Keep Calm and Automate

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One word sums up why you should set up automatic bill payments and savings: convenience. And who doesn’t like things, like paying the electric bill, to be convenient? People who panic. Turns out, there is a surprising number of panickers out there who either don’t mind cyclical bouts of terror or don’t know any better.

If this has ever happened to you…

Gasp! Oh, no…I forgot to pay my [insert panic] bill!”

…snap out of it!

Trust the system.Use the system. It will make your life easier, save you from undue hassles and fees, and take the guesswork out of your bank-account balance.

Let’s walk through the basics of automating your bank account.

Step 1. Going paperless (a.k.a., making online bill payments) is usually free. The first step is to coordinate payments between your financial institution and service providers.

Step 2. If the beginning of the month is tight for you, stagger the traffic in and out of your bank account by adjusting your payment cycles.

Step 3. Chances are your bank and service providers will send you an email alert or text to let you know a payment is due or being processed. To make sure you’re always a step ahead, set up calendar alerts on your end, as well.

Step 4. Remember that you still need to remain on guard. Don’t forget to take a close look at your bills as they come in electronically. Between the tally and bottom line are opportunities to save or cut back where you can.

The point is, paying bills and saving automatically will help keep you from incurring fees. It will also save you from temptation. After all, you can’t spend what’s already been paid.