Personal Finance 

5 Reasons You Should Go Paperless

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Stack of PaperworkDespite what you feel about recycling or renewable fuels, there’s one thing that every person should be able to agree on – the fewer resources you consume, the better. It’s better on the world, it’s better on your wallet, and it’s better for your children. You might not believe recycling helps, but no one can dispute the fact that not using something is the best way to help sustain our world.

With that in mind, here’s something that not only helps Earth but also helps you – paperless statements. Many companies are offering paperless statements because it saves them money. With the exception of one credit card bill, we use paperless statements for all our finances from banks to credit cards to mortgages to insurance (the lone credit card is the business AMEX, which we need to annotate for accounting purposes).

Here are five reasons why you should join us:

  1. It’s green. By going paperless, the company doesn’t have to print out your statement and mail it to you. They’ll save some money but you’ll cut down on the amount of paper being used, the fuel being consumed in shipment, and the time being expended on something that you could just as easily get by email. While many companies are using recycled paper, which reduces the consumption of virgin paper, you’re still using fuel and time, which are both valuable commodities.
  2. Easier to store records. You can download many of your statements online in PDF form. Downloading PDF statements and saving them in a folder on your computer is significantly easier to store than a stack of statements. In fact, if you have access to your statements online, you probably don’t even need to save them on your computer (I do, for important accounts, just for backup purposes).
  3. You save time. Think of the time it takes for you to walk to your mailbox to get the statement and the time it takes to open the statement, not counting papercuts! It may be only a few minutes each month but it’s a lot longer than the time it takes for you to open an email and time is valuable!
  4. It’s easier to manage email statements. If you are a fan of systems like GTD, an email notifying you that your statement is ready works wonderfully well with GTD. You can mark it as a Bill and then file it away into the proper folder. If all of your folders are online, this integrates very nicely.
  5. The company might bribe you. Many companies now offer a cash incentive to go paperless, such as a $5 statement credit or some other incentive. If they do, take advantage! If they don’t, go paperless anyway because there are plenty of non-financial benefits.

While you’re at it, you can stop unsolicited credit card offers too. Billions of pieces of junk mail are sent out each year, many of which end up in the trash. You don’t want the offers and neither does the landfill, so take a quick minute to protect your identity and Earth by opting out.

Have you gone paperless? Please share your experiences below!

(Photo: kozumel)

{ 31 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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31 Responses to “5 Reasons You Should Go Paperless”

  1. I went paperless in my office and a huge benefit is that it saves enormous amounts of time and space. I was able to to reduce hours worked by 20% and I am looking to move into a smaller office – smaller by 40% which will be a huge rent saver.

    Paperless…yeah baby!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello Wealth Pilgram,

      We are tyring to go paperless we are in the process of researching the leagl part. I would like to talk to you. If you could call me and I would like to ask some question. 832-351-8229

      Frankie DeLaPortilla
      Houston, Texas 77072

  2. Jim says:

    How did going paperless save you 20% in hours?

    • saladdin says:

      i have 2 in my office that print out every email they get, even stupid “birthday announcements.” and they file them. that’s time waste.


  3. Mark Wolfinger says:

    I’ve never seen the ‘bribe’ but have been waiting for one.

    It saves the company good money, so I want to be paid for going paperless.

    • MissMartha says:

      They tend to offer you the “bribe” if you are calling up about something else. For example, if you have a question about your account at the end of the dicussion they will ask if you want “credit protector” or some other service, sometimes they will offer for you to go paperless for $5.

    • I too wait for the bribe. I’ll go gree when i see the green. I do however like the ease of storing and scan things in to save all the time. One thing missed in the post is about the savings of space. 100s of documents on a cd takes far less space than the filing cabinet filled with the same documents.

    • Bob Bickerson says:

      I agree. I refuse to go paperless without a financial incentive. Why should the bank get all the benefit?

  4. SaveBuyLive says:

    I tried going paperless for a few years. It didn’t mesh well with my personality. So I’m back to boring and not quite as environmentally friendly paper.

    I get tons of email. This means that it’s way to easy to gloss over email statements and miss things. Like your bank screwing you with fees.

    I get relatively little paper mail which subconsciously encourages me to pay more attention to each thing I’m receiving. Having an actual paper bill in my hand really helps me to focus on it and make sure that everything is kosher.

  5. I’m already almost completely paperless with regard to bills. They send me online statements and I pay all my bills online. I do need to opt out of credit offers, though, that’s a great point. Good post.

  6. Patrick says:

    I love paperless bills. I hate having tons of paper copies of everything and having to decide whether to shred them or keep them. It’s much easier to just store it on my computer or let the company store it for me.

  7. JI Surfer says:

    I went paperless. One company really pisses me off. My student loan company has outside advertisers with flashing ADS while I am viewing my statement. So they save money not sending me a paper trail, Sell ad space to three companies to advertise on my statement landing page.

    I suggested they give me %50 of their ad profits from my statement to apply to my principle. I have not heard back from them.

  8. MICHELE says:

    Not sure about every company, but with AMEX, once you have viewed a .pdf of your statement, they delete it after a period of time. Its important to save a copy on your own computer or it might be gone when you need to access it again.

  9. Kelly says:

    I love being paperless!
    We do it for every bill we can-which leaves 3 I get statements from (utilities only).

