At work, you might have the option of directly depositing your paycheck into your bank account. You might also have ignored that option for years, thinking that you don't need it. If so, think again:

  • Having your check deposited directly saves you the trouble of going to the bank and standing in line.
  • It's safer, too; your check won't get lost in the mail, or in your house, or in a windstorm.
  • You'll often receive the money faster this way, too, since you won't have to wait for the check to clear.
  • Direct deposit often qualifies you for other benefits, such as free checking in your account, or a lower minimum balance. Ask your bank about it.

Once you've automated your deposits, consider saving even more money by doing likewise to your payments. As the price of postage goes up, so does the savings value of paying your bills online. If you pay a dozen different bills each month, and stick a $0.39 stamp onto each payment, that's $4.68 per month, or $56.16 per year. Over the next decade, you'll likely pay more than $500 -- and perhaps even $750 or more -- in postage for the privilege of paying bills. Is that really the best use of your money? (Don't forget the cost of your checks, either; most banks won't give them to you for free.)

The rise of electronic payments makes excellent food for thought for investors, too. If most of the nation switches over to electronic payments, certain companies stand to benefit considerably -- including utilities and other companies that spend a lot of time processing checks.

You'll find more tips on simplifying your finances here:

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. National Grid is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a full disclosure policy.