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For many people, the thought of saving money brings an image of a piggy bank to mind. While saving your cash at home can be a wise thing to do, if you want to be sure that your money is safe and easy to access, a bank account is a better bet for you in the long run. In addition to keeping your money safe and insured (the federal government insures all deposit accounts up to $250,000) so that you don’t have to worry about your money being stolen or misplaced, a bank account can also offer other perks that can make managing your finances and life much simpler.

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The Option Of Direct Deposit

More than half of Americans are now paid through direct deposit — where their company wires their paycheck into their bank account instead of distributing paper checks that need to be taken to be cashed or deposited. Without a bank account, it’s impossible to participate in this time-saving opportunity. Not only are you certain that your money is in your account on payday, but you have one less trip to make to access your funds.

Automatic Bill Payments

With a bank account, you can also set up automatic transactions for your expenses. If you have a monthly bill for utilities, rent, cell phone service or anything else, it’s likely that you’re able to set up automatic payments to the companies. This way, you never have to worry about paying late fees because you forgot or having your service discontinued.

Features For Easy Tracking

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Modern technology has also made having a bank account an easy way to keep track of your financial state. With a bank account, you can check your balance at an ATM or even on a mobile app for most large banks. Technology also has allowed for you to set up alerts to remind you of upcoming transactions, warn you if the balance in your account has dropped below a certain level, send notifications for successful bill payments and much more. Budgeting and money management is much simpler when there’s one central place like a bank account that all of your funds are passing through.

Online Purchases

One of the biggest things that a bank account — with a corresponding debit or credit card — allows you to do that you simply can’t with cash is shopping online. This can also help save money in the long run if you’re able to find cheaper prices than in your local stores. Just don’t take the ease of online shopping to an extreme and buy more than you need!

Financial Tracking

Each purchase, expenditure and deposit will be closely tracked for your viewing, making it easy to lay out and assess your spending and living habits. Once you are able to see each recurring cost, new cost, etc. laid out week-to-week and month-to-month, you will be able to find places where you can cut down on living expenses and save yourself some money. Sit down with your monthly statement and get a better idea of your spending habits and where they can be changed to save yourself more money for the long-term. Whether it’s recognizing the frequency with which you eat out, or deciding to cut out that monthly bill for Amazon services you never use, this is a good way to establish where you are and where you want to be in your monthly spending.

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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