At home, documents can take up much-needed space and cause clutter, and paying bills can suck up your time. It's easy to streamline your home office, though, by creating a paperless document database and bill-paying system. And the payoff is huge—you not only can save money on stamps, envelopes and checks, you can get rid of bulky file cabinets and gain the extra time it takes to organize your papers every month.
- Save the cost of paper billing: If you get 10 bills per month, you can pocket up to $75 a year on stamps and envelopes simply by switching to a Web-based payment method.
- Cut back on trips to the post office and mailbox: Save a few minutes by opening bills immediately from your in-box—plus you can stay in your pajamas a little longer.
- Reduce paper filing: Forget about bulging cabinets and paper disarray. Creating folders and labels on your computer or in a free e-mail account is simple, and the files are easily transferable when it’s time to back up stored information.
- Spend less on checks: Paying bills online can save you about $30 per year in your use of paper checks alone.
- Deter theft: Instead of sitting in your mailbox for anyone to take, your statements will be protected by an e-mail username and password and any additional security measures you put in place on your computer.
- Access information instantly: An e-based storage system keeps all your files in one secure location and allows you to search with the click of a mouse, so you won't have to dig through folders to find a document anymore.
- Gain incentives from top providers and banks: Many companies offer rewards or discounts when you sign up to go paperless—everything from cash back on purchases to an entry in a contest drawing.
- Be environmentally friendly: Go green by reducing the demand for paper and natural resources.
And if you absolutely can't avoid printing, follow these tips to minimize the cost:
- Use the black-and-white or grayscale setting on your printer and you’ll save on paying for pricey color ink.
- Stop printing blank Web pages (and those with only the URL at the top) by choosing which pages you want to print (e.g., 1 to 3).
- If your printer allows it, print on both sides of the paper.
- Use the smallest font that’s still legible.
- Try not to choose thick or bold fonts, which use more ink.