When most people think about improving their finances they think BIG ticket items like saving for retirement, investing, paying cash for a car… things that will take years to accomplish. All of those are very important and great goals, there are also a lot of small ways that add up BIG to help you hit your finances faster. Today I’m sharing 5 things that you can do to improve your finances, 5 things that you can check off your to do list in 1 hour!
Let’s be honest, I know you want to improve your finances quickly and may prefer watching these tips rather than reading them. If that’s the case, click here to watch!
I’m not much of a competitive person but there is not much that motivates me more than a challenge. Whether it be a step challenge when I am trying to get my activity level up or a savings challenge when I am trying to hit a new goal.
Savings challenges are such a great way to mix things up if you are in a rut and not feeling motivated. For me, savings trackers are really motivating but they don’t work for everyone. Here are some creative savings challenges that I bet you’ve never seen before!
If printables are your thing, check out all of my printables here. I’m add new ones weekly!
Shop Around for Insurance & Bills
One of the most mundane tasks I ever have to do is calling the cable company. Who else can relate?
But honestly friends, it can save you some serious money! On one had I get a thrill out of it because I know that we can save money that we can then put towards our goals, but then on the other hand I get so annoyed that we could’ve been saving that money all along.
Most people will go years without shopping around and that can cost us hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars a year. I’ve found some great resources that can save you a boatload of money and all three can be done in under 15 MINUTES!
The first one is BillShark, they will negotiate lower prices on your monthly bills to save you time, money and hassle. There are many areas of your monthly expenses where you may be overspending. If you’re looking to save money and cut down on monthly bills but aren’t ready to give up a Netflix account or lose your unlimited data phone plan, BillShark can help. They go through each of your monthly services to determine where you can save money. Once they find an area where you’re overspending, their team can negotiate lower payments for you, hassle-free.
Internet packages, cable TV, home security services and cell phone plans are just a few of the many bills that American households are commonly overcharged for. If you don’t know the latest rates or don’t have the time to negotiate every fee, you may end up paying hundreds of extra dollars.
Next is Blooom. This one was huge for me. When I first enrolled in my 401(k) at work I didn’t know what I was signing up for. Blooom will go in and find all of the hidden fees to tell you how much you’re losing to hidden investment management fees. They will also analyze your retirement goals by looking at your stock/bond mix. Find out if your investments are too aggressive or conservative.
And lastly is Gabi who will help you save a TON of money on your auto insurance. Everyone likes bargain hunting, but not when it comes to insurance. Going from agency to agency is a hassle, and relying on brokers to find you the best prices from their limited pool of providers is not much better.
Gabi puts this process in a whole new light. Its founders know that customers who want to save money on car insurance want to find the best deals in the least amount of time. With the service’s ability to search through countless policies looking for the best prices, you can do just that.
Evaluate Your Bank
Does your bank offer a good savings rate? For so many years I just thought it was normal to make 0.01% interest on my savings account and be charged fees if I didn’t have the minimum balance in the account.
Those banks are all in my past and I am now a huge fan of online checking and savings accounts. Not only do they have incredible interest rates to help you make money on your money but there are also ZERO fees with CIT Bank. You want your bank to be working for you not charging you money just to hold the account!
Take Advantage of Employee Benefits
So often when we think of employee benefits we only thing of PTO and 401(k) match. I was shocked at how many benefits that my company offered when I was browsing through our intranet one day. I knew about the big ones but they also offered ones like commuter reimbursement which I used when I was taking the train, tuition reimbursement and parking meter discounts. Take a look at your employee handbook to see all of the benefits they offer!
If you struggle with having more money at the end of the month and living in that paycheck to paycheck cycle. Then it’s time to sit down and get on a written budget. I’ve created Spending Analysis templates, Monthly budget templates and annual budget templates to make it so easy for you to just plug in your personal numbers and start hitting your goals.
Setting up a budget is a lot easier than you’d think. Start with writing down your income and expenses. Then subtract your expenses from your income to determine how much discretionary spending you have. Track your spending over the month and any left over money goes to your financial goals. Having a budget is very eye opening and helps to show you easy places that you can cut to help you hit your financial goals faster or break that paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Ways to save money:
Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:
• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
• Rakuten/Ebates: Rakuten is my to go way to earn Cash Back from over 2,500 stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and much more. Join Rakuten today for free, and you’ll get a $10 Cash Bonus to get you started! Every three months, you’ll get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a PayPal payment just for shopping.
• CIT Bank offers high-yield savings accounts that provide a safe, secure way to grow your savings.
• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!
• Honey: Stop wasting money- Honey finds you the Internet’s best discount codes.
• Budget Templates: Excel budget templates with pre-populated categories and formulas to keep you on track with hitting your financial goals.