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When it comes to getting your money sorted out, and in good shape, there’s a lot to think about. Tie in the fact that money is so deeply tied to emotions, and you tend to feel a lot of guilt when you don’t have our financial house in order. And it’s easy to put off the task of taking stock and getting things in order.
It’s easy to slip into the mindset that money management needs to be all or nothing. While there will come a time when you need to have a big sit-down and get acquainted with all your bills and balances, the truth is that small steps can add up – both financially and psychologically. And in many ways, it’s the mental game that makes the biggest difference in the financial game.
If you’ve been putting off all the big goals that you need to do for your finances, consider taking a few of these financial baby steps and racking up a few easy wins:
1. Save Money By Getting A Better Credit Score
A bad credit score can keep you from getting
- the best interest rates on loans
- getting approved for an apartment lease
- saving money on your home and auto insurance
- even getting some jobs!
And did you know a whopping 20% of people have an error on at least one of their credit reports? Those errors could lead you to pay more for products such as auto loans and insurance.
Alex O’Brian increased his credit score by 100 points in just 30 days simply by contacting the credit bureaus and fixing errors on his credit report!
The good news is you can quickly and easily check your credit score for free using a service like Credit Sesame
You can find out if there are any errors and get them fixed to improve your score.
2. Earn Extra Money This Month in Passive Income
I love easy money, do you? Here are some smart ways to put some extra cash in your pocket starting today.
Sign for all of these websites below on your smartphone. You could earn up to $250 this month for fun stuff like eating out!
Survey Junkie. Share your opinion and get rewards. What are your opinions of TV shows? Brands of shoes? Companies want to know what you think. You can take online surveys anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Once you earn enough points, you can cash them in for gift cards or PayPal.
InboxDollars. Earn cash for watching videos online (you watch cat videos, right?) and get paid up to $200/month. Inbox Dollars works with great companies like Netflix, Walmart, and Groupon. Get a $5 sign-up bonus by activating your account.
MyPoints. Shop online just like normal but start your trip by clicking to your favorite retailer from MyPoints. Earn points for every dollar you spend and redeem points for great gift cards like at Amazon, Walmart, or Starbucks.
Nielsen Panel. From the same company that’s been providing TV ratings for 90 years, the Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to run software on your computer and browse the web like you normally do. Your participation helps improve online products and services.
SwagBucks. By using SwagBucks as you search the web, you’ll earn points which can be redeemed for gift cards. Plus, they give you $5 just for signing up.
3. Get Money Back for Stuff You’ve Already Bought
Did you know deleting your email receipts could be costing you money? Paribus is a service that helps you find price drops on items that you have purchased through online retailers and will help refund you the difference. So easy!
For example, if you bought a pair of sneakers at an eligible retailer for $80.00 and the price goes down to $70.00, Paribus lets you know if a store owes you a refund – automatically.
In addition to price drops, Paribus also tracks the delivery status of online purchases at select retailers (currently Amazon and Walmart). If a guaranteed order arrives later than the retailer promised, Paribus will reach out to the online merchant on your behalf to request compensation.
4. Max Your 401(k)
Are you losing out on tens-of-thousands of dollars in your 401(k)? You could be because of bad options or poor investing decisions. If you haven’t taken the time to read Scott’s best-selling book 99 Minute Millionaire to help you with your investing choices – no problem!
One of the services Scott talks about in his book is from Blooom.
Blooom gives you professional help managing your 401(k) without the expense of a financial advisor. Plus you don’t have to move your account – Blooom manages it for you based on your age and financial goals.
If you want the money in your 401(k) to make you more money, sign up with Blooom.
You can try Blooom free for 90 days and get a free analysis of your investment choices. After that, it’s just $10 a month for simple 401(k) management. What a deal!
5. Open a Separate Checking or Savings Account
Separate accounts give you a very clear picture of the actions you’re taking.
If you start funneling money into a separate savings accounts for some future goals (like a vacation or a house downpayment), you can check that balance anytime. You’ll know exactly how much you’ve saved up, and see the progress you’re making toward your goals. It feels great to see the balances go up! And it’s really easy to do.
