Automate Your Home Expenses and Never Worry About Missing a Payment Again

In this day and age, there’s no reason to have to worry about forgetting to pay your bills on time. There’s also no reason to have to write a check or even log into a website each month to pay your bills.

Using a combination of digital tools, it’s possible to fully automate your bill-paying process so that you can spend less of your free time trying to remember your passwords and entering debit card numbers and more time doing the things that make you happy.

Benefits of auto-pay

There are plenty of reasons to automate your household bills. More free time and less time stressing about money are two of them. But, did you know that automation can also be a great way to help you boost your credit score?

Late payments on mortgages, student loans, utilities, internet, and cable bills can all negatively affect your credit score. By setting up auto-pay, you can make sure you make your payments on-time, helping to build your credit.

Another huge benefit of bill automation is that you can actually earn money and other rewards by making on-time payments.

For example, setting up your bills and utilities to charge to a credit card with cash back rewards can help you earn money by paying your bills. The one caveat is that you need to make sure you pay off your credit card balance in full each month. How do you do that? With auto-pay!

Where to automate

As I mentioned before, many monthly bills can be charged to a credit card which you can use to earn rewards. However, you won’t be able to use a credit card for all of your bills. Mortgage payments, student loans, auto loans, and oftentimes utility companies will require a checking or savings account with a routing number.

In these cases, it’s still possible to set up auto-pay through either the company’s website, or through your bank’s bill-pay feature.

Need help with a list of things you could be automating? Consider setting up auto-pay or bill-pay for these services:

  • Cable

  • Internet

  • Cell phone

  • Electricity

  • Entertainment (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Spotify, etc.)

  • Rent

  • Mortgage

  • Student Loans

  • Insurance

Automation of the future

So, we’ve covered some of the most common ways to automate your home expenses. However, recent technologies are making it even easier to run your home and keep up with the bills.

One new innovation is Amazon’s Dash button. This service enables you to just tap a button on your smartphone or tablet whenever you need to order new pantry items for the home. Alternatively, you can subscribe for common household goods like cleaning productions, paper towels, and dish soap so that you never run out. And, with Amazon Prime, you don’t have to worry about shipping costs.

Between home automation and auto-pay, you should be able to make your home significantly easier to manage and reduce the amount of stress related to paying the bills.

Four Strategies for Saving Money

When you stop and think about it, there are quite a few money-saving opportunities out there that you may not be taking advantage of.

Here are a few ideas worth considering:

  • Automobile Insurance: If you haven’t touched base with your insurance agent in a few years, it might pay to call or email them to review your policy. Until you ask, you never know what kind of insurance discounts you may be eligible for. For example, savings can often be obtained by taking a defensive drivers’ course, purchasing your automobile and homeowners’ insurance from one agency, commuting a shorter distance to work or telecommuting, or simply having a safe driving record. In some cases, you could save a chunk of money by shopping around and switching to a less expensive insurance provider.
  • Cell phone services: Make sure the cell phone service plan you have is competitive and geared to your needs and data usage patterns. With at least four major service providers to choose from (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile), it make sense to do some comparative research to make informed choices regarding prices, features, time commitments, and services. Checking out online reviews and comparing notes with friends, family, and coworkers about cell phone services can also help you save money.
  • Credit cards: If you’re like many people, you probably get inundated with credit card offers, every week. Since it’s such a competitive industry, some credit card offers are clearly better than others. While the most prudent approach is to limit your credit card use as much as possible, it also makes sense to seek out the best deals, the lowest interest rates, and the most favorable terms. Assuming your credit card payments are up to date and you’ve maintained a good credit history, it’s often possible to negotiate a lower interest rate on your current credit cards, too. That alone could make it easier to pay off your balance and save money.
  • Contractors: Whether you’re considering remodeling your bathroom, replacing your roof, updating your kitchen, painting or re-siding your house, waterproofing your basement, or building a backyard deck, prices can vary widely from one contractor to the next. While it’s important to hire a contractor who’s experienced, honest, insured, easy to work with, and dependable, there’s no reason to pay exorbitant prices for good quality work. Getting at least three price estimates on projects around the house is generally a good way to ensure you’re not getting overcharged. Online reviews and personal recommendations from relatives, friends, and neighbors can often point you in the direction of a good residential contractor.

