General Question

janbb's avatar

How long do you keep paper copies of paid bills?

Asked by janbb (57164points) January 2nd, 2016

I pay most of my bills through online banking, mark the paper copy with the date paid and then drop file them. Am about to chuck my paper copies from 2014 but just wondering if there is any good reason not to do so.


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16 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We keep most tax related items for 8 years.

janbb's avatar

Yeah – but that doesn’t really apply to paid bills, does it?

flutherother's avatar

I pay all my bills online and most through automatic direct debits. I don’t even get a paper bill. My bank has a record of everything I’ve paid.

jaytkay's avatar

I strive to throw away all paper records. I download PDFs or scan the paper copies into PDFs. For the online banking, I download the year’s history. The spreadsheet is a lot more useful than the PDFs, most of which are never opened. It’s all backed up online.

My computer could explode and my apartment could be swallowed by an earthquake and my records would be intact.

chyna's avatar

I keep mine for 3 years.

Coloma's avatar

Not at all. I pay them and pitch them on the spot. If I need proof of something it;s all in my bank statement. I am the antithesis of a hoarder, I don’t save anything except taxes, insurance documents and my divorce papers. haha

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have all of mine for probably 20 years. No real need, but I have the space, so what the heck.

I can say that I did have to dig through some 2010 bills in 2014 – this had to do with a warranty for some home improvement I had done here, and the fact that I had “paid in full” bill was helpful.

jca's avatar

My bills are paid automatically out of my bank account. I look at the bill and then shred it in the giant shredder at work. I don’t see a need to keep it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have enrolled for paperless billing whenever possible so I don’t receive bills in the mail. A few don’t have this feature. I pay them online and immediately toss the paper bill. My online account has a record of the transaction.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I pay my bills online too. I don’t keep the paper copy anymore. I can’t remember ever having to produce a copy of a paid bill. And I can go back through my online bank statement to see if I paid something if I have a reason to doubt whether I did or not.

ibstubro's avatar

My bills are paid automatically through my bank account as well.
I open the bill when it arrives, and if I don’t see a problem I destroy it on the spot. So most of my bills are destroyed before they are even paid.
Both my bank and the business I paid have electronic records of my payments.

marinelife's avatar

Not if you have online records. I have reluctantly come to this conclusion, but it is a tough habit to break.

Coloma's avatar

Right, I forgot to mention most of my bills are auto-pay too, except for a couple I still write checks for.

JLeslie's avatar

About 3 years, but I think it’s ok to not save them at all if it doesn’t affect your taxes. If you are writing off expenses you might want to keep them. My credit card bills have records that do matter for my taxes, because I wrote off sales tax some years, and I pay for everything on credit cards, so it’s an easy way to calculate it.

tinyfaery's avatar

What paper copy? Paper is a squandered resource. Time to update.

janbb's avatar

@tinyfaery I pay online but I still get my bills in the mail so far.

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