The joy of paying Bills

imagesautumn

We have as yet not fallen prey to our bills being paid without us being responsible for the act of actually paying them. I know that there are all sorts of Bpay and automatic Credit Card deductions but I like to be in control of getting fleeced, not vice versa. Those that get their wallets emptied automatically don’t understand the joy and satisfaction of going to the bank, withdraw the cash and then with bill and loot clutched in hand, walk to the Post Office, get the bill scanned and hand over the cash. A great feeling of achievement. It keeps us fit. We often combine a Milo walk with bill paying.

Today we paid the quarterly Municipal Rates. I received the bill by post yesterday and, as is my wont, could not get it paid quick enough. I hate unpaid bills, probably dating back to my days after arrival in Australia. My parents worst fears were not able to meet payment of bills. I remember mother buying an electric fry-pan on ‘easy terms’. She worried herself sick of getting into debt though, even about a fry-pan very necessary for cooking the daily meal. Now fry-pans end up on the side-walk, flung out without even having seen a garlic prawn or rhubarb crumble. So much waste, I would not be surprised to see fry pans chucked out in the future holding the prawns and rhubarb crumble.

The paid bills end up in a metal cream powder coated filing cabinet I bought many years ago. They have those sliding drawers which hold Manila folders suspended on a framework. I have lost the key long time ago. There is a section that denotes by stickers ‘Council Rates’, another Electricity and Gas, yet another ‘Social security and Pension’, Passports, Birth certificates, School diplomas (very few) etc. I now combine filing each new paid bill with chucking two old paid bills. I started doing this about a couple of years ago. Why keep on storing old bills? Not a premonition or anything dire but even bill paying and storing old bills will come to an end, it always does. Even to the best of us.

I am now back to the future at 2012 with my gas and electricity bills and at a surprising 2013 with Municipal Rates. Logic has it that I’ll get to the present state if I last the time but also continue to be able to keep paying our bills. It is a neck on neck race. I am very proud of this innovative method and am at the same time ‘clearing the deck’, not expecting Helvi or kids to clean away grand-dads obsession with filing of paid bills. They’ll all might otherwise end up in thick bundles of dusty and forgotten remnants of a sort of life well lived, mementoes of dues paid in time, together with socks, assortment of creams and ointments, strings and some screwdrivers, electric drill and tooth brush. Of course H could well survive me. Even then it is reassuring there will be less paid bills to be put in the yellow lidded re-cycling bin put out fortnightly on Wednesdays.

On the grave a simple epitaph; here lies a man who paid his bills on time. ( keep off the grass)

Tags: ,

29 Responses to “The joy of paying Bills”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    I loved your last line, and think I’ll steal it, changing ‘man’ to ‘woman’, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M-R Says:

    I’m with you on this, Gerard: we must both be obsessive compulsives.๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

  3. auntyuta Says:

    This really sounds like a life well lived. I envy you that you came up with this brilliant idea about how to discard what you do not need to keep any more. I wished Peter and I would think about this some time soon. It can’t be soon enough. It is just such a horror to set yourself this task once too much of that stuff has accumulated!๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      You have no idea, AuntyUta. I’m chucking out old bills for years. It only proves you are living a charmed life. You have no worries. If you should be worrying, you have no cause.

      Like

      • auntyuta Says:

        This is so true, Peter. With paying bills I have no worries. You are so good at it, and you seem to be always doing all right paying everything online. I just could not do it. If I had to do it, I’d gladly walk to the Post Office Shop!
        What worries me, are all the bank statements I have been saving for maybe twenty years. And there are also a lot of other things that you have not filed away and have not thrown out either. I think it is very difficult to be obsessive about this filing business. I am not very good at filing away pictures either. My computer files are always in a mess and I don’t seem to be able to keep track of all our old fashioned photo albums and printed out photos that have not been stuck yet in any of the books!๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes Berlioz, old bills are like old ties, never ever looked at. I mean, I don’t care how boring a Sunday afternoon might be, I will never be tempted to stare at a 2008 gas bill.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes Aunty. I too pay all bills and have tried getting Helvi interested in them. Within a minute of me explaining what the bill is for she starts yawning. I back off and just pay the bill. I get the receipt stapled on the bill and as I leave the Post Office, I show Helvi, who sits outside with Milo, the receipt. She doesn’t want to share in my little joy and achievement of having paid the bill and just puts the bill and receipt quickly in her bag.

        Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh no Uta, Helvi is even better in getting rid of stuff. Now that we are getting older she packs a bag at least once a week to take to the Father Riley shop. She loves doing that. Anything unused for a year, out it goes. Bread-makers, sewing machine, electric frypans, pressure cookers, pan cake makers everything that plugs in or out; out it goes. Endless bits of rags and cushions, out with it.
      Photos that haven’t been looked at or are at such enormous mountainous quantities, out with the lot. How many camping photos does one look at ? Books that remain unread because of first pages not gelling or working out. Out they go.
      We don’t keep anything anymore ;”that might come in handy”. It never does.

