If You’re Over 35, Here Are 10 Things You Have to Do With Your Money
You know your finances could use some serious TLC, but you’ve been putting it off… and off… and off.
When you finally do sit down to think about it, you immediately become overwhelmed. Which goal do you attack first? You need a budget, a savings plan, a debt-repayment strategy, a better credit score, a plan for retirement and… oh, you’re running away again, aren’t you?
Calm down and come back. To tackle big goals, you have to start small.
Simple Money Management Steps to Take Today
Here are a few simple tips you can take today to get your finances under control and start working toward a healthier financial future!
1. Turn Those Crumpled Receipts Into Free Gift Cards
What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to get a bonus towards your first gift card.
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
2. See If There Are Any Errors on Your Credit Report
You might not think your credit score is that important. In fact, you might not think much about it at all. But what happens when you want to buy a car? Or a house? Unfortunately, those three little numbers play a huge role in whether you’ll be able to do that.
And if you have an error on your credit report (one out of five reports do), that could stand in your way.
Thankfully, a website called Credit Sesame will help you detect any errors — for free. If you find any, it will even help you dispute them.
Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report this way. Using Credit Sesame, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.
Now she and her husband feel like they’re in a better position for their biggest goal — purchasing a house.
Want to check for yourself? It only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
3. Leave Your Family $1 Million in Life Insurance for Just $5/Month
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? Chances are your checking account balance won’t last forever.
Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you could leave your family $1 million by spending $5 a month on life insurance with a company called Bestow.
You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
4. Buy Envelopes
Buy a box of envelopes. Now stuff some cash inside each one.
OK, so it’s not that simple but the envelope budgeting method, popularized by Dave Ramsey, helps folks who tend to overspend. Each month or each pay period, take out a chunk of money. Now divide that money up: groceries, dining out, personal care, etc. Then, stuff each envelope with your spending limit.
This budgeting method helps you be more mindful of your spending and keeps you above the red. Money management made simple.
5. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All of it. All that debt racked up from the 300 destination weddings your friends made you attend (thanks!) could be paid by the end of this month.
Your credit card company is ripping you off with insane rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But there are other, nicer companies that’ll help you out, including a website like Upstart.
Here’s how it works: Upstart will loan you up to $50,000 so that you can cover your credit card tab. Use that loan to pay off your debt, then make monthly payments to repay the loan. It could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
Upstart won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness (though it does require a 620 credit score).
Now you can finally stop holding a grudge against that friend who thought a Mexico wedding was a good idea.
6. Quit Your Job --- Do This Instead
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.
And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part-time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
Robinson shares what it takes to be a virtual bookkeeper, plus tips for making this career work for you in a free class which you can sign up for here.
7. Invest 15 Cents Into the Stock Market
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking: 15 cents? How’s that going to do me any good?
Well, that leftover change from your morning coffee and evening grocery hauls could turn into more than $1,000.
That’s what happened when Penny Hoarder reader Jeremy Kolodziej opened an investment account with Acorns. The app’s round-up feature bumps each of your purchases up to the nearest dollar and puts the spare change into the stock market, which helped him mindlessly save $1,076 in about 20 months.
“It’s a virtual coin jar,” he says. “You don’t even think about it.” He used the spare change to pay for two vacations.
Plus, Acorns invested the money for him, allowing him to grow his savings — without studying stock prices or managing trades.
The app is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.
8. Grow Your Money 31x Faster — Without Risky Investments
Yeah, you’ve heard this before. What usually comes next? A four-hour timeshare presentation. (No, seriously, it pays for itself!)
But there’s a legitimate way to grow your money a lot faster than the average person — with no risk.
It’s with a mobile banking app called Varo. The FDIC reports that the average savings account pays a paltry .09% APY*, but when you open an online checking and savings account with Varo, it will pay you up to 31 times that amount on your savings account.
We know opening a new bank account isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun, but Varo makes it easy. You can open an account with just a penny, and more than 750,000 people have already signed up.
Oh, and there are no monthly fees.
So forget that killer stock tip from your uncle — you’re set.
9. Ask Your HR Department These Questions
Got a new job? Here’s what to do next: Enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan ASAP so you can start saving for retirement. And yes, it fits in your budget!
As much as you want to be prepared for present-day responsibilities, the last thing you want is to leave old(er), future-you with bills, bills, bills and more bills.
If your employer sponsors a 401(k) plan, you should have access to people who can answer questions in your best interest — AKA HR.
And you’re going to have questions, because, well… 401(k)’s are tricky. To get the most out of your plan, here are some important questions to ask to ensure you’re putting your retirement savings in the best possible hands:
- Does your employer match?
- Where is your money invested?
- Can you rollover from your existing 401(k)?
- What fees are you paying?
- What can you do if your plan sucks?
10. Save up to $865 a Year on Car Insurance — for the Same Coverage
When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago?
If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.
Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either.
A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $865 a year.
You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s licence, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.
Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.
*Like Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.