7 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Going Digital

I’m always looking for new ways to simplify my financial life. Thankfully with technology on the rise, it’s easier than ever to save money and time by going digital.

Even small businesses and freelancers can use technology to their advantage, with social media, email correspondence and more.

Besides, who doesn’t want to simplify their life and spend more time doing things they actually like? Here are 7 strategies you can use to save both time and money by going digital.

1. Use Mobile Apps for Investing

Since getting completely out of debt, I’ve focused the majority of my energy into building up a larger emergency fund and maxing out my Roth IRA. And with the help of online brokerage firms and mobile apps, investing is becoming increasingly easier – especially for a novice like me.

With apps like Betterment, you can easily put your investing strategy on auto-pilot while still checking the progress regularly. You can even use sites like Bullion Vault to check gold and silver prices on the go, and look at your investments online anytime with their mobile app.

2. Switch to Online Banking

The future of banking is rapidly heading towards instant access, digital accounts and exclusively banking online. And while using an online bank isn’t for everyone, for me it’s the perfect solution.

Not only can you take advantage of things like direct deposits and instant transfers to get your money right when you need it, you will streamline your life by not having to see a bank teller anymore.

When was the last time you went inside an actual bank? Exactly!

And if you did recently, you probably had to stand in line for awhile, waiting to speak to someone. Switching to an online bank will save you this hassle and increase your productivity.

3. Enroll in Automatic Payments

Many banks, loan companies and even some mobile apps, provide the option to pay your bills automatically directly from your bank account, debit or credit card. You can simplify your life by having your payment automatically deducted from your account on the same date of every month.

This ensures your bills are never paid late, saving you money on late fees and interest charges. Plus you can avoid the headache of getting paper bills, multiple payment dates and bill reminders.

4. Buy Ebooks and Digital Products

One of my favorite tips for organizing my life is to purchase ebooks and digital products. It’s so easy and much more convenient to carry around books and information right on your iPad, ereader or laptop. Ecommerce is changing the way small businesses and online entrepreneurs can make money, and I am a big fan.

Not only will you have more room in your office or library, but you can essentially pack an unlimited supply of books any where you go. I even started subscribing to some of my favorite magazines digitally, which eliminates a lot of excess mail and stacks of paper lying around.

5. Consolidate Your Bank Accounts

How many bank accounts do you have? If you’re anything like me, you probably have at least two checking accounts, multiple savings accounts and several investing accounts. All of which are probably at different banks.

Even for a bookkeeper like me, it can be difficult to properly keep track of all the incoming transactions for each account. So take a moment to evaluate your accounts and eliminate the ones that aren’t necessary. You want to keep everything as streamlined and as simple as possible and consolidating your bank accounts help achieve this.

6. Clean Out Your Wallet

Along with spring cleaning your finances, it’s important to clean out your wallet regularly too. This will help you keep track of any coupons, rebates and other money saving things like surveys and discounts.

You’ll also be less likely to miss important rebates and sales – which means more money in your pocket to spend on other fun things.

You can even take it a step further and simplify your life even more by eliminating your wallet all together. With places like Starbucks accepting mobile payments and Google Wallet becoming widely accepted, physical wallets are needed less and less.

7. Eliminate Paperwork

One of the most annoying things in life, are all the little white pieces of paper and receipts that end up everywhere. I don’t know where I’d be without all the apps available to help simplify our lives.

Whether it’s capturing photos of receipts, billing invoices to freelance clients or signing a document without having to print it out, there’s an app for just about every type of paperwork. Using apps and scanners to save your files and papers digitally, will save hours of time during tax season and help you get the maximum deductions you qualify for.

What’s one way you’ve gone digital to save time or money? How do you use technology to make your life easier?

Monthly Progress Report: Secret Project Edition
How to Conquer Financial Obstacles and Anything Else Life Throws at You
About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and editor behind Careful Cents. She helps creative entrepreneurs make a living with their creations, and reach financial freedom through systems and financial organization. She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Kiplinger Finance and several other business websites. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @carefulcents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jordann August 28, 2012, 11:59 am

    The biggest thing for me is on-line shopping. With the closest city about half an hour away, I’ve become a huge fan of on-line shopping. Instead of wasting a minimum of two hours travelling and shopping, I place my order quickly on-line and get back to my day. Easy!

    • Carrie Smith August 28, 2012, 4:00 pm

      That’s an awesome tip! I prefer to do my shopping online as well. Especially for books, shoes and accessories. I have a harder time shopping online for clothes since I prefer to try them on first. But for everything else, it’s a lot easier.

  • Amelia Barney August 28, 2012, 12:57 pm

    Isn’t this technology great! Makes life so much easier. I agree with you about getting you bills paid automatically each month not only helps you not get any late payment but will definitely be good for your credit rating.

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses August 28, 2012, 2:15 pm

    I honestly can’t even imagine what my life would be without online banking. How the hell did people keep track of everything with paper? It just seems like so much work and so much room for error!

