Automating our Finances

At long last, I finally feel as if I’ve gotten back on top of our finances after an unbelievably busy summer. In addition to the move, our banking changeover, and my new job, my laptop went down early this summer and I lost my copy of Quicken. It wasn’t catastrophic — I had all the data backed up — but after I got my laptop back from the service center, I was unable to find the Quicken install disc and so I promptly began falling farther and farther behind on record keeping.

By the time I was able to get Quicken re-installed and spend the necessary time updating it, three months had passed. Aaargh! For an obsessive compulsive checkbook balancer like me, catching up was a major project. But now that I’m back on top of things, I’ve been able to focus on getting in the groove when it comes to online banking, bill payment, etc. No more close calls for us!

I’ve now requested eBills for every company that offers them, and have set up automatic payments for everything, including our electric bill, phone bill, Dish Network bill, and mortgage – in fact, I even automated our mortgage pre-payments so we can knock it out early. I’ve also ratcheted up our automatic investments in accordance with our increased income.

Now, with any luck, I’ll be able to keep up with it all from here on out. And if not, I just need to be sure that we have enough money in our checking account to keep us from bouncing the payments. 😉

5 Responses to “Automating our Finances”

  1. Anonymous

    I think there are definitely benefits to automated bill paying: save stamps, no worrying about late bills, etc. However, I got burned once by paying a bill online. I used my bank’s free bill payment system to pay a bill on a storage unit. The system didn’t pay the bill on time, so I ended up having to cut a regular check for it. All the while, the bank’s system had my money in it’s account, not mine. After about 45 days, the system finally sent a check to the storage company, thus paying the bill TWICE. It all worked out, but I don’t generally pay bills online any more, especially via an automatic system.

  2. Anonymous

    When you get into a pattern of keeping track of finances and it goes out of sorts for whatever reason, I usually get a bit panicky about where they are even if I know they are fine. Good to hear things are back in order.

  3. Anonymous

    In the words of Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify”.

    I have my mortage, home equity loan, car payment, and a 2 year “same as cash” loan set up for automatic payments (“pushes” from my bank billpay system). For all if these, I very carefully check to make sure that payments are posted, sometimes logging onto their respective websites to make sure everything is credited on their end.

    My biggest online banking blunder…I once had a Sprint cell phone bill of something like $36.25. When I entered it, I omitted the decimal point and paid them $3625. Oops! I got my money back maybe a week later.

  4. Anonymous

    The only bills that I automate are ones that do not change from month to month, such as my student loans bill. Everything else I manually pay or schedule a month in advance.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m too paranoid to automate our utility bill payments because we once had an instance of a major miscalculation in our bill.. as in, they incorrectly added hundreds of dollars to a bill which is normally $30. Had that bill been automated, I may not have seen the amount until it was paid, and that’s assuming I had enough in my checking account at the time to cover the bill.

    I do pay everything through my bank’s BillPay system, but I double-check every last charge each time to make sure they’re not cheating me. Yeah, I’m probably a little too paranoid, but that’s because everyone is always out to get me!

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