Managing your finances has never been easier. You can automate almost everything, from having your bills paid on time to building up your savings each month. But while the “set it and forget it” approach can be a great time-saver, you don’t want to completely forget about your finances.
You schedule a yearly physical to make sure you’re healthy. When was the last time you thought about how you were using your bank accounts? When it comes to managing a checking account, it pays to give your finances an annual tune-up – sometimes literally. Set aside a few minutes to follow these 4 tips for how to manage a checking account effectively this year.
#1: Automating your finances
We’re not saying automation is all bad! Using automatic savings can be a great way to build up your account over time. But are your finances exactly the same as they were last year? Probably not. It might make sense to change the timing, frequency, or amount of your transfers from checking to savings. Ask yourself these questions to see if you should change your automatic savings:
- Did your income level change at all?
- Do you get paid on the same day of the week?
- Do you get paid as often?
- Were you manually moving money to your savings account throughout the month in addition to your existing AutoSave contributions?
- Did you ever have to move money back from savings to checking to cover expenses?
- Are you changing your budget this year?
- Have your savings goals changed?
These questions about how to automate your finances might remind you about other important items to check too!
#2: Avoiding account fees
One great thing about having online banking is the ability to see a year’s worth of finances quickly. Go through your account history and see if you were hit with any fees last year. What were they for? In addition to making you more aware of ways to avoid fees, you can proactively set yourself up for success. Some monthly maintenance fees can be avoided by making regular transactions, so you can set up an automatic transfer each month or a direct deposit to meet the requirement. If your account has a balance requirement, or if you overdrafted your account (those fees can add up fast!) set up a text or email alert if your account drops below a certain threshold.
Here’s another checking account tip to help you automate your finances! Open any new credit cards last year, or add a streaming service? If your bills couldn’t be set up for automatic payment last year, BillPay could be available now. Save yourself time each month and make sure that any bills that can be automatically paid are set up properly.
#4: Compare your options
What account you use is pretty fundamental, but there’s a reason we put this checking account tip last. You’ve reacquainted yourself with your current account’s features and its fees, do you think it’s still the right checking account for you? Now is a great time to see what else is out there. Maybe you could find an account that makes it easier to avoid fees, or maybe you’re eligible for an account you weren’t previously qualified for. Take the time to compare checking accounts to ensure that you’re using the right account (and bank) for your money and lifestyle.