insolvency Trustee with MNP Ltd. To learn more about how MNP can help you manage your debt and stay on top of your finances, contact Leah at 250-596-4901or Leah.Drewcock@mnp.ca

Finances

Just Posted

Vanderhoof municipal office sign on Burrard Avenue. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof council discuss requests from NWRI, airport, BC Wildfire

District of Vanderhoof held their regular public meeting of council on April… Continue reading

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

To send in Letters to the Editor, email aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com
Letter: Increased aggression towards staff at Omineca Medical clinic

Dr. Davy Dhillon writes letter on behalf of the clinic

Basin Snow Water Index map for Apr. 1, 2021. (BC River Forecast Centre photo/Lakes District News)
Snowpack above normal for Upper Fraser West basin

Snowpack assessments for early April reveals above normal levels for northwestern British… Continue reading

Four young women prepare to model Magic Wand dresses at a fashion show. Magic Wand provides grad dresses and tuxedos for a nominal fee. (Submitted File Photo)
Nominations available for Cindrella Dreams Program in Vanderhoof

New organizer excited to help graduates with formal wear

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read