Automated And It Feels So Good

I’ve always resisted fully automating our finances.  Recently, however, I’ve had a change of heart.  Now, not only are most of our monthly bills paid online, but I’ve also automated deposits for savings, and payments towards our mortgage.

We have a power bill, a telephone bill, a satellite bill, and a cellphone bill.  Each of these is delivered electronically, via email.  The only “paper” bill that we receive is the one from our local water department.  With online and instant access to our accounts, it’s extremely easy to pay bills, check current balances, and keep things organized.  As the bills arrive in my inbox, I look them over, make sure that everything looks to be in order, and make payments via online bill pay.

Our bank allows us to not only pay bills via bill pay, but to receive them as well.  I recently used this service to automate the payment of our various automobile and life insurance payments.  Using this e-bill service, I never have to worry about stamps, envelopes, late fees, or due dates.  The bill arrives and it gets paid.  I also have the option to delay payment for a few days, so that I can review a particular invoice or bill.

I’ve even automated, through the bank’s bill pay feature, weekly payments for various services, like child care and kids’ gymnastics.  The checks are mailed directly and I never have to worry about remembering the checkbook.

Our cash reserves, somewhat depleted by the recent home purchase, are being rebuilt, one automated weekly deposit at a time.  Each week, a fixed amount is withdrawn from our primary checking and deposited, automatically, into our online savings account.  This “set it – and forget it” system really is a great way to rebuild savings.

The payments and deposits are all controlled by me, via online banking.  In other words, I haven’t given “pull” authority to any of the companies with which I do business.  My payments aren’t automatically deducted – but they are automatically sent.  I can cancel them, review them, or change them, any time I want.  I am in control.

6 thoughts on “Automated And It Feels So Good

  1. I did the same thing with ING about a year ago and it’s great. I can see all my upcoming payments and reschedule them or adjust the payment amount.

    You seem to be against deducted payments — I don’t like them either. Would you be willing to let a company deduct payments from your account if it meant a better price?

    Our student loans give us a .5% interest rate deduction if we use automatic withdrawal. We did take the bait, and are using auto withdrawal for the minimum amount while continuing to use automatic scheduled payments to pay the extra.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  2. I’m a big fan of automated stuff, although I don’t use bill pay to do it. I have a more scattershot approach, but it works for me. Some things are paid automaticall from checking and others are automatically charged to my AMEX, which I then have automatically paid from checking.

  3. I automate as much as possible! Make the right, responsible decision and make it once.

  4. Automation rules. I’ve found that the more I automate things in my life (beyond finances, even) the more free “brain cycles” I have to ponder more important things!

  5. In 2009 I decided to automate as much as I good. I did so in a similar fashion to you. My motivation was that I got tired of entering the same bills for the same amount every month. I hope for the day that everything will go off without a glitch each payday.

  6. I am really surprised that NCN has only recently jumped on the automation bandwagon….but I guess after all you went through you were still clinging on the control issue.

    I have been automated for a while now and since I use ING I can push the payment to the creditors and bills instead of having them pull from my account. I do not like the idea of them having the access to withdraw at any time because I have seen too many cases of double withdrawals that throw everything out of balance.

    Welcome to the automated world NCN. I know you will still check everything….but you no longer have to ‘do’ anything.

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