My husband Scott just left one of the big monster mega-banks because they wanted to charge $15 a month for EVERY account! He uses five accounts to run his business and would have to pay almost $500/year in junk fees. What a waste!
Capital One 360 lets you create as many savings accounts as you want – FOR FREE! We keep several accounts for our personal finances:
- Emergency fund
- Opportunity fund
- Tax savings
And at one time I had a separate account for a house re-decoration budget (until I used it all up!)
We’ve been using Capital One for over a decade and couldn’t be happier. Yeah, you’ll find a few online banks that pay up to 0.25% more in savings, but for us, the features and services are more valuable than a few extra dollars each year in interest.
6. Sell Something Easily and Quickly
We’re due for another round of house cleaning, and it’s time to finally let go of what’s left of my DVD collection. Love Actually, Transformers, and Bridgett Jones can be watched easily on Amazon Prime without having to store a shelf full of DVDs.
DeCluttr is an app you can use to sell your DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, and CDs.
Unlike trying to sell each item individually, you can scan all the barcodes in and get an instant quote from DeCluttr for your stuff. Box them all up, use the pre-paid shipping label, done! You’ll get paid once your stuff is received and processed.
Use Bookscouter to sell your old textbooks and books
If you want the most cash for your books, check out getting rid of your old books using BookScouter.
Enter in the ISBN for each book into BookScouter and the service will search several companies (including Amazon) to find out which one will offer you the best price.
It’s worth using the service because prices between vendors can differ by as much as five times.
To avoid the hassle of buying shipping, most of the companies offer prepaid shipping and labels to make it easy for you to ship your book.
7. Start Investing In Just Ten Minutes
Start saving today with as little as $1 is Clink’s motto.
If you’re looking to build a more financially-secure future – no matter what your age – Clink is a great way to get started.
Clink is an app for smartphones that makes it easy to get started investing, and with very little money. Backed by a Nobel Prize winning investing philosophy, Clink can help you build your savings muscle.
I help people every day get started investing. Clink is one of the few investing apps I like because of their get-rich-slowly approach to investing. – Scott Alan Turner
8. Lower Your Bills
With BillShark’s negotiation services, you can lower your bills by up to $3,000 a year! The team at BillShark will negotiate with your service providers on your behalf:
- Cable TV
- Cell phone
- Home security
- Satellite radio
Best thing? It’s no-risk, and you don’t pay anything out of pocket. If BillShark manages to negotiate a lower rate for you, they make 40% of your savings.
Try BillShark and start saving money on your bills.
9. Refinance Your Debts To Save Money
We’ve all been there – in debt!
If you have student loans, auto loans, personal loans, or credit cards with high-interest rates, you’re probably feeling buried under a mountain of debt. It’s worth checking out to see if you can refinance one or more of your debts to a lower rate.
Refinancing your debts to lower the interest rates can help you save more money each month.
Even Financial can help you by shopping around and finding the best loan that fits your needs. Loans range from $1,000-$100,000, from 24–84 months with interest rates starting at 4.99%.
See if you can reduce your interest rates.
10. Create A Hot-N-Spicy Spending Plan
You Need a Budget! No really, that’s what it’s called – YNAB for short.
YNAB is one of the most popular apps for keeping track of your spending and making sure you have more money than month. It’s been around for years and has millions of users.
On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year!
YNAB includes a generous 34-day free trial. Plus it only costs $4.17 a month to use. Pretty cheap considering all the benefits!
We started using YNAB in January 2017 after having used Mint for years and are happy with the features.
Start tracking your spending with YNAB.
Keep It Going!
When you get a one-time win – like selling something or getting a bill reduced – move that money into your savings account.
The way to make this small-win strategy really gain traction is to set up automatic transfers in the recurring amounts that you’re trimming, like off a cable or insurance bill.
Seeing those small bits add up over time will really show you the power of baby steps and deliberate action.
Once you get a taste for control over your money, you’ll be on your way towards financial independence. Try it and see!