    It saves SO much space and makes everything easier to manage for me, no more misplacing bills!

    Michele, if you feel you need the statements download them and keep them in a file on your computer (backed up of course), then delete them at the end of the year once you get your yearly statement.

    In 15 years of adulthood I have never needed to retrieve info from a bank or credit card statement that I wasn’t able to access. Worst case scenario I would pay the bank a minimal fee or request my statement from my CC company.

  10. Kelly says:

    I forgot I also love opening the mailbox to so little mail! I also opted out of CC offers, and catalogs, so we rarely get anything in the mail.

  11. I’m committed to going as paperless as I can. I’ve cleared my desk at work, and I’m working on my home office. A Fujitsu SnapScan might make a nice Father’s day gift!

  12. Eric says:

    Paperless is the way to go. I can never look back!

  13. Stefanie says:

    I really like being paperless as well. It means I used fewer stamps and fewer envelopes and fewer checks. I wish that my health insurance statements could be paperless as well.

  14. FairyDust says:

    I love being paperless! In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I get downright annoyed with a company that won’t offer me that option. There are still a couple banks and utility companies I deal with that insist on mailing me paper invoices (and yes, I’m the Queen of Papercuts), which I have to file… somewhere 😛 Definitely would love to be totally paperless! And if there’s a bribe involved, all the better.

  15. Paige says:

    I am with Kelly, ee rarely get mail. We use online bill pay and we get e-statements for everything other than our city water/sewage bill. I love it, it makes bill paying and organizing much easier for me.

  16. Shirley says:

    We are a retired couple and I do all our financial transactions online. My husband does not use the computer and is not willing to learn to do so.

    If I stopped paper bills, and then something happened to me, he would be lost. I don’t dare take that chance, as much as I would like to.

  17. Master Allan says:

    Paperless here. My home resembles what the private quarters of a Star trek crewman’s quarters look like – uncluttered and generally sparse. Years ago I had rows of categorized 3 ring binders on two bookshelves with everything organized carefully and rarely referred back to. Today it’s PRINT->PDF or I scan them in on the bulk office scanner at work automatically to PDF.

    I work overseas every year for 3 – 6 months so I can copy my virtual office to USB flash drive. It came in handy recently when I had a question about my storage unit agreement. With the time and date differences the office was closed but I had my rental contract electronic and saved me trouble.

  18. troy says:

    I’d love to go paperless, but I find it very annoying when company X sends me an email saying my bill is ready to be viewed but that I have to LOGIN to their website to see it!

    I understand why, of course (email is insecure), but don’t people find it a pain to login to all those websites just to see and download your bill?

  19. Lindsay says:

    I have a home business, and I don’t print anything unless it’s something I have to keep for my taxes. I hate wasting paper.

    Though with the whole digital world, I do sometimes wonder what will actually be left of our civilization for the archaeologists of the future. Plastic milk jugs, I suppose.

  20. Purpose4lyfe says:

    I love going paperless. I tend to forget to mail things so paying my bills online is very helpful. I get frusturated with companies that doesn’t offer online services. Besides, at least I still will get my statements online even if I change my address and it’s less paper to keep up with.

  21. EconBri says:

    I should go paperless, but I should also buy an external hard drive first to make sure that when my computer inevitably crashes my financial history doesn’t disappear as well. So until I finally take the time to do my reasearch and pick the perfect external hard drive I guess I’ll remain a tree-killer.

  22. Craig says:

    I have discovered a reason why I will not go paperless. When considering the option I did a comparison of my Discover Card online statements from the past with my paper statements from that same time period. I quickly discovered that if one was looking at the paper statement from six months prior, vis a via, my online statement from that same month, there was one huge, and potentially costly difference in the two. The online statement from six months ago showed the interest rate on the card NOT at the rate it was at that time but rather the interest rate it had been changed to. If I would of been paperless I would have no record of previous rates and thus could not contend or bargain with the devious jerks at Discover Card.

    • Lauren says:


      That’s not necessarily true. Banks are required to notify you of any changes to your accounts. Regardless of your statement preferences, you would have been sent a paper notice of that specific rate change. Also, your rate only changes once your new member offer runs out, you miss a payment or you go over your limit. The CARD Act protects consumers from other increases in rate.

  23. Chad says:

    Until utilities and banks offer to email encrypted statements, I am sticking with paper. Some only hold onto their statements for 90 days, and almost all force you to download each one individually, meaning the electronic paper trail often gets lost.

    Much easier to stick with paper – I can shove it in a file cabinet and know its there in case of a dispute. (And I’ve had companies overbill and penalize me in error and not caught it for 6 months out – too far for an electronic statement that’s been deleted from the system)

  24. Susan says:

    I agree with Chad and more so. Paperless is an excuse for corporations to avoid paying for the printing, paper and mailing costs of sending you a bill, so that YOU must incur the costs of printing it yourself. It isn’t truly paperless since you should be printing a hard copy for yourself even if you keep a copy on your computer and/or backup system – especially to record date paid and confirmation code, which you cannot record on an electronic copy.

    Never trust the company to have copies of all of your bills since they all limit the number of statements available. They do not have YOUR best interests at heart by asking you to go paperless – only their own.

    Since they can actually afford the paper costs, I always use paper invoices (although I pay online) unless I am forced not too.

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