      Like

  4. rod Says:

    Your method clearly works, which is the main thing. I have a habit of keeping old records and it came in handy once, when my wife starting asking me about holidays. When I digitised the slides I was often left wondering when I had taken them and sometimes where. In most cases I was able to work it out by referring to old credit card and bank statemements. I was even able to reconstruct a complicated journey through the south of France and the north of Spain.Detective work. We leave a trail.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I too have worked out things from old bank statements but have also been driven insane having made a payment to some entity with a name that had no resemblance to anything remotely related to a bill. After phoning up the bank it usually cleared up. I now don’t check past bank records.
      Helvi’s brain has incorporated and digitised all our pasts. Show her a top or dress and she will answer; I bought this in Balmain at Topsy Turfy, August 2009, it was a sunny Thursday afternoon and you were wearing your Country Road jeans and also in a cranky mood.

      Like

  5. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

    I’m an errant bill payer. I like to leave it to the last minute. I don’t want my money leaving me until the risk of fines or a hefty increase in the amount payable becomes imminent. You’ll be pleased to know Gerard that paying bills on receipt of them is one of the criteria attributable to longevity. Based on your record you have many more happy bill paying moments ahead of you.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Bills never have time to get cold. I have a spot on the round table were I put them while I get the car keys. I rush out with Milo on the console driving to the Post Office.
      Most times Helvi comes with me but is not nearly as driven as I am with paying the bill.
      In most cases we celebrate the event with a latte and a quiet reflection on this small achievement once again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bkpyett Says:

    You certainly make me think. Bills, yes, they get paid, but clutter, that is another matter. My mother said to me just before she died, ‘don’t throw away the margarine containers!’ They were stacked high in the garage.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi collects glass jars as if there is no tomorrow. Jam jars, olive jars, chutneys,even small condiment jars. They are put in a special drawer for ‘the future’. I noticed a jar now that holds rubber bands that she saves from the bunches of spring onions and bok choys.
      She stores rice and all sorts of foods in them, beyond recognition even. Once they are away from their packets it is difficult to remember what is what. I thought the couscous was brown sugar and put it in our first morning coffee.
      I refrained from complaining.

      Like

  7. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Like you, I can’t bear an unpaid bill, so it is Direct Debits for me whenever possible. We, too, have a hefty filing cabinet with the suspended racks and old manilla folders. I am going to suggest your space-reclamation programme to my husband as, whenever the cabinet gets packed beyond squeezing another sheet, we fill manilla envelopes and deep store in the loft. Poor children!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Gerard, be grateful that you have always had the money to pay the bills, I’ve never gone in debt on anything but my first second hand “58” Chevy. Nothing else has ever been bought on time. But I keep lots of junk and it’s all stored in storage bins in the the “junk room.”

    I have given away clothes. But for some reason I have every bank statement. I really must do somethng about the oldest ones.๐Ÿ™‚

    I think that you and Hevi have the right idea of throwing things out or giving to the charity shops.

    ~yvonne

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The best motivator in getting rid of things is; You can’t take it with you.
      Some years ago, during a short stay in hospital, I witnessed a domestic fight between an old couple a few beds away from mine. The husband was on his last couple of weeks, dying from stomach cancer. Even so, he had won a bet on a horse. The wife wanted the money and they started this fight over the cash. During the tugging backwards and forwards he lost his hearing aids.
      The staff and even the doctor crawled over the floor trying to find his hearing aids.
      They were not found.
      It was a tragic comedy on par with the best of Chekov.

      The husband used to talk on how his wife made the best rissoles! He cared about her till the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Well he just wanted some dignity during his last days and keeping the money until he died was about all he had going for him. His wife probably took the hearing aids. Maybe she was really not as loving as he believed. One never knows what goes on inside a couple’s home.๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Perhaps she wasn’t so loving but he felt she was and held onto that. It gave him joy to talk about her rissoles. ( perhaps the rissoles gave him the cancer) Who knows?

        Like

  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Dr. A knows how he likes to get paid on time so when a bill enters our mail slot, it is rushed without hesitation to the desk to be paid. A good feeling to neither owe or be owed. I keep a good filing system. I’ve been sorting old books and sharing them with the thrift shops. Finally tore an old set of encyclopedia out of a book shelf yesterday. Felt quite good too.

    Like

  10. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I admire you Gerard, but we have pretty much gone electronic. That way when we wander, we don’t have to worry about who is going to pay the bills. โ€“Curt

    Like

  11. Patti Kuche Says:

    I still appreciate a paper trail if only because I don’t have more passwords and log in details to remember . . .

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: