Going Digital With Your Filing Cabinet

When I was 12 years old, I found an old term paper in a box of my father’s things.  It was about creating a Cashless Society.  It intrigued me as a child on other things we could get rid of in our society.  My biggest desire was to get rid of paper.  I hated it.  So as a teenager and young adult, the idea of being paperless was exciting to me.  By the mid 90s scanner technology and cost had reached a point where I could start to realize my digital dream.

I began scanning every bill, invoice, statement and tax return I had.  Fast forward 20 years and now my filing cabinet is 100% completely digital.  Here are 5 things you can do to achieve my dream of a Paperless Society.

  • Ditch the receipts. Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Fast Food joints.  Unless the receipt is something you can deduct on your tax return, then there is no reason to keep them.  Some retailers have the technology to email you a receipt, rather than print one.  Take them up on that offer.
  • Electronic delivery of Bills. With the exception of a few bills, like the County Water Bill, you can opt for an email notification of your bill.  Save the PDF of the statement in your new digital filing cabinet.
  • Scan the paper. If there is just no way to get a PDF copy, then get yourself an inexpensive scanner from Costco or your favorite retailer.  When you sit down to pay your bills, just add another step and scan any paper for that month.
  • Get Organized. Making sure your digital files are organized is important.  If you need to put your hands on an old bill or statement, you do not want to have to scroll thru hundreds of files.  I like storing files by company and then a subfolder by year.  Also try to be consistent in the titling of your files.  I start all my file titles with the date of the bill (2016-06-01 xxxx)  That way they sort easier.
  • Back Up files. In this day in age, this should be a no brainer.  A cloud service might be easy, but if you have as many digital files as I do, then the limit on storage space could get expensive.  A portable external hard drive with a tera-byte of space can be very in-expensive.

See how Paperless you can go.  Your spouse will love that your desk is free of clutter and you might find that you are more productive.

About the author  ⁄ Van Pappas

Van Pappas

Van Pappas, CFP® - Van is a native of Atlanta. He holds his undergraduate degree in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate. As a planner for 15 years, he earned his CFP designation from Kaplan University. He is currently the Chairman and founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Chamblee. In 2012, he noticed the value of helping the X-Y Generations and decided to merge his practice with oXYGen Financial. Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

2 Comments

  • Scott
    August 7, 2016

    Another option for getting digital copies of those hard copy receipts is to snap a pic of them with your smartphone, email it to yourself, and then you can save it to your digital files.

  • Van
    Van Author
    August 8, 2016

    Great suggestion Scott. Anything it takes to get rid of the paper.