How to Manage Your Money If You Make Less Than $60,000/Year

a woman sits at a table with a worried expression on her face and holds a credit card.
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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?

How to Manage Your Family Budget on Less Than $60,000/Year

Let’s face it — after taxes, that salary goes pretty quickly.

Calm down and come back. To tackle big goals, you have to start small. Here are seven simple steps to help you manage your family budget.

1. Stop Overpaying for Basic Needs

Let’s face it — you’re probably overpaying for everything. We bet you’re especially overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

2. Take 10 Minutes to Protect Your Family’s Future

Your family rocks. They make you laugh. They drive you to do more. That’s why you know you need life insurance. It’s to help them.

But you’d rather spend your time hanging out with your fantastic fam than waiting for a doctor to give you yet another exam.

If you want to get a fast life insurance quote without the medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, check out Bestow. The company is built around one concept — helping you get the term life insurance policy you want, simply and fast.

It just takes five minutes to answer some basic lifestyle questions, and you can get quotes for up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re approved, you can personalize your coverage to fit your budget. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.

Shopping for life insurance isn’t fun to think about, right? Get it done fast, and find something that fits your budget, even if it’s just a few dollars per month. You can get coverage terms as low as two years, and your rates will never go up.

Bestow is available in 48 states (excludes New York and Georgia) and expanding quickly around the U.S.

Sign up for a quote with Bestow and save your time for doing the things you love with your family.

3. Lower Your Credit Card Bills

Did you know that around 20% of consumers have an error on their credit report that is likely bringing down their score? And those poor scores can hinder every part of your financial wellness.

A lower credit score can cause you to pay more in credit card interest each month. And it could increase the amount you pay in deposits for a new apartment, rental car or new phone.

That’s why we always suggest starting with a peek at your credit score — specifically from somewhere that can let you know if there’s anything to be concerned about.

Even better if it’s free.

The credit report card from Credit Sesame does all that, and it’s free. The report lays out all your unpaid debts and any delinquencies. Plus, it’ll recommend ways to better manage your credit score.

worse, taking a payday loan — and making it through the week.

4. Dip Your Pocket Change Into Some Investments

Want to give investing a try today? Come on! It’s time to try something new.

Start small, and download Acorns, an investing app that’ll round up your debit and credit card purchases and, once it accumulates $5, it’ll invest the spare change for you.

That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The app is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

If you’ve got a $50 bill burning a hole in your wallet, then look into Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You’ll get a $50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($3.75) per year if you invest $500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

5. Get a Free $10 Gift Card — and Stop Paying List Price When You Shop Online

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash -back on online purchases at Walmart.

Plus, you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $10 Walmart gift card.

6. Get Money Back When You Can’t Avoid Paying Full Price

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

7. Avoid Mayhem by Having Insurance

Your home is probably your largest, most valuable asset, so you’ll want to protect it with homeowners insurance.

If you don’t have homeowners insurance (or don’t love the insane rates you’re paying), you can save up to 10% for switching to Allstate.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find an insurance agent near you with this handy online tool.
  2. Read customer reviews if you’re not sure who you want to work with.
  3. Snag a quote quickly.

Despite what most people think, renters, it’s just as important for you to protect your belongings, too.

If you’ve never looked into it, start by getting a free quote. We recommend the online insurance company Lemonade, through which renters insurance starts at $5 a month and homeowners insurance starts at $25 a month.

Lemonade is available in Arizona, California, Connecticut Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

8. Get a $20 Gift Card to Conserve Energy

You can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where you live.

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

When you sign up your home or apartment (yup, renters are eligible, too!) with Arcadia, you’ll get a free $20 Amazon gift card.

9. Cancel Your Monthly Subscriptions

The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. The negotiation bot Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Also, if you have any outages, Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you. Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest.

10. Save Money on Every Gallon Pumped — Automatically

If you’re a savvy saver, you probably already use GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas station in town. It’s an easy — and free — way to avoid overpaying.

But once you pull up to the pump, here’s something else you can do: Swipe your Pay with GasBuddy card to automatically save 10 cents per gallon on your first purchase (and 5 cents per gallon after that).

The free discount card is tied directly to your checking account. It works at 95% of gas stations throughout the country, so you don’t have to drive around town just to find “your” station. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a rebate — it’s immediate savings.

Simply and securely sign up through GasBuddy. Connect your bank account, enter your address, and GasBuddy will put a card in the mail.

11. Get Your Paycheck Early

Counting the days until payday? Us too.

If you’re tired of waiting, consider switching to a bank that could pay you earlier.

Unlike most banks, Chime won’t wait until your pay date to get your money. As soon as it receives notification of a direct deposit from your employer, it immediately posts those funds to your account — up to two days before payday!

Having your paycheck a couple of days early could be the difference between having to borrow money from family — or worse, taking a payday loan — and making it through the week.

Bonus: Hang out With Pups

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover says sitters can earn as much as $1,000 a month.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

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