No matter someone’s income level, skill, or financial knowledge, there is always something that can be done to improve your finances. Whether you have 5 minutes or 50 years, here are 100+ ways you can work to improve your finances.
Increase Your Savings
1) Open an online savings account with a higher interest rate. Online savings accounts, like CIT Bank, are able to offer a higher interest rate because they do not have to spend money keeping up brick-and-mortar locations. Consider making the switch and earning a few extra dollars in interest.
2) Set automatic increases. You can increase your retirement savings easily by setting auto-increases every year or so. You likely won’t even notice an additional 1% being deducted out of your paycheck, but that little extra contribution can add up overtime.
3) Automate your savings. The easiest way to meet your savings goals is to automate your savings. You can have money automatically set aside into a separate savings account each month. The important thing is to not touch it once it is there.
4) Keep a budget. Budgeting can be time-consuming, but it’s a habit that can have big implications for your finances. Check out our free automated budget spreadsheet if you don’t currently keep a budget.
5) Start an emergency fund. An emergency fund can save you and your loved ones from financial disaster. Make it a goal to set aside at least 3 months of living expenses in an emergency fund.
6) Meet your employer’s retirement match. If your employer offers to match a portion of your retirement fund contributions, make sure you are contributing enough to receive the full match.
7) Contribute to an HSA. If you are on the high deductible health plan, you are eligible to contribute to a health savings account, or HSA. HSAs offer huge tax advantages and can cover any health related expenses you may have. The best part is that they carry over from year to year, so you can build it just like a regular savings account.
8) Utilize catch-up contribution limits. For anyone over the age of 50, you are eligible for catch-up contributions, meaning you can contribute more to both an IRA and 401(k).
9) Save for your child’s education. A 529 plan allows you save for your child’s education while providing you with tax advantages.
10) Consider whether you should rent or buy. Depending where you live, it might make more sense to buy a house. If you are in an expensive city, you may not be able to afford to purchase a home right away. You’ll need to compare your financial position and personal priorities to make the best decision for you.
11) Compare car insurance rates. Get quotes from other insurance companies periodically. They may be able to offer you a cheaper rate for the same level of coverage.
12) Avoid ATM fees. ATM fees are ridiculously expensive considering that they are essentially charging you to access your own money. If you frequently use ATMs, locate machines that are free to use. If your bank does not offer free ATM use, consider switching to a bank that does.
13) Meal plan. Planning out your meals can not only save you money in groceries, but it can save you a ton of time as well. You can plan out your meals, cook them all at once and be ready to go for the week.
14) Use a cash-back site. If you frequently shop online, Ebates will give you cash back for your purchases. It is free to use and sign up.
15) Turn off items electronics when not in use. Why spend money on things you are not even using at the time? You can save money by unplugging items when not in use.
16) Sell items you no longer need. Not only will selling household items declutter your home, but you can make good money by doing so. Take a few photos of what you are trying to sell and post it to sites like Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp.
17) Buy used or go thrifting. By buying used, you are saving money and helping the environment. You might be surprised at what you can find in a thrift store for cheap.
18) Adjust the temperature. You can save money every month by adjusting your thermostat by just a few degrees. To really save money, consider installing an adjustable thermostat. Many of the new thermostats allow you to control it from an app on your phone.
19) Plan gifts in advance. If you tend to frantically look for gifts last minute, you likely aren’t finding the best deals. You can save money (and prevent stress) by shopping in advance.
20) Consider cheaper hobbies. Everyone should invest in their hobbies, but some hobbies can drain a budget really quickly. Consider finding a few cheaper activities and splurging on your expensive hobby less frequently, or find a way to make money on your hobbies
21) Pay for maintenance. By prioritizing maintenance for the most important things (such as your house, health, or car), you are saving money in the long run. By doing regular maintenance, you are saving money in the long run by improving efficiency.
22) Learn to DIY. If you have the time, skill, and resources to do it yourself, you can save a sizeable amount of money.
23) Prolong purchasing anything new. If you tend to be an impulse shopper, make sure you are taking time to really evaluate the value of your purchase. After doing this practice, you will likely find that there are actually very few things you need.
