So you’re ready to work on your finances…. but you just keep kicking the idea under the rug.
I get it! When you finally find the time and energy to sit down to work on your money situation, you immediately find yourself buried in information.
And by the time you decide, you’re browsing Instagram or Facebook and there’s no hope of getting any of these things done.
Sound familiar? That’s okay because it happens to everyone.
Everyone faces the same challenges. Finding the time, knowing what to do, and doing it.
Let’s start with a few baby steps to get you some momentum.
Here are a few things you can do right now that will help you get your finances under control, so you don’t have to kick anything else under the rug 🙂
You may not think your credit score is important for your long-term goals, but it is. Your credit score alone can save you a ton of money on the biggest purchases when it comes to impacting your interest rate.
Nearly 30% of people have an error on their credit report but don’t know it.
If you’re thinking about buying a house anytime soon, this one thing alone could save you over $100,000 over the lifetime of your mortgage loan.
Nobody likes the thought of checking their credit score… BUT, it’s the one thing you can do right now that can impact your future in a big way.
So, grab your cuppa, open a new tab, and head on over to an easy to use site like Credit Sesame to get your free credit score. We use the service and have nothing but great things to say.
We’re pretty much obsessed with Acorns (and not just because you get $5 for signing up).
Acorns is a simple way to invest spare change digitally. How does that work you might ask? Well, you know when you pay cash, and you get your change back? It’s just like that except when you pay with your debit or credit card, the leftover change you get back is put away in a safe investment account with Acorns.
With the free mobile app Acorns, you can round up your purchases on debit or credit cards and automatically put it towards your long-term goals. The best part is that since there are no restrictions on when you can pull your money out, you can use the account to save for big goals like a downpayment on a house or your next summer vacation.
Just for a quick overview, say you connect your debit card and make a purchase for 9.95. The free app Acorns would round up your purchase and set aside 5 cents into an account automatically.
If you want to sign up, you can get a free $5 bonus (which is awesome, btw!). All you need to do is:
You would be surprised at how quickly the spare change adds up when using Acorns. We have been using it for a little over 6 months and haven’t noticed anything come out of our accounts and have a little over $100. It’s not going to make you a millionaire overnight but remember; these are baby steps 🙂 It’s an easy way to set aside money without even missing it.
There’s plenty of ways you can earn extra money but how many of them can you do right now? Here’s four ideas.
+ Swagbucks: They are famous for rewarding their members with free money (which are called SB’s) just for being apart of their network. You can join for free, and you’ll get a $5 bonus just for taking your first survey. Not bad for a few minutes of your time. You’ll be able to redeem your SB’s for real-world money through Paypal or gift cards to any number of retail outlets like Amazon and Wal-Mart. One reader used his SB’s and saved up points just to buy Christmas presents for his family. Great idea!
+ Ebates: This awesome website basically lets you earn while you shop online. You’ll get points for each purchase you make and they can add up quick. It’s worth setting up an account!
+ InboxDollars: You can earn up to $225 per month to watch videos online. Seriously! How it works is brands sponsor videos that they need see. They want as many people as possible to watch their videos. Each time you watch an ad, you’ll earn a cash credit in your account. The impressive thing is that you get $5 just for signing up.
+ Uber & Lyft: While this isn’t something you can do right this second, it’s an easy way to earn up to $1,200/month. I drove for Uber & Lyft for one month and earned on average $18/hour. The great thing is, it was all on the weekends. No days or weeknight driving. You can get a $175 signup bonus from Uber by using this link once you reach 30 rides. Just click this link to sign up. You can also sign up for Lyft and get some bonuses up to $500. I would sign up for both and run the apps at the same time while you’re driving to maximize your rides. Sign up for Lyft by clicking here.
This step could substantially lower your student loan payments and save you ALOT of money each month.
Most of us are drowning in student loan debt. If you do have debt, you may want to consider refinancing it through a third party lender.
Our favorite tool for refinancing your student loans is LendEdu. It is completely free to see what rates you qualify for and takes less than 5 minutes.
Best part? People who refinance with LendEdu on average save $13,676 over the lifetime of their loan… In the end, if you choose not to go through with anything, there is no obligation on your end and it does not impact your credit at all. To see what rates you qualify for click here.
There are a lot of cool apps when it comes to investing but none like the Robinhood app.
Robinhood is an easy to use app that understands that not everyone wants to get a masters degree to learn how to investing. The app is available for both Android and Apple and is straightforward and fun to use. The great thing is you don’t have to have a lot of cash, just the amount you want to buy a stock with.
In fact, you can get a free share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free when you join.
Once you get your account, you can get another free share of stock by recommending it to your friends. To claim your bonus, click here.
Are you still paying for Netflix, even though you use your roommate’s account now? Or paying for Spotify Premium — but always using Pandora instead?
You’d be surprised how easily those recurring expenses can slip your mind! They can add up and eat away at your bottom line throughout the year.
You can use the new (free) iOS app Trim to find your forgotten subscriptions and cancel them.
The app can help you cut spending other ways, too, by negotiating with your service providers to lower your monthly bills. Plus, it tracks your spending, so you’ll see what habits might be blowing your budget.
With your expenses under control, the app also lets you set up an automated savings account, to set aside a few dollars every week or month toward your savings goals.
To connect your accounts and find your wasteful expenses this week, download Trim for iOS.
A great way to boost your savings and earn some money is to sell your stuff that you don’t use or need anymore. When we were in the process of paying off our $50,000 of student loans, this helped us tremendously.
There’s a great app called Decluttr that makes selling your old stuff easy. Decluttr is a lot easier than selling through other places like Ebay and Craigslist.
Declutter lets you upload all your old images at once, send your stuff to Decluttr for free and get paid cash within a day, once they accept your order.
You can also sell your old college textbooks while you’re at it with BookScouter. You can find the best-paying buyback companies with one click. Just enter the ISBN and off you go. This is a great way to earn extra cash.
With most companies offering prepaid shipping you have nothing to loose. You’ll be receiving money in your Paypal account in no time.
Understanding everything as a whole is one of the most important steps in getting your finances in order.
We (along with everyone else) absolutely love using Personal Capital to keep track of everything.
Personal Capital manages all your credit, debit, and loans in one place so you can track your true net worth. We loved tracking our net worth while paying off our $50,000 of debt and it was such a motivator to keep pushing for our goal.
To set up an account, you connect the credit cards or loans you want to be listed, then go about spending money (smartly) as you always do and monitor your balances and net worth all in one place.
Personal Capital also has a retirement feature, so no matter what your goal, it makes it easy to see how you can reach it.
Personal Capital is our #1 tool that we recommend to help manage your finances like a pro, and it’s not just because it’s free. To claim our exclusive deal to set up a free account click here.
If you implement these things you’ll be well on your way to financial freedom.
Also published on Medium.
Zack is one of the co-founders of FreeUp and is in charge of setting the strategy for the blog and managing the day-to-day operations. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome blog content, he likes to geek out about global affairs, ride motorcycles and can probably be found hiking somewhere during his days off.
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