One thing we all wish we had a little more of? Time. When we have dozens of tasks fighting for our attention, it’s easy to shove ones concerning finances to the side. The great thing is this: Many tasks that can get you substantially closer to managing your money take less than 10 minutes.
With that in mind, here are 10 things you can do in under 10 minutes to improve your finances.
I’m an amateur personal finance geek.
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Personal Capital Dashboard User, February 2021
1. Unsubscribe from newsletters.
Take a few minutes to go through your inbox and unsubscribe from those eye-catching retail newsletters that entice you with pretty photos and sales promotions. The reason they send those emails is to encourage you to buy something. By hopping off of their list, you are less inclined to make an emotional or impulsive purchase that could lead you to feel shameful and unfulfilled later on.
2. Calculate your debt and start paying off the one with the highest interest.
Grab a piece of paper, start a spreadsheet, open the Notes app on your phone, or use my own recommendation and favorite free financial tool, Personal Capital. Begin organizing your debt by the interest rate, followed by your current balance.
I want to start by saying that we do not want you to go into more debt while paying off debt. So, your number one financial priority will always be your emergency fund, which is 3-6 months of living expenses in a high-yield savings account.
Once that is established, you’re going to start paying off your high-interest debts. These are any debts with interest above 7%. This is typically credit card debt and sometimes even student loans.
3. Apply for a cash-back or travel rewards credit card.
I always say that your credit score is your adult GPA. A great credit score is your window to every financial opportunity. By using a credit card responsibly (aka paying your bills in full, on time, and utilizing 30% or less of your credit limit), you can begin to increase your credit score and set yourself up for better financial opportunities.
By using a credit card with rewards, I can receive cash and travel points for purchases I would be making regardless.
4. Negotiate your monthly bills.
A note: Depending on who you talk to, this one could take you more than 10 minutes, but I would 100% recommend doing this. Simply call your utility companies (I like to do this twice every year) to chat with customer service representatives, highlighting your customer loyalty to get better rates.
5. Calculate your net worth.
Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities — basically, anything that’s of value minus your debt. Personal Capital has a great free tool for helping me do this easily and quickly. Knowing your net worth is the best way to see your full financial picture so you can start making moves.
Read More: The Average Net Worth by Age
6. Pay yourself first.
An easy way to do this is by simply setting up direct deposits so that a portion of your paycheck gets deposited into your high-yield savings account, retirement account, or a low-cost index fund. This means you are making sure you are always working toward those long-term goals, which will be way easier to track when you don’t have to worry about remembering to log in and manually transfer the right amount of money each week or once a month, whatever the case may be.
7. Increase your retirement contributions by 1%.
You may find that you can live with a slightly lower paycheck more easily than you thought. How do you feel? Spoiler: The confidence you experience in knowing you are taking care of your future self lounging on a beach in Cabo may thank you. If you experience this thrill, try increasing your contribution by another 1%.
8. Reflect and goal set.
One of the best things you can do to improve your finances is to reflect on your current habits and write down specific goals for the future. Start by asking yourself why you want to save, pay off debt, and build wealth. After, list out specific goals with time frames for each and calculate how much money you need to save each week (or month) to help you get there.
9. Open a high-yield savings account.
At your current bank, you may be earning .01% interest and your money is simply sitting in a traditional savings account. Seriously, ouch.
Your money could be working so much harder for you. By moving your money into a high-yield saving account, you can quadruple your current earnings in less than 10 minutes.
10. Schedule your first money date.
Once a month, schedule a time for some good ol’ financial self-care. During this time, you’ll make a note of any mindless purchases and how you can avoid making them in the future. You’ll also spend time canceling unwanted or forgotten subscriptions, look for fraud, check your account balances in full, and make sure you are advancing toward your financial goals. By using Personal Capital, I am able to see all of my accounts in one place, so it makes my money date go a lot faster.
My challenge to you is to pick one or two of these and try them out this month. Notice if they make you feel more in control of your money and more confident that you’ll reach your financial goals. I have a feeling the answer may be yes.
Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here. The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.