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  1. #1
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    Question Keeping Record in the Age of Online Payments

    I got a question for you all.

    So reassessing my financial workflow, a few questions came to mind that I was curious to see how other handle such circumstances. In the past it was said to keep record of all bills paid for through the year for up to 7 years, I believe.

    First, does 7 years seem a bit overkill? Maybe not...

    Also, now with the day in age of being able to use online banking/online payments, and every company "going green" by doing paperless billing, what have you all found as a solution to ensure receipt of payment? Maybe it's no longer a concern with everything being electronic.

    Lately I've found myself not really keeping track of such bills after payment. A few I get email notifications which I keep, but others I don't.

    And how about things such as Rent or in my case even a Car payment. I get no "bill", it's just known that a payment is needed. I write a check drop it off, and forget it.

    I realize this is probably 6-7 years overdue, but yeah, my life is 6-7 years behind right now....lets say I'm trying to catch up on a lot of things.


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



  2. #2
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    Re: Keeping Record in the Age of Online Payments

    I keep track of my monthly bills in a spreadsheet. As for one-time bills, those are generally paper bills and I throw them in a folder. Whether it's electronic or paper, I write down the date paid, amount paid, confirmation number, check number (or which credit card I used), etc.



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    Re: Keeping Record in the Age of Online Payments

    I think the idea of keeping things for 7 years relates to taxes. If you deduct things on your taxes, you're going to want to keep any records pertaining to that for the 7 years (although the IRS can basically go back as far as they choose should the choose to audit you, but I think 7 is the standard).

    In your case, if you used a portion of your apartment for a home office (one in which you were making reportable income), then you'd probably want to request a receipt from your landlord. Same thing for the car payments - if you were deducting part of the payment as a business expense, you'd need some sort of proof. Short of these things, I don't imagine you'd really need to keep these records for more than a year or two for your own peace of mind.


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    Re: Keeping Record in the Age of Online Payments

    Ditto on 7 years for tax documentation. 7 years of utility bills is ridiculous.

    In all honesty, I pay everything substancial (> $20-30) with a debit card. I save the receipt and use a spreadsheet "register" to balance the account. All electric bills are documented in the same way.

    I'm paperless on most bills because I am fine with email reminders. In most cases, they keep past bills for up to a year available online. I don't know why you'd need to go further back than this.



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    Re: Keeping Record in the Age of Online Payments

    Thanks for all the feedback, really!

    I knew of the 7 years for taxes, so maybe that's where I came up with the ridiculous number of 7 years for utilities....or my overly cautious parents giving advice.

    I think the spreadsheet idea seems like a good one, but it does allude to a thought I had. It seems that keeping record of utilities is more proof and record for easy tracking of when, what, and how you paid for something. I guess I've managed to shy away from that thinking credit statements, etc could work just as well. Probably illogical thinking, hence this thread.


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



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