5 Quick, Super Effective Money Moves I’m Making With My Next Paycheck

Financial health
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Honest Abe


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Here’s what I feel like when I check my bank account and realize it’s payday:

Not only am I excited to see my inflated balance, I’m also excited for a fresh start — to finally get my assets organized.

Then, suddenly, all those goals and plans dissipate, and the immediate gratification of ordering products on Amazon Prime and Zappos takes over.

But this time I’m going to do it.

I’m going to do smart things with my money.

Let me tell you exactly what I have planned — for my own financial health, and your inspiration.

1. Open a high-yield checking account.

Right now, all of my paychecks funnel into my one and only checking account, which is very, very dangerous. (See above: Amazon and Zappos)

It also doesn’t embody the whole “make your money work for you” mantra because I’m not earning any interest — not even 0.01%.

I’ve been meaning to follow in the steps of my cohort, Dana Sitar, who redirects a portion of her paycheck to her Aspiration Summit Checking Account.

But what about a savings account?, you ask. Well, here’s why Sitar prefers Aspiration:

  • It’s online only, so she doesn’t have to leave her apartment to handle her finances.
  • It offers 1% APY on a balance of $2,500 or more. If her balance is less, it offers 0.25% APY. In context, the average savings account has a 0.06% interest rate.
  • It’s free.
  • There are no ATM fees.
  • Also, 10% of the company’s revenue goes to charity, so that makes her feel like a good person.

I plan to open an account with Aspiration and set up automatic transfers for every two weeks (payday).

2. Start investing.

I’ve been meaning to invest, but sometimes I get overwhelmed.

So I just stall.

However, there are apps out there that make it super easy, like Stash.

All I’d have to do is click download and set up automatic transfers. Each payday, a set amount would sneak away from my account and into an investment. Even only $5 would help plan for my future.

You don’t have to know anything about investing, either. You can invest in causes you care about, like “Clean Energy.”

Also, if I sign up now, I can snag a $5 bonus, which will help me get started on this whole investing endeavor.

3. Maintain (and improve) my credit score by paying off my credit card.

One thing I already do but keep on my to-do checklist so I always remember?

Keep tabs on my credit score.

These days I only use my credit card to make purchases so I can earn points, which in turn pay for my flights.

But lately my credit card spending has been gnarly. Still, one of the first things I do at the beginning of each month is pay that sucker off. (Probably because I’m a millennial.)

It stings to see those hard-earned dollars disappear so quickly, but the last thing I want is credit card debt — and to ruin my young credit score.

I use a free service called Credit Sesame to monitor that super important, three-digit number. The best part is I get email notifications when my score fluctuates, which holds me accountable.

It also gives me personalized recommendations on how to increase my score, so even if credit card debt isn’t your thing, it’ll point out your other weaknesses. Then hopefully you can put that paycheck to good use.

4. Keep tabs on my spending habits.

Each time I get paid, I feel a little more confident about my financial situation, so naturally I tend to splurge — even on routine trips to the grocery store.

Oh, this cheese looks nice… of course it is because it’s $9. High time to try it with all the money I just earned…

No. No. No. I don’t need $9 cheese because the cheaper stuff tastes just fine, too.

To keep tabs on my spending habits, I just downloaded the Clarity Money app, so I’m going to start using it to hold myself more accountable.

It shows me my spending percentages, so I can see I’ve already spent way too much money in the shopping category this month. And food is up there, too, with a recent hefty Publix charge. (Cheese, probably.)

By simply analyzing and keeping tabs on my spending habits with Clarity Money, I’m reminded of my larger financial goals.

5. Use every darn rebate app.

In order to wring the most out of every paycheck, I need to start using rebate apps, so I can actually earn some money back on those essential purchases.

Again, I’ve been meaning to do this…

Here are a few I’ve had my eye on:

  • Ebates: This platform has everything — from rebates to deals to promo codes to discounts. It’s always worth checking before venturing out (or online) for a shopping trip.
  • Ibotta: This gem helps save big on groceries. All I’d have to do is scan my receipt after shopping. (We’ve got 11 more grocery-savings ideas here.)
  • Paribus: This tool is too easy not to use. Paribus basically scans your emails for online-shopping receipts. If the price decreases during the return period, it reimburses you. It also checks the tracking info for your online orders. If something shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping — up to a full shipping refund.
  • MyPoints: Shopping through the online MyPoints portal earns you points with each purchase, which go toward gift cards.

Yes, I have big plans next payday. I always do, but I plan to execute this time around — and finally get my finances in order.

Plus, these are too easy, so why not?

Your Turn: Do you have big money goals, too? Share ’em with me to keep us accountable after next payday.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Honest Abe


Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.