Do you have a pile of old bills collecting dust in your desk drawer? Are you unsure of how long you should keep them before shredding? You’re not alone!
It can be confusing to know how long to keep different types of bills, and it’s important to strike a balance between keeping important documents and binning the ones you don’t need.
In this article, we’ll explain how long you should keep bills before shredding them in order to help protect your personal information and avoid clutter in your home or office.
Common Bills You Might Need to Consider for Shredding
Not every letter is important, but some do contain information you may need. Some bills are more important than others, and some might need to be kept for a substantial period of time.
Bills that could be considered for shredding include:
- Utility bills (e.g., electricity, gas, water)
- Credit card bills
- Insurance bills
Of course, there may be more depending on your personal and financial circumstances.
Factors To Consider When Deciding How Long to Keep Bills
When deciding how long to keep your bills, it’s important to consider several factors. These include legal requirements, financial management, and identity theft.
Documents you might have to keep around for legal reasons include things like tax records and proof of insurance. Companies will encourage you to keep these somewhere safe, as they may be needed in the future.
Personal Finance Management
You may want to keep track of bills and other financial documents for a certain period of time to help with budgeting, tracking expenses, and monitoring your spending!
Your bank won’t necessarily ask you to keep these, so this would just be for your personal records. However, you could save yourself some time and use an app or online finance tracking software. In the 21st Century, there aren’t many reasons to be using paper to track your personal finance!
Identity Theft Protection
Finally, protecting your personal information from identity theft is also an important consideration when deciding how long to keep bills and other sensitive documentation. The last thing you want is to leave a letter with passport or driving licence information out in the open.
How Long Should You Keep Bills?
Once you’ve considered what bills you need to securely dispose of, it can be helpful to know the general guidelines for how long you should keep them. Bear in mind there isn’t any official legislation for this, but below you’ll find some recommendations:
- Utility bills: Generally, no need to keep these for any more than a few months.
- Credit card bills: Keep until you’ve confirmed the charges are correct and the payment has been processed.
- Insurance bills: Keep until you’ve confirmed coverage and any claims have been processed. This may also hold details of policy numbers etc which can be useful further down the line.
- Taxes: Keep for at least seven years.
Bear in mind these are broad, general guidelines – it’s important to remember that your specific circumstances may vary.
How to Shred Your Bills the Right Way
If you’ve decided that you’re overdue a clear-out and need to safely destroy old documentation, the best way to do so is through a professional shredding company, like GTW.
Shredding companies like GTW charge either by box or bag and give you peace of mind knowing your bills have been destroyed effectively. GTW shreds to Security Level 2 and is fully compliant with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
If you want to learn more, please click here or get in touch now for a free quote.