24) Use less. With most things, you can get by with using less of a particular item. Using less is a practical way to save money in the long-run. For example, you can use less toothpaste, makeup, paper towels, or cleaning supplies with each use.
25) Make coffee at home. You can make your own coffee for literally pennies after you purchase a coffee maker. You can find a decent coffee maker for around $30. If you consider that each speciality drink at a coffee shop costs $4 to $5, you will quickly earn your money back.
26) Purchase discounted gift cards. Raise.com allows you to buy gift cards for less than what they are valued. Likewise, if you have gift cards you aren’t going to use, you can sell them on Raise.
27) Carpool. Carpooling to work can save you 50% of gas and will prevent wear-and-tear on your car. In some cities, you even get the added advantage of using the carpool lane, which results in you spending less time in traffic.
28) Improve your soft skills. You can improve soft skills, such a public speaking, organization, and communication by participating in free organizations and classes around the area.
29) Take on additional responsibilities. By taking on additional responsibilities at your full-time job, you can show your boss that you are serious about the work you do. Management is more likely to give you a raise after clearly seeing the value you provide.
30) Organize yourself at your job. By prioritizing organization, you are ensuring that you are always prepared and operating efficiently.
31) Network, network, network. The best opportunities come through networking since everyone you know has a network of their own. If you are nervous about networking, you can read some tips here.
32) Make use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great tool to collect with other professionals in your industry and community. Best of all, it is free to use!
33) Ask about remote opportunities. You are able to save money in gas and time if you are able to work from home even a few days a week. Plus, you may find that you actually increase your productivity. Talk with your boss to discuss the possibility of working from home.
34) Get certified. By getting certified in your field, you are able to better your chances for a raise or promotion.
35) Join professional groups. Professional associations and other organizations keep your skills sharp while simultaneously giving you plenty of opportunities to network within your field.
36) Consider switching jobs. If you feel stuck at your current job both professionally and financially, then it may be time to apply for new jobs.
37) Keep your resume up-to-date. You never know when the right opportunity may open up.
38) Always keep a business card on you. You should always be prepared. You don’t want to lose out on a potential connection simply because you didn’t keep a business card on you.
39) Spend less on accounting. If you are a business owner, you can save money by switching to Freshbooks for your accounting needs. They typically offer lower fees than many other software.
40) Take advantage of all employer benefits. Does your employer offer a 401(k) match? Free gym membership? Tuition assistance? Cell phone reimbursement? Failure to take advantage of employer benefits means you are leaving money on the table, so be sure to make use of everything your employer has to offer.
Pay Off Your Debt
41) Create a debt payoff plan. Before you can become debt-free, you have to know what you are up against. Make a list of all of your debt, the balance, interest rate, and the minimum monthly interest rate. This free spreadsheet was made to list out student loan debt, but you can use it for any debt.
42) Utilize the debt snowball method to pay off debt. The debt snowball is a very effective method of paying off debt. Essentially, you pay off your smallest debt first, even if it has a low interest rate. The psychology behind it is once you pay off one debt, you’re more motivated to pay off another.
43) Refinance your student loans. You may be eligible for a lower interest rate on your student loans through SoFi.
44) Refinance your credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, refinancing may help you to pay it off more quickly. Check out SoFi to see if you are eligible for a lower interest rate.
45) Avoid taking on more debt. Save for purchases ahead of time to avoid falling into a debt pitfall.
46) Settle on your car. Cars lose value the second you drive them off the lot, so they are not a wise investment. Settle for a less-expensive car and pay it off as quickly as you can.
47) Refuse to carry a credit card balance. Credit card debt has high interest rate and it can be one of the most difficult financial holes to crawl out of. Prevent credit card debt by paying off your credit card every single month.
48) Calculate your debt to income ratio. To calculate this ratio, add up your minimum monthly payments on all of your debt. Divide that amount by your monthly net income. If this percentage seems high, you should focus on either lowering your debt or increasing your income (or both!)
