Are you still using paper for everything from your monthly electric bill to your annual credit report? Paperless personal finances make sense for a number of reasons, including environmental and organizational benefits.
Going paperless saves trees and reduces the amount of paper waste your household generates. It also means keeping potentially sensitive personal information out of your mailbox. Mail theft is one way identity thieves can get their hands on your information. Online activity can actually be much more secure. Just be sure the companies you do business with take security measures like encryption.
Going paperless with your personal finances can also help improve your level of organization. Instead of keeping track of paper statements and bills every month, you can have them e-mailed directly to your inbox and use your home PC’s built-in filing system to organize and store them.
Storing them on your PC also makes sharing information with your accountant fast and easy, and you’ll be able to access your information from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Just be sure to back up your information every day and have your own security measures in place.
Paperless personal finances will also save you money on things like postage, paper, envelopes and printer ink.
Sold on the idea? Here are some of the ways you can go paperless:
- Switch to online banking and request e-statements for all your accounts. Nearly every major bank offers free online banking to account holders. You can see real-time activity on your account, access monthly statements, and even balance your checkbook online.
- Ask your credit card company for e-statements. If you’ve got a card with a balance, consider setting up automatic payments through your bank’s online accounting service. It can help ensure you never miss or are late with a payment, which should be good for your credit score.
- Check with your utilities companies to see if they offer paperless billing and payments.
- Set up online payments with your cellular phone provider and ask for e-statements and billing.
- Request the download option when you access your credit report online. Or, subscribe to a monitoring service that will allow you to receive e-mail updates on your credit accounts.
Paperless personal finances can be a great way to streamline your money management efforts. Just remember to keep security in mind, and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this great technology.