1. Refuse Paper-Bills; Auto Bill-Pay.
Yeah, this is the one I'm guessing you already use. Isn't it wonderful? Fluctuating bills still need scrutinized, so some folks may still have such bills on paper, but it's generally easier to view and harder to lose a bill that's online, and recurring same-amount bills, like rent or a mortgage, are a no-brainer as auto-pay candidates.
Sole Proprieters and even non-proprietors are eligible vendors, too---Did you know?
Do you also know it's easy to set up your friend in need or your sole proprietor landscaper as a bill payee? I've done it without a glitch. All my bank required was a name, bank account & routing information, and at least a week; auto-pay transactions to individuals are slower than other tiers of payees that may already do business with the bank. For example, when I pay my Chase card from my Chase checking account, I get the fastest pay option available: same day. But, if I want to pay a Capital One card from my Chase bank account, I may be waiting a couple of days or more, and setting up a new vendor that Chase may never even have heard of also takes a bit longer. So, always make sure you have at least a week to spare before the payment's due, even once they are set up. Oh, and the other good news; you only have to set a new vendor up once. Trust me, this comes in handy when it's been two years since you paid person X (assuming X's account info hasn't changed).
|Image from BooneCountyKy.org|
2. Reduce Junk Mail.
Saves me time reading or sorting through it; saves me time weekly from running it to the curb. Saves the planet and makes me feel good.
DMA Choice (Eliminate Junk Mail)
This god-send from the Direct Marketing Association can nearly eliminate credit card offers, catalogs and magazine offers. It sends a request out to all major credit entities like Experian and Equifax, and it's free. So that it can be accurate and thorough about getting my name off lists, the https protected site does ask for sensitive information, but most is optional. Still, it's a reputable organization and the more info I'm willing to provide DMA, the better their efforts will be to help me. The entire process, including signing up for a free DMA account and requesting to be removed from all the aforementioned options, took less than five minutes.
The DMA site is so incredible; a person can even reduce her junk e-mail, register as a caretaker, or register that someone is deceased, in order to reduce unnecessary mail!
3. Reuse it.
Yesterday I used some old newspaper as a tissue paper substitute for stuffing the bottom of a big gift basket (which itself was a new fiber trash bin doubling as the "basket"). Other days, I save paper as the upcoming winter's fire-starter.
The Re-use Trap
Saving paper and cardboard and other materials for future use is great, but don't fall into the trap of collecting much more than you can use in a reasonable amount of time. I've made that mistake repeatedly with boxes. It's an easy trap to fall into, and a hard habit to break. Do a regular sweep of the excess if you want to stay organized and feel on top of things.
And you guessed it; the rest goes into the compost & what doesn't make it into the compost ends up in the recycling bin.
And finally, it may be more than you ever wanted to know or think about mail, but if you're at all curious, look up unjunkmail sometime. It has interesting ideas and information. And if you have some other creative ideas for taming the junk mail beast, please do share.