With the internet becoming an ever-larger part of our lives, aside from keeping up with emails and social networking activities, you can use the internet and financial companies to your advantage to save yourself time, money, and even execute a personal loan completely online quickly. Here are some great ways automating finances can save you time and money if you’re willing to spend a little time setting things up.
- Online Banking – The first place you need to start in order to realise all of the benefits below is to enable your online banking account. Virtually all bank accounts nowadays offer an online option. While you may be used to handling cash and cheques in person, once you get used to seeing balances and paying bills online, the amount of time spent on finances will decrease quite a bit. This first step will easily save a couple of hours a month in avoiding envelopes and stamps, writing cheques, and getting to the post office.
- Automatic Bill Pay – It’s been a gradual transition for me, but I’ve finally reached a comfort level where not only had I been making all my monthly payments online through my bank, but I’ve even started setting up recurring expenses like mortgage and utility bills to be automatically paid for me. Rather than having to remember to pay the bills at least twice a month to catch all the different billing cycles, I set up automatic payments through the companies to withdraw funds at a set time each month. The only thing I would caution is to make sure you always have some excess funds in your account in case a certain bill comes in higher than normal. This can happen with a gas or electric bill due to excessive heating/cooling, or even on a cell phone bill if you exceeded your minutes/text allowance or had roaming charges. But overall, I can now just go in once a month and look at the outgoing transactions to update my chequebook register rather than manually entering every transaction with a keyboard. This probably saves me a couple hours each month.
- Automate Your Investments – One of the easiest ways to save a lot of money for retirement (or a rainy day) is to automate your investments so the calendar makes the payment for you instead of a conscious decision from you. You can do this with everything from employer investment plans to just ISA transfers into rainy day fund accounts. If you just take the time to set up transfers at a certain time each month (I like to pick right at payday), the funds come out before you have started spending your paycheck, so you know how much you have left to spend for the remaining period, but the investments have already been made.