Tips of the day: Stop money from leaking out of your budget
Every household has financial leaks -- the surprising ways in which money escapes. Find out how to plug them up. -- From CNN.com
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The leak: Paying bills by snail mail.
The fix: The average household receives about 15 bills a month. With stamps now at 42 cents each, you spend about $76 a year just on postage -- and don't forget the late fees if your checks get lost in the mail.
Save time and money by signing up with the billers' customer-service departments to have your bills paid by credit card or automatic debit; payments will be documented on your monthly bank statement. If you want more control, almost all major banks offer free online bill payment, which lets you schedule payments in advance.