Reader Story: From Panic To Fun

Reader Story: From Panic To Fun

EvolutionThis post is part of the paperless stories feature at DocumentSnap. Some stories are from readers that have successfully gone paperless, some are still going through it. Would you like to share your story too?

Today’s featured DocumentSnap reader is Sue Campbell, and it is an amazing one.

Here’s my story about going paperless. Actually, the paper in my life was only a small
part of my problem in the beginning. My biggest hurdle to start out with was a truly
limiting belief that “I can’t do this”. But, thanks to persistence and a guiding hand in the form of, I now see myself as totally competent in managing our finances. I’ve been married for 50 years, and my husband has been handling all that for the majority of that time. Over the course of the 50 years, somehow I got it into my mind that it was beyond my capability. Nuts? Sure, but that’s what I used to think.

My path to competency and a paperless world all started with my husband getting a
diagnosis of lung cancer at the beginning of January. He immediately started going
downhill, having little time or energy to pay bills, track investments, etc. Then he had
surgery, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. And before he had recovered from that, they started six weeks of radiation treatments on him, rendering him totally depleted in energy, and sleeping most of the day.

In the middle of all that, our income taxes were due. OMG! I knew, that because of
his health, my husband couldn’t even start putting that together. He had used Turbotax for years, but the idea of digging into that myself brought on total panic.

However, one day the thought occurred to me that you don’t have to be smart to use Turbotax. In fact, I bet that some pretty stupid people use Turbotax just fine. So I said to myself, “One step at a time, girl. If it doesn’t work, you can always hire it out.” So I dug in, and before I knew it our taxes were filed. Eureka! I also learned that this kind of thing was fun.

Now here’s where the paperless part comes in. After filing the taxes, the big question
was “where do I put the paper documentation?” My husband’s system had him
amassing huge files and boxes of paper, some going back 15 years. If it was going
to fall to me to keep our finances from here on, I knew that wasn’t going to be the way I was going to handle it.

It was right about that time I ‘happened’ upon the website
(amazing how the angels manage things, isn’t it?) I read everything I could on the
site, bought the Paperless Document Organization Guide, and started studying. I felt like I had jumped into really deep water, but I was determined to learn how to swim.

Throwing caution to the wind, I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 scanner, and started gathering all the tax documentation for my first scanning session. The FileCenter software I bought to accompany the scanner made everything SO easy. I also loved the fact that (with FileCenter) my files weren’t tucked away in some propriety software, and I could find
them easily.

I was giddy with accomplishment! I then tackled all the investment reports, and the
bill-paying papers from the beginning of the year. The scanner couldn’t have been
easier to work, and FileCenter became my best friend. Then I bought the final piece
in my paperless setup…a Fellows W11C cross-cut shredder. What fun that gizmo is!
Loose paper doesn’t have a chance around here any more. I bag it up in clear plastic
bags, and the recycling people love me.

Excel spreadsheets completed my paperless journey. My husband kept track of our
investments for years on multiple huge sheets of ledger paper. No more! Now that I’m the one overseeing that duty, I’ve set up Excel spreadsheets for everything. Even for the monthly bill-paying. (And they’re color-coded! Heck, why not have fun with this?)

And that’s what has surprised me about this whole story– I found out it’s FUN. From panic to fun….who’d’ve thought it?

So, that’s my story. I owe you a huge THANK YOU. You came along at the perfect
time in my life. Keep up the good work. And keep reminding the scaredy-cats out
there that they can do it.

Thanks so much Sue! I almost don’t know what to say about this story. It is amazing what we can do when we are thrown into a situation, isn’t it? You are my new hero.

If you have questions for Sue, leave a comment and I will try to get them answered.

(Photo by stevendepolo)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 6 comments

Binding Machines - August 29, 2012 Reply

Very inspiring. Sometimes we lack of self confidence in resulting in failure and scared to step up. I'm happy for you. God Bless!

Jane H - June 24, 2012 Reply

"In fact, I bet that some pretty stupid people use Turbotax just fine." Oh boy, THAT made me laugh out loud at my computer – maybe cos I'm one of those stupid people!! Sue, you sound more than competent, rockin those Excel spreadsheets and such. You go, girl!

Bev D - May 10, 2012 Reply

Truly inspirational!

Elvis Presley - May 9, 2012 Reply

Good for you Sue!

roland - May 9, 2012 Reply

Wow!! Really enjoyed the story.
My wife handles the bills but I would like to put them on excel.
Could you describe how you have had set up your spreadsheet for paying bills,

thank you,

Gail - May 9, 2012 Reply

That is a great story, and all best wishes to you and your family.
Please check with your tax department about documents need to be kept in case of a tax audit. Scanned images may not be acceptable by the tax department.

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