5 Signs the Way You’re Handling Your Money is Outdated (and Costing You)
Here we are in a brand new decade. The 2020s! Doesn’t that sound like such a cool, rad, futuristic time? Where are our flying cars and robot butlers, anyway?
Seriously, though: The future is now. Things are changing fast. So incredibly fast. Ask yourself this: Are you falling behind the times? Are you still handling your money the same old way?
C’mon, c’mon, you gotta keep up. And, hey, making these moves could save you a whole lot of time — and even money.
Here are five ways your finances are still stuck in the last decade:
1. You’re Still Wasting Money on Bank Fees
There’s no law that requires you to bank the old-fashioned way — at a brick-and-mortar bank that gives you a crummy interest rate on your savings and requires you to pay overdraft fees at $35 a pop.
Wake up! Get up to speed here. Get an account that won’t charge you fees — like Aspiration, an online-only account with no monthly account-maintenance fees. Plus, you can use any ATM and get reimbursed for five ATM charges per month.
Even better? Your account comes with a debit card that gets you up to 5% cash back on your debit purchases. Plus you’ll earn up to 11 times the average interest on the money you set aside to save. (The FDIC reports that the average account earns just .09%.)
To open your shiny new Aspiration account, simply connect your existing bank account and transfer over as little as $10. It takes no more than five minutes.
2. You’re Still Paying Full Price for Cell Service
You don’t have to pay full freight anymore, you know.
Cell phone bills remain stubbornly expensive, so it’s past time that you look into a discount carrier. The 2020s have got lots of legitimate options, like US Mobile, Twigby, Tello, Cricket, Mint Mobile and Republic Wireless.
When choosing a carrier, consider the network’s coverage in your area; your phone’s compatibility; how much data and how many lines you need; and the cost.
Switching could save you hundreds — even thousands — of dollars this year. For instance, we talked with 43-year-old Zak Wilson, who switched from Verizon to Twigby. Now, he pays $60 a month for two lines, saving him $120 a month or a whopping $1,440 a year.
3. You’re Still Paying Too Much for TV
If you still have cable, maybe it’s time to finally cut the cord. With the cost of cable staying, on average, north of a thousand bucks per year, the cord-cutting trend continues to gain momentum.
If you’re subscribing to streaming services instead, take an inventory of them. With so many options, it’s easy to stack up bills for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Spotify, HBO, Showtime — the list goes on.
Seriously consider what you spend the most time using. Then cut the rest.
4. You’re Still Not Automating
You, too, can harness the mighty powers of technology to save yourself time and money with automation. Here are a few ways you can automate your finances:
- Automate your bill payments: Go to your bank’s online bill-pay feature. Enter all the companies that bill you and the account numbers for each. You can also have your bank automatically send digital payments to individuals (like a landlord).
- Automate your investments: Apps like Robinhood, Acorns and Stash make it easy to start investing — and stop thinking about it. Some of these apps allow you to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically invest your spare change. Others allow you to set up automatic investments as little as $1 a week.
- Automate your savings: If you automatically funnel some of your earnings into savings, you’ll be less tempted to spend it. Out of sight, out of mind, you know? You can either use a combined checking and savings account, like the Aspiration account, or you can work with your employer to set up a portion of your paycheck to go directly into your savings account.
5. You Still Haven’t Gone Paperless
Did you know going paperless can save you money? Lots of utility services and cell phone companies offer discounts if you sign up for automatic payments and paperless billing.
It’s time to go beyond that, though. It’s the 2020s, the heart of the digital age! Why do you still have so much paper lying around, taking up space?
Chances are, you’ve got a bunch of boxes and folders full of financial paperwork you don’t need anymore. Go through them and find what you do need. Scan that stuff and save it to a secure file on your computer.
The rest? Get rid of it! Throw out all that clutter. It’ll feel so good.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.