Want to streamline your financial life? "Automate," says Susan Tiffany, director of consumer periodicals for the Credit Union National Association. "Take the 'I'll get around to it' out of your financial vocabulary."
That can mean direct deposit for your paycheck and a corresponding transfer to your savings account. For bills that never vary, such as mortgage or cable, consider automated online payments through your bank or credit union, she says.
"It just frees you up so much," she says.
You can even set up recurring payments to cover the minimums on credit card bills "so you don't get a late fee," she says. "You may always, at any time, make additional payments, but you'll never have a lost or late payment."