How often have you had to queue up at the post office recently to renew your car tax? How many times do you give up your lunchtime each month to go to the bank? How much do you currently sped on envelopes and stamps to make sure that you can write and send of cheques to pay your bills?
50 years ago, getting bills in the post was a ‘thing’. Hearing the morning thump of that day’s delivery landing on the doormat would herald the start of a day. The post was opened while sat at the breakfast table alongside the morning newspaper. To pay the bills, cheques were written and recorded in the stub on the chequebook.
Technology has completely revolutionised the way in which we carry about our day to day activities and administration. It has had an interesting impact on the way we lead our lives, freeing up time that we might previously spent organising ourselves.
PAYING HOUSEHOLD BILLS
Fifty years ago we were not paying for the internet. We weren’t paying mobile phone bills. We weren’t paying for monthly subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix or BritBox. These days, our lives are run on subscriptions, and the draw on monthly salaries seems to have increased manifold.
Through advances in banking technology, all bills are now paid through direct debit. Utility companies particularly are so keen on having direct debit paying customers that they have better fixed rates if you choose to pay by direct debit (or they did until the recent price hikes, during which discounted rates have been suspended until energy prices have levelled out a bit).
STANDARD LEGAL SERVICES
When you think about completing some standard legal paperwork such as pulling together a contract or writing a will, the you usually automatically think that you need to engage the services of a solicitor and pay out expensive fees. Services would be very much location based, so if you needed a will writing service in Bristol, then you’d pick up the local Yellow Pages and call up the first one that jumped off the page.
Today there are companies who can supply you with the professional skills, knowledge and expertise for standard documentation all carried out online for the fraction of the cost of normal high street solicitors. If your situation is not overly complicated, you could even download a simple template from a reputable online provider and do it yourself.
TAX, MOT AND INSURE CAR
In the past, when that time of year came around to re-tax your car, you had to make sure you had put it through its MOT, then take the MOT certificate, insurance document and car tax document to the post office. At the post office the clerk would check over your paperwork, take payment, and issue you with the a round paper tax disc which you had to display on the left hand corner of your windscreen.
Today, the only physical thing you have to do is take the car for its MOT. Once this has been completed, the garage, DVLA and insurance company are all inter connected and automatically continue to take the payments from your bank. There is nothing more that is needed from you. How easy is that?
KEEPING UP TO DATE WITH TAX AND NATIONAL INSURANCE
It is nigh on impossible to speak to anyone at the tax office these days – through the HMRC Gateway service an individual’s entire life with regards their tax situation is laid out before them – from the age of 16 when they first received their National Insurance number, to their pension receipts at the end of their working life.