11 Smart Financial Tools Made Just for Your Type A Personality
I’m a proud Type-A.
I have this innate drive to get things done — and get them done correctly and on time. I’m not happy coasting along; I want to climb that ladder, baby. If I’m running behind, I’m probably impulsively biting my nails off. I don’t think I’m competitive until I’m competing. Then it’s like some weird instinct kicks in, and I don’t know who I become.
I can be impatient with my Type-B counterparts, who are a little, well, too laid back for my taste.
OK, I kind of sound super high-strung. I promise I’m tolerable… ask my boyfriend. (Errr, well, maybe don’t.)
Although I have this innate love for to-do lists, color codes and all-things organization, some parts of my life are, well, not as tidy. Like my finances.
I can procrastinate the crap out of any financial matters. I get stressed out, so I push tasks to the side. Oh, I’ll check my retirement account… tomorrow. Oh, I’ll update my budget… never.
But don’t fret just yet. There are a number tools out there that can help us Type-A people organize our finances — without losing hours to get everything just so.
1. Keep Overachieving — and Saving Money
You’re most likely an overachiever, so of course you do your due diligence to hunt down great deals. But some bills fall to the wayside… When’s the last time you compared rates on your car insurance?
Your premium can creep up on you several times a year, if you’re not monitoring it.
The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds to help you find the best rate.
If you’re beating its top pick, you know you’ve beat the system. If not, go ahead and secure the best rate.
2. Consolidate Your Financial Stress
If you’re juggling several unpaid credit card bills, or any form of debt for that matter, don’t panic. There’s an easier way to keep tabs on your outstanding balances — and even pay off your debt faster.
Try consolidating it into one manageable bill through Fiona, a financial technology company that helps match you to a personal loan that meets your needs. Consolidating your credit card debt could also help get you a lower interest rate and save you thousands while you pay it off.
Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. If your credit score is at least 620, its platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
Now, breathe a sigh of relief. No more juggling approximately 293,003 bills this month. You’ve just got one!
3. Compare Yourself to Others — and Be the Best
Ah, got a competitive streak like me? Sometimes life turns into a competition. I’ve got this insane drive to be The Best. It’s hard to make it stop.
If you want to use that force for financial good, tap into Status Money, an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions.
Link an account to tap into this database and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.
By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.
4. Check Your Financial Grade
While most of my classmates hated the day grades came out, I loved it. Luckily, most of mine were good, but I also just loved gauging my performance — knowing how I was doing and where I could work harder.
In real life, you don’t get grades. Your manager might offer feedback, but that’s about it.
What about finances? How do you know how you’re doing there?
Luckily, Credit Sesame offers free credit scores and credit report cards.
The easy-to-understand report outlines how you’re doing financially. You’ll get a big-picture view of your open accounts, your debt and any items sitting in collections. And, perhaps even better, it’ll offer actionable tips to help you improve your credit score.
5. Get Rewarded for Your Ability to Hit Deadlines
Your mom probably gave you an allowance for washing the dishes and sweeping the floor when you were a kid. (You were really good at it.) Now all you get for doing it is a kitchen that’s clean for, like, 15 minutes.
As an adult, you don’t typically get rewards for doing things that are expected of you… until now.
This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion, a free all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.
MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.
You can earn points in the rewards program by paying bills on time, connecting your bank account or downloading the mobile app. You can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.
If credit cards aren’t your thing, MoneyLion is like having a rewards credit card without the temptation to overspend.
The app also connects with all your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.
6. Tidy up Your Subscription Services
For the most part, I love subscription services. I can get whatever I need to my front door each month. Vitamins? Check. Feminine products? Check. Beauty products? Why not…
Yeah, with my Type A comes compulsion sometimes, so I can go overboard. Every now and then I like to check in and see which subscriptions I’m getting billed for each month — clean things up a bit.
Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, refund your bank fees and, yes, cancel unwanted subscriptions. The app will remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.
On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.
Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.
7. Optimize Your Retirement Plan
Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track. Now it’s time to clean it up by making sure it’s doing exactly what you need it to.
However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can take hours. Not to worry: There’s a robo-adviser for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.
It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.
After that, the tool is $10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.
8. Make Your Money Work as Hard as You Do
Listen, you work hard for your money, so it should work just as hard for you. It shouldn’t be just sitting around. How dare it?
Make it work for you with an interest-earning bank account from Radius Bank.
The Radius Hybrid Checking account earns .85% APY on balances of at least $2,500 with no monthly fees or minimum balances after the initial $10 to open an account.
Sounds better than what you’re getting with your checking account at that big bank, right?
9. Strike a Budgeting Balance
As a Type A, it’s easy to get stuck in the details. Sometimes I’ll fixate on my pennies and dimes — versus the big-picture dollars.
But a budget can help you strike this balance. It allows you to keep track of those daily expenses in a way that’s future-thinking.
That’s where Empower comes in to help you organize and track your financial goals.
Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second, you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.
You can set goals, and Empower will keep you accountable.
10. Dig Into Your Deep-Seated Clutter
Although I’m innately Type A, there are some deep, dark corners of my life that are, well, less than tidy. (Ask my boyfriend about the bomb that recently went off in my closet… Yikes.)
If you need some motivation to declutter even the darkest corners of your home, turn it into a fun side gig.
For example, if your closet looks anything like mine, consider cleaning it up and creating a “for sale” pile. You can list any items on Letgo, an easy-to-use app that allows you to snap a photo and list your unneeded items to folks in your area. It’s 100% free to use and removes a lot of the hassle of selling online.
For your technology (uh, yeah, for some reason I collect old phones in my bedside table…), get free estimates from Decluttr, a site that’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, video games and even phones.
Just download the Decluttr app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, you won’t pay listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and even shipping is free.
11. Track Your Lofty Goals With Colorful Pens
If you want to get a little more creative, set up goals and track them with a bullet journal. A bullet journal is great for the more creative Type A folks — the ones who love color-coding and drawing the straightest line possible.
You can set up a debt payoff plan, track your expenses or set up an annual savings plan. The Jihi Elephant blog has some great ideas to get you started.
In the end, embrace your Type-A tendencies. They’ll help you become financially happy and healthy.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves the feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list.