How to Digitize Your Finances
From science and medicine to fashion and fitness, technology has woven itself into our day-to-day lives. While many of us trust our computers and mobile devices to handle our communications, store our precious photographs, and schedule important events, there are still very few people who utilize technology to manage their finances.
Whether it’s due to fear of security or simply lack of knowledge about what services are out there, people just don’t seem to be taking advantage of the numerous digital services that strive to make managing money not only easy but fun! With that in mind, I’ve written this guide on how to digitize your finances:
1) Sign Up For Direct Deposit
This might seem like a no brainer, but there are still plenty of people out there who don’t enroll in direct deposit. In fact, about 25% of workers still receive a physical paycheck at the end of each pay period.. Enabling your employer to directly deposit your paycheck into your checking account offers many benefits. You’ll no longer need to worry about lost or stolen checks, you won’t need to make trips to the bank, you can have a portion of your paycheck automatically go into your savings, and a lot of banks offer accounts at a discount when you direct deposit. Speak with your employer to get the details you need to start direct depositing.
2) Automate Your Bills
Never forget to pay your bills again! Most, if not all, credit card companies, insurance agencies, and entertainment services offer automatic billing. Each month, when your payment is due, they’ll automatically deduct what you owe from your bank account. Automating your payments will give you peace of mind and save you time too! If you are worried about over drafting, set a calendar reminder to check your bank account the day before the bill is coming out to ensure you have enough funds to cover it.
3) Digitize Your Budget
People always cringe when I bring up budgeting. Having to sit down, look through your expenses, and figure out how to budget things for yourself can be an incredibly daunting, and admittedly boring, experience. Yet, with digital budgeting services like Mint budgeting has never been easier! Setting up an account only takes minutes and after a few days you can see your spending habits in bright colors and informative graphs. Many of these tools have accompanying mobile apps to allow you to take your budget on the go! Digitizing your budget makes the entire process painless and even fun to follow. Make sure any budgeting website you sign up for is a secure site before signing up and providing your personal information. Check out the budgeting tool I created at www.budgetjewel.com.
4) Investigate Peer to Peer Lending
Peer to peer lending, also known as P2P or “social” lending, essentially lets individuals lend and borrow money directly from one another. P2P lending eliminates the middle man of banks and credit unions, offers higher returns for investors and lower interest rates for borrowers. That said, the risk involved when utilizing a P2P service is much higher than going through your traditional bank. Investigate lending services like Prosper and Zopa and see if investing or borrowing through a P2P service might be beneficial for you.
5) Mobile Phone Access
Whether you’re looking for a way to check your checking account’s balance, see how much you’ve spent this past week on coffee, or pay off your credit card bill, there’s an app for that! Accessing your financial accounts through your phone makes it much easier to stay on top of your spending and savings goals. Many banks and budgeting tools have apps that you can access on the go. Check the app store on your particular phone to see what services are available to you!
When it comes to managing your finances, the simpler the better. If you find yourself struggling to set aside time every week to go over your budget and expenses, automating the process and having everything calculated for you can make staying on top of your money much easier. So do yourself a favor and see if you can use one (or several!) of these handy digital services.