Step back and size up the clutter. A lot of those piles sitting in front of you are wholly unnecessary in our cyberfriendly world. You can receive bills electronically via your bank or credit union's website—it should be free (if not, consider switching banks)—and with just a few clicks you can authorize direct e-payments from your checking account.

Bye-bye, (manual) checkbook balancing. Moving monthly bill paying online will help you stay on top of your income and outgo because all debits and credits are tracked for you; no input necessary. You can also set up e-mail alerts to remind you when you need to log on and take care of business, or create ongoing automatic monthly transfers (so you'll never forget to pay a bill again!).

Take proper caution. Worried about cybersafety? Just make sure to use a password-protected secure network when logging onto your account; that means no bill paying from public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Clutter be gone. Since most statements are readily available via the Web, you don't have to obsess about keeping records at home. For example, because you can see your annual benefits estimate from the Social Security Administration online, you can toss paper statements from years past and even the current one once you verify it's up-to-date. (Go to and click on Estimate Your Retirement Benefits.)

Next: More ways to go green
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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