Managing Your Money Doesn’t Have to Be Miserable. These Free Tools Can Help
Managing your money can be easy to put off.
Tomorrow turns into next week. Next week turns into next month. Then next month turns into a New Year’s resolution, and we all know those never get accomplished…
But we have four tips that’ll help you quickly get a handle on your finances.
By quickly, we mean pour yourself a glass of wine and dedicate one evening to your money. Or brew a pot of coffee on a Saturday morning.
Whichever you prefer, managing your money doesn’t have to be a drawn-out chore.
Here’s how to manage your money in a single sitting.
1. Get a Big Picture View of Your Financial Situation
For this, we recommend you pull your credit report.
It’ll be OK. We promise. And it’s free.
Use a service like FreeCreditReport.com. Here, you can check out your account history, hard inquiries and any negative information.
Not to be negative… but that last part is key. If you have any loan defaults, late payments, delinquencies — you name it — set up a plan of action to tackle those and sort those out.
Every 30 days, the report will update, so if you’re taking steps in the right direction, it should show.
Gain access to your free report here.
2. Clean Up Any Unnecessary Expenses
Colorful charts and graphs are excellent visual aids in understanding where your money is coming from — and going.
Clarity Money offers just that. But it also goes beyond those charts; it informs you how to make better financial choices.
For example, Clarity will show you a rundown of your monthly recurring charges. Think: Netflix, gym memberships, rent and that magazine you subscribed to years ago. Rather than just saying, “Oh, I’ll cancel that… soon,” Clarity lets you cancel it right then and there with one tap.
The app will also help you negotiate your existing bills, too — so you don’t have to deal with any annoying hold music on customer service lines.
3. Set Up an Automated Savings Plan
Establishing a savings plan might seem difficult.
Knowing how much you can spare can be a challenge to figure out, but you also need to determine where you’re going to stash it — because keeping it in your checking account is too tempting and isn’t earning you any interest or rewards.
Also, seeing a chunk of your money disappear into a far-off account isn’t fun. But Chime, an online-only, fee-free bank account has gamified the savings challenge — and rewards you for it, too.
Here’s how it works: Open a Chime account, and set up automatic savings. Each time you swipe your Chime Visa Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra cents trickle into your savings.
It’s like your own automated piggy bank (without the germy coins and annoying drugstore change machines).
Even better, each Friday through the end of July, Chime will grant you a 10% bonus on your round-ups.
Here’s an example of how much you could earn back in just one day:
- Grocery store: $30.08
- Gas station: $42.92
- Coffee shop: $2.38
With these three transactions, you’ll bank $1.38. Plus you’ll earn 10% back, making that $1.50 in one day. If you keep this up for a year… that adds up to over $500.
And you don’t even have to think about it — just go about your daily transactions.
Another plus: If you sign up for direct deposit, Chime gives you access to your money immediately. So you can get paid up to two days earlier than many other traditional banks.
4. Start Investing — Even With as Little as $5
Now that you’ve got all of that taken care of, here’s a little bonus for the brave.
You can set it up with as little as $5. Then, just like your savings account, automate it. Let even just $5 go into that account each month.
You’re letting your money build and grow without even thinking about it.
Now, managing your money isn’t that miserable, is it?