    • Carrie Smith August 28, 2012, 3:59 pm

      I agree! I’m so thankful for online banking and all the paperless options that technology brings. It’s awesome!

  • Modest Money August 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

    For me it’s mostly been online banking and automatic bill payments. It seems like I’ve always had online banking. I can barely remember the days when I would get a statement in the mail detailing all of my transactions. These days I always know how much I have in the bank and can easily move stuff around. I do still have to go into the bank to deposit my US currency checks though. I guess I could avoid that part with a smart phone and an online bank, but my current bank treats me too well to switch.

  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 28, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I can’t even remember not having online banking. It makes my life so much easier, as do online bill pay and e-statements. Ooooh, another thing I love is CheckMate from ING, I can use my iPad to take a picture of a check and deposit into my account—how awesome is that!

    I actually bought the iPad to help me go paperless and simplify my life, but it takes so long to find the right apps and figure out everything. So, I’m not there yet, but will eventually get there.

    I’m also loving Evernote and DropBox. :-)

    • Carrie Smith August 29, 2012, 11:32 am

      Same here Jen! I would be lost without online banking and estatements. I use my mobile app version of my bank and budget software more than I actually use the website :)

      DropBox is the latest thing I’m obsessed with. Especially as a blogger it makes my life so much easier!

  • AverageJoe August 28, 2012, 7:37 pm

    I have tons of apps, but believe it or not, I haven’t yet added the app for my brokerage accounts to my phone. There’s something about letting it go…I know I’d just check it all the time. I use that weather.com app WAY too much when I’m just out on the town. I’d do the same with my portfolio, and annoy my family even more. BUT I totally need Google Wallet and that digital organizer app.

  • Robb August 29, 2012, 1:39 am

    I actually ditched my wallet entirely in favor of a money clip because it keeps me from carrying too much junk around. Plus sitting on a large wallet will mess up your back after a while.
    It’s funny you mentioned ebooks because I’m embracing them – but with some reluctance because I just like the physical medium of a book so much. At the same time though as things stand now I have 2 book shelves full of books and moving all of them is seriously taxing on one’s sanity – especially since I’ve had to do it twice in less than 2 years. I never get rid of books because sometimes I will read them more than once and I have several – like Freakonomics that are really worn out, a problem you obviously don’t have with ebooks. Over the last year almost all the books I’ve bought have been ebooks so I’m getting there :)
    I’m curious, what ebook platform do you use? I started out using the nook, but I question what kind of future Barnes & Noble has so I ended up shifting over the Kindle. Funny thing is I have a nook Color I hacked and put Cyanogen on so I can use both the nook app and the Kindle app on there.

    • Carrie Smith August 29, 2012, 11:30 am

      Having a money clip is something my dad has always used too. I don’t know how guys carry around those big bulging wallets. Not only does it wear out their pants, it’s got to be uncomfortable.

      I still have a HUGE amount of love for physical books. But sad to say I’m running out of room because I don’t get rid of them either. I mostly use ebooks for learning/researching since I can reference them easy and on the go (mostly for my freelance biz stuff). And I read physical books for fun, inspiration or just because.

      The most common ebook platform I use is PDF through iBooks on my iPad. I also have the Kindle app on my iPad for purchasing through the Kindle store on Amazon.

  • Ornella @ Moneylicious August 29, 2012, 10:49 am

    I’ve definitely placed my finance on automatiation.. Makes life easier!

  • Jeffrey Trull August 29, 2012, 12:35 pm

    This is what I love to do for just about everything financial! Being a bit of a nomad now, it really does make life so much simpler.

    I literally track every single account in Mint, and it’s hard to imagine life without all my accounts being in one place!

    I’m increasingly curious about these alternative ways to pay for stuff. I’ve heard some talk about LevelUp, but can’t say I know much about it yet.

  • Karen August 29, 2012, 12:48 pm

    i love paying everything online. I just still get doctor’s bills and other random bills by snail mail. I love the clean out your wallet tip too.

  • Jana @ Daily Money Shot August 29, 2012, 7:13 pm

    Carrie, you read my mind with this post. I can’t believe how much easier my life is now that I’ve started digitizing as much as possible. I once thought I didn’t need a smartphone. Now I realize how much easier and simpler (and lighter) my life is with one.

    • Carrie Smith September 1, 2012, 7:56 pm

      I don’t know what I’d do without my smartphone either! I do everything from scanning documents to booking hotels to balancing my checkbook. It’s amazing what the benefits technology brings these days.

  • Miss T August 31, 2012, 2:05 pm

    We do all of these things and it sure helps to keep us organized. What I really like is how handy this is when you travel. We typically go away for long periods of time so it is really handy to be able to access things online when we are out of country.

    • Carrie Smith September 1, 2012, 7:55 pm

      That’s a very good point! It’s much easier to keep everything digital if you’re traveling or have an office on the go.