49) Make multiple debt payments. Instead of paying your minimum debt payment every month, split that amount into a few smaller, but more frequent payments. For example, instead of paying $400 once a month, pay $200 twice a month. This lowers the amount of debt you owe, so ultimately, you are paying less to interest.
50) Call your creditors. If you are struggling to meet the minimum debt payment, call your creditors. They might be willing to worth with you to setup a payment plan.
Make More Money
51) Start a blog. Blogging can be very profitable if you keep at it. Best of all, you can blog about any topic that is of interest to you.
52) Earn money through freelance writing. If you can write well, create detailed content, and meet deadlines, you can earn money through freelance writing.
53) Drive for Uber. Driving for Uber is perfect for anyone who is looking to make some extra cash in their spare time.
54) Rent out a room on AirBNB. If you have extra space in your home, you can rent it out on AirBNB. You can choose the days you are willing to rent out your space and charge as you would like.
55) Take surveys for extra cash. Surveys won’t make you rich, but it is a good way to earn a few extra dollars while sitting in front of the television. A few of our favorite survey sites include CrashCrate and Earning Station.
56) Evaluate your productivity. They say time is money, so it’s a good idea to know how much time you are spending on various tasks. RescueTime is a great tool to help you track your productivity.
57) Become a virtual assistant.Virtual assistants are administrative assistants that work from home. They might work for a large company or for a single business owner. Common virtual assistant tasks include scheduling, updating social media, coordinating travel, answering client questions, and more.
58) Earn a raise at work. Don’t forget that you can make more money at your current job. If you are trying to get a raise, here are some good tips.
59) Read financial blogs. Blogs are a great way to learn a few personal finance tips as well as to stay on top of the latest personal finance news.
60) Have a mentor. Do you have someone you can talk to about your financial situation? A mentor can help guide you and hold you accountable.
61) Purchase a few personal finance books. Reading is such a great resource, and there are so many good personal finance books out there. Here are a few of our favorites.
62) Take free classes. Sites like Coursera and Udemy offer online classes from real colleges for free.
63) Find a financial community. Finding a community that prioritizes finances provides a huge advantage. So few people want to talk about money, but it’s holding everyone back. Maybe you find a financial class at your church or within your city, or you join the personal finance blogging community.
64) Keep a planner. Keeping a planner helps you keep your finances organized, ensuring that you never miss anything.
65) Write down your financial goals. Did you know you are over 40% more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down first? Write down your goals and keep them somewhere visible to help keep yourself motivated. Here’s 15 financial goals to consider
66) Teach yourself something new. As we get older, we tend to stop teaching ourselves new things. Learning new skills or tasks keeps our minds sharp, which in return helps us make wise financial decisions.
67) Avoid FOMO. FOMO, or fear of missing out, can push a lot of your financial decisions if you aren’t careful. Keeping up with what everyone else has is not cheap, and you don’t want to be spending money on things that aren’t a high priority for you.
68) Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to learn about any topic. You can download podcasts for free on your phone and listen to them at the gym, in the car, or while at work.
69) Hold yourself accountable. Don’t let yourself slack on meeting your goals. Figure out how you can hold yourself accountable. Maybe you need to set small incentives for yourself, or maybe you need to find an accountability partner.
70) Stay healthy. By eating well, working out, and sleeping plenty, you are helping to lower your overall healthcare costs.
Perfect Your Budget
71) Always pay your bills on time. To avoid late fees or a potential negative impact on your credit score, it’s important to pay all of your bills on time.
72) Practice good record keeping. You want to be sure to always keep receipts and organize your finances. In case a mistake was made on a bill or taxes, you want to ensure that you have proof and documentation of each situation.
73) Track your net worth. Your net worth gives you a snapshot of where you stand financially. We recommend using the free Personal Finance app.
74) Cancel services that aren’t a priority. You can cancel services like cable, subscription boxes, and magazines to save money.
75) Analyze your budget every month. No two months are the same, and you won’t have a perfect budget right away. It takes some trial and error, especially in the beginning. You may find you regularly have a higher spending in one specific budgeting category and need to reallocate money to that.
