I have a very bad habit. I sometimes don’t open post for months. The thing is that every bill I have to pay regularly is on a direct debit so anything that looks like a bill is really just a statement of account requiring no action other than filing or shredding. When I do open mail it all goes into a drawer and when that gets full I sort it all out and file it away.
The longer it goes and the bigger the pile of paperwork, the harder it is to get any enthusiasm for dealing with it, knowing that it is going to take several hours. This week I dealt with it, and I have decided that in future I shall deal with everything straight away because this laissez-faire approach has turned around and bitten me on the bum a bit.First of all, I sometimes miss something that isn’t just a regular bill. This is especially bad if it is something like an insurance renewal which says it will renew unless I say otherwise within 14 days. So I missed my chance to compare the meerkats when my car insurance ended for example.
This time round I found that the people who supply my gas and electricity had got into a bit of a mess, which involved a marathon phone call to customer services to sort out. They had increased the direct debit for electricity to a ridiculously high amount a couple of months ago, putting me well into credit. I also realised that I didn’t have a direct debit for the gas after all!
It all got very confusing when we moved house and then changed meters. We replaced the old key meter with a normal one, but I still had a substantial credit balance from the old address which moved over so I was actually still in credit even though I hadn’t been paying anything. In between the bills showing a credit balance I found letters demanding payment for an unpaid bill which didn;t make sense. It turns out that related to the old meter, which was a key meter so wouldn’t ever have a bill to pay.
Got it all sorted out, but I realised that there was a chance I could have had the collection people on the doorstep for it so probably just as well I caught it before it all turned too nasty – and before I started getting in the red on the real bill.
All up-to-date now though. I’ll have to make sure it stays that way.