Do you have a family bill payment system?
Category : All About Dwel
Remember the good old days of pinning bills to a board or sticking them with magnets to the fridge? And then, if you were particularly organised, you’d have a wall calendar hanging nearby with the bill due dates marked on it?
There was an entire science dedicated to the process of bill paying. People made money going into other people’s homes and helping them get organised by setting up a bill payment system.
There were entire websites dedicated to this topic – look what I found in some forgotten corner of the Net:
How cute was that!?! 🙂 Well, those days are gone…
These days bills come mainly in the email, so you’ve probably got special folders set up in your inbox to store them. And, if you’re particularly organised, you’d use an electronic calendar to mark the bill due dates on, probably have reminders set up, etc., right?
This system, modern as it is, is also on its way out.
First of all, under who’s account are the Inbox and the Calendar set up? Do all adults in the household have access to them? How easily can one person take over the bill payment duty from another?
Well, these are solvable problems. Google do their best to provide these conveniences, make them as easy to use as possible – and kudos to them for it! However there is a problem with the whole setup – a large one.
I mean, think about it – do you really want Google (or Yahoo, or Microsoft, or Apple) to have access to your spending and consumption records? How long until they begin to harvest this information to sell you thing? Are they already doing it? I wouldn’t be surprised.
What’s the alternative I hear you ask? No? You didn’t ask? Well, anyway, I’ll answer: Dwel.
Dwel is your own private family cloud, so Google (or Yahoo, or Microsoft, or Apple) have no access to it. And hey, look here – there are a couple of Dwel apps that deal with the bill processing and expense tracking!
Let me describe to you how things work in our family.
All our bills come to a special email address that we’ve set up for this purpose.
(when you host your own Dwel, you can set up any number of email mailboxes)
Dwel checks this mailbox at certain intervals and, when there’s a new email, imports it into the Binder app, then displays a green notification bubble on the Home Page:
If we don’t pay attention, tomorrow that bubble will turn orange, and the next day it’ll turn red, so we can’t ignore it anymore.
One of us will open the Binder app and check the email. We’ll see that it’s a bill from Optus, and open it by clicking the Email icon.
That will display the content of the email:
We’ll note the amount due and the due date, close the preview and move the email to the staging area: the Bills category, To Be Paid clip:
After that, we’ll navigate to the Budget app and create a new expense record for this bill:
The record will be added to the list of pending transactions:
And that is it! We don’t need to do anything else.
The day before the bill is due, a yellow reminder pops up on the Budget app’s icon on the home page:
That warns us that there’s a payment coming due tomorrow, so we have time to make sure the necessary funds are available on the account, if it’s an automatic payment.
The next day that reminder turns red, and stays that way, until we tick the payment as ‘made’:
Having done so, we’ll go back to the Binder app, open the To Be Paid clip and transfer the bill from to the Optus – Paid clip, for the archive:
So that’s the lifecycle of a bill, when processed through Dwel.
All (adult) household members can see/perform the bill payment process – it doesn’t sit on anyone’s computer, isn’t locked under anyone’s account, etc. It’s open, transparent, subtly nagging (green, orange, red reminders) and ultimately an efficient way of handling bill payments and maintaining the ‘paperwork’ archive.
You can play with the Binder and Budget apps at our demo sites – just enter 1234 as the PIN and click/tap the desired app icon.
Or you can just go right ahead and Get Your Own Dwel