76) Use a cash-only budget if you do not respond well to credit cards. Some people find credit cards too tempting. If you have racked up credit card debt in the past, it may be better for you to stick to an all-cash budget.
77) Figure out which budgeting system works best for you. Some people like to write their budget with pen and paper. Other people prefer spreadsheets or apps. However you decide to do it, the important thing is to just track your finances.
78) Like spreadsheets? Use our free automated budget tracker spreadsheet to keep track of your finances.
79) Use Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a financial software that puts all of your finances in one place. It essentially gives you a snapshot of your overall financial health. And it is free to sign up.
80) Learn to say no. Saying yes to everyone can result in a lot of unexpected expenses and can cause you to stress. By learning to say no, you are able to dedicate your time and money to things that are truly valuable to you.
81) Negotiate your bills. A quick phone call to your providers can save you money every month. You can negotiate almost any bill, including cable, car insurance, and internet.
82) Enroll in autopay. Autopay is an easy way to make sure all of your bills are paid. Some bills, like federal student loans, even give you a small discount if you enroll in autopay. Plus, it saves you time.
83) Check your tax withholdings. Though it might be nice to get that big tax return every year, you are essentially giving the government an interest-free loan by doing so. You also don’t want to be on the opposite end of the spectrum and owe the government money come tax time. Double check your withholdings to make sure they are correct.
84) Talk to your significant other about finances. Whether you are newly dating or married, you need to be on the same page with your finances. Be open and honest with one another.
85) Consider how to give back. Giving money away might not seem like a typical financial tip, but by donating your time or money, you are reminding yourself of the value of a dollar while improving the lives of others.
86) Budget for fun. Your budget won’t be very successful if it’s all work and no play. Be sure to set aside some money for entertainment and hobbies.
Use Credit Wisely
87) Open a credit card that is a good fit for you. Everyone has different financial priorities, and it’s important to find a credit card that works best for your lifestyle. You can compare the best credit cards here.
88) Learn about credit card travel hacking. You can take free trips across the world by learning how to travel hack.
89) Don’t open up lines of credit just for the deal. How many times have you been told you could save 20% on today’s purchase by opening a credit card at the checkout line? Avoid signing up for any credit card just for its short-term rewards.
90) Keep a credit card open. You can increase your credit score by having older lines of credit, so it’s always a good idea to keep your oldest credit card open, even if you rarely use it.
91) Have a low credit utilization. Credit utilization is another factor that makes up your credit score. By utilizing a small amount of the total credit available to you, you are working to increase your credit score.
92) Monitor your credit score. You can have peace of mind by monitoring your credit score with Credit Sesame.
93) And your credit report. According to the FTC, 1 in 3 consumers find an error on their credit report. An error on your credit report could result in a lower credit score, which may be costing you money by increasing the cost of borrowing. By checking your credit score, you are protecting your finances.
94) Get life insurance. Even if you are young, you never know what could happen. Life insurance is a way of providing financial security and peace of mind to your family. If you don’t already have life insurance, you can get a free quote to see how much it would cost for various levels of coverage.
95) Backup your computer. If your computer crashes, you might not realize what you have lost until it is gone. To prevent losing important data, backup your computer files regularly.
96) Keep important files in a safe place. You want to make sure you have all of your most important and private files locked away in a fireproof safe.
97) Get a will. Writing a will isn’t a fun thing to do, but failure to do so can result in big financial consequences for your family should something happen to you. You can contact a lawyer to start the process.
98) Compare your insurance premiums. If you have adequate money saved in an emergency fund, then it doesn’t make sense to pay extra in premiums to have a lower deductible. Consider the effects of having a higher versus a lower deductible, and you will be able to save money while still securing yourself.
99) Give instructions to your loved ones. If something were to happen to you, you will want your loved ones to have access to all of your important documents.
100) Change your account passwords frequently. You do not want to risk anyone getting access to your private information. You can prevent this by changing your account passwords frequently.
What are your best financial tips? Which of these tips has made the biggest impact on your finances?
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