Shopping is Important

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do you have a filing system? I just re-did mine and it only took about an hour. The old system wasn't working for me. It went like this: OMG I can't deal with this now! Shove paper into Do Soon v. Things to File v. Taxes piles. Around first of the month, go through Do Soon pile and pay bills just in time or late. Go through Things to File pile when I can't find something. I spent way too much time going through my Things to File pile because I never filed anything. (To tell the absolute truth, I do file stuff about the kids and the cat in easily accessible folders near the mail table.)

The Taxes pile was the only good thing about this system, because I cleared it out every year. I just cleared out 2006, and it led to my discovery of the best filing system ever (patent pending). All it requires is one folder per year. I went through my Things to File pile and sorted by year. Before you laugh at how many years I sorted, let me tell you the reason I had to sort through so many years: 9/11. Right after 9/11, my investment guy told me I probably shouldn't open my statements for a while, which I extended into more than 5 years. For tax reasons, I did open them a few times a year. But I had a pile of about 30 I hadn't opened since 9/11. So, yes, I got out 6 folders and marked them 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. I sorted the Things to File pile into these 6 folders, and now I'm done.

I have concluded that there is absolutely NO reason to sort your papers into separate files for your bills, your insurance, your bank statements, whatever. It's either related to your Taxes or it's not. At the end of the year, go through your Things to File pile and see if anything is in there that should have gone into the Taxes pile. Scoop up the rest, put it in a folder, and shove it in a drawer. Don't be tempted to file any of it. It's a waste of time.

What does this have to do with Shopping? If you have the world's simplest filing system, you will only file once a year, and you will have more time for other things like spending your $ wisely on locally produced products or growing your own veggies.


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