Automate Your Finances – Never Miss a Bill Again
Start with Direct Deposit
If you still receive a paper check from your job, see if they will switch you to direct deposit. Having your paychecks deposited directly into your account means that you spend less time at the bank, have your money sooner, and even have a wider choice of banks.
Set Up Automatic Bill Pay for All Regular Bills
Many checking accounts will allow you to set you automatic monthly payments using bill pay features in your account. If you do not have this option, you can also check whether the companies you pay each month have automatic deduction features on their web sites.
For credit cards, set up an automatic payment that will cover at least the minimum on your card. You will usually have the option to choose the day of the month that payments go through. This way, you can pick a day that comes after your payday. For instance, if you get paid on the 15th of the month, schedule your car insurance payment to hit a day or so after that each month.
Get Automatic Savings, Too
Many savings accounts and retirement accounts allow automatic contributions. These are taken directly out of your checking account, so, you never miss the cash. A regular automatic contribution to a savings account is a painless way to accrue funds for a down payment on a house. By automatically contributing to retirement accounts like IRAs, you establish future security. Plus, many discount brokerages will reduce or even eliminate fees if you sign up for automatic contributions to the account.
Give Your Finances Periodic Check-Ups
Once all of the money that goes into and comes out of your accounts has been automated, you will need to check balances far less often. However, it is still worth it to look at accounts periodically to see if adjustments need to be made. For instance, once your savings account balance reaches a certain level, you can transfer money to higher yield investments. As a rule of thumb, look at your checking account a few times a month and investment accounts a few times a year.
Do Not Automate If…
There are some situations where automating bill payments and contributions to savings can be counterproductive. Automatic investments may not work for people who have unpredictable income, since billing dates may not work with the days you get paid. You should also avoid automation if your checking account balance tends to be dangerously low.
Each person should evaluate their finances individually. For most people, in the end, worrying about one less aspect of your finances can reduce your stress levels and increase your financial well-being.
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