As more and more people move towards better organization of their personal life, they often find that they're still inundated with paper forms, old-fashioned mail, and unwanted documents. Your financial life is one of these areas that can seem hard to get organized. But by making a conscious effort to "go digital", you can make your desk less cluttered and keep on top of your finances better.
How? Here are 4 easy and free steps to make proactive changes for the better.
Utilize Online Bill Pay
Your bank or credit union likely offers an underutilized service in the form of online bill pay. Online bill pay allows you to set up businesses or individuals and have the bank transfer money electronically from your account to the vendor. Need to pay a small, local business or local handyman? The bank will convert your payment to a physical check and send it in the mail for you. You get an estimated time of arrival and confirmation that payment has been initiated.
The more vendors you set up for online bill pay, the fewer checks you need to write. And the easier it will be to pay your bills.
Opt for Digital Billing
Many businesses prefer to send digital invoices to your email or provide notification of billings that you must log in to view. It saves them money, but don't discount the value of digital billings to you. Electronic billings can all be placed in one file, and you may even be able to get automatic reminders if the bill isn't paid on time. Plus, you don't confuse things with multiple old bills.
If possible, use online portals where you receive notification and can log in to check your account. This way, you see your activity and can make sure everything has been paid.
If you do still get paper documents through the mail, physical receipts, or paper forms, you can often scan and digitize them. Unless the document is needed for legal or tax purposes, you may not need to keep the original version. Decide what really needs kept in original form, then scan less important paperwork into a file on your computer or cloud server. You still have the original information for deductions, returns, or bank statements without cluttering your house.
Shred Unneeded Papers
Finally, shred items that you don't need to keep. It can be difficult to get into the habit of shredding documents at home, but it's helpful for many reasons. It protects you and your family from identity theft. It reduces clutter and boost organization. And you can keep multiple digital copies easier than multiple physical copies.
Spending a little time setting up digital options and developing new habits is worth the effort to take a step toward controlling and organizing your financial life. Why not get started today with one positive step?