One of the most important principles of smart money management is to make sure you’re getting the most value for your dollar. As a consumer, you entitled to shop around, get the best deal, and be satisfied with the quality of products and services you’re purchasing.

New Home, New Budget: Here’s What You Need To Know

Buying a home is a big change. New surroundings, new town and sometimes even a new state. And these things take time to get used to.

But there’s one thing you want to adjust to as quickly as possible – your new budget.

You already know that with a move comes lots of expenses and fees. However, there are a lot of long-term changes you might not realize to take into consideration until they show up in your mailbox.

One is your mortgage payment over the years. Okay, I know you know that your mortgage payment has changed. But what you should consider is how to plan to make that payment each and every month. Sometimes life happens and we don’t have a great month and sometimes we have a string of not so good months. It’s best to come up with a plan now to prepare yourself if anything should happen

It’s recommended to keep three months worth of living expenses saved and put to the side for emergencies. Perhaps you already have money set aside and need to increase this amount to reflect your new lifestyle. And if you don’t have any set-aside, it’s wise to start a savings plan now. Even if you are only able to put aside a small amount each month, your total will grow over time as you stick to the plan.

Home insurance, property taxes, and homeowner association fees/dues. If this is your first time owning a home these will all be new expenses for you and ones you don’t want to catch you by surprise. And if it’s not they are certain expenses you will need to account for. Be sure to add these to your budgeting software of choice ASAP.

Seasonal budget changes. Throughout the seasons you may find significant changes to your expenses. If you have moved to a larger home you will probably find you have higher utility bills, especially in those months where you need to run the furnace or A.C. However, there are also yard maintenance costs to take into consideration. Does your new home have a pool, lots of landscaping or a snowy climate? Ease upfront costs by estimating expenses and create an account to put money aside each month to spread these costs throughout the year.

Another account to consider building up throughout the year is for emergency repairs and renovation projects. Replacing appliances, a roof, porch or pool lining are not expenses we typically expect and can easily shell out for. At least, not without some planning ahead of time. Setting up an account to add money to each month for these specific costs can help ease your mind and feel on top of things.

3 Tips for a Seamless Moving Day

If you recently bought or sold or home, it may be only a matter of time before you need to move into a new residence.

The stress of getting ready for moving day can be overwhelming, particularly for those who have lots of items to pack but only a limited amount of time to do so.

Lucky for you, we’re here to ensure you can enjoy a seamless moving day.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you prepare for moving day.

1. Begin Packing Up Your Belongings ASAP

Start packing today, and you’ll be able to get your belongings ready for moving day. /p>

Categorizing your moving boxes usually is a great idea. For example, placing kitchen items together may make it easier for you to unpack all of your kitchen belongings at once when you arrive at your new address.

Don’t forget to declutter while you pack as well. If you find there are items that you no longer need, you may be able to sell them or donate them to charity before moving day arrives.

In addition, if you need a moving truck to transport your belongings from one location to the next, you should make reservations as soon as you can. The longer you wait to book a moving truck, the less likely it becomes that one will be available for your upcoming move.

2. Cancel Your TV, Internet and Phone Services

As moving day approaches, it can be easy to forget to cancel various services at your present home. However, if you contact your TV, internet and phone services providers today, you won’t have to worry about canceling these services on moving day.

In many instances, you may be able to transfer your TV, internet and phone services to your new address. Your services providers will be able to provide full details about all of your options so you can plan accordingly.

Reach out to your utilities providers and other services providers to inform them about your upcoming move too. You also should fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service to ensure your mail goes to your new address after moving day.

3. Conduct a Final Walk-Through of Your Current Residence

Before you leave your current location, be sure to complete a final walk-through of your residence. This will allow you to locate any missing items and bring them with you to your new address.

Getting ready for moving day often requires hard work and patience. And if you need extra assistance along the way, your real estate agent may be able to lend a helping hand.

Your real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands exactly what it takes to buy or sell a residence. He or she is happy to provide support at each stage of the homebuying or home selling cycle and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly move from one home to another.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble prepping for moving day.