Financial planning isn’t just for the affluent – everyone has financial goals to achieve every year. Here are six quick things you can do to improve your financial situation.
Each one can easily be done in fifteen minutes and then forgotten about, but over time, these moves will slowly put significant money in your pocket. Think of it as an investment of time that continually pays dividends to your wallet.
1. Request a reduction in your credit card interest rate.
Take your credit card. Flip it over. Call the phone number on the back. Ask to speak to a supervisor (when you finally get to a real person).
Say that you’re considering switching credit cards with a 0% balance transfer and ask if they can reduce your rate to keep you as a customer. It won’t always work, but it’ll work often enough to make it well worth your while.
2. Review your health insurance and other benefit choices at work.
Take a look at what kind of health insurance you chose at work. Do you use it regularly? Would a less expensive option cover you just as well in an emergency? Do the same for your other benefits as well. This is a good time to bump up your 401(k) contribution a bit, too.
3. Sign up for a customer rewards program.
If you shop regularly at a particular store, sign up for their customer rewards program, especially if it’s free. You could get between 10% and 30% off coupons from big brands, and can also get somewhat money in credit too.
Most programs costs nothing, you may get get the coupons in your email, and it takes just a few minutes to sign up. Concerned about spam? Just use a Gmail address for this purpose – it’s free and the spam filtering is impressive.
4. Install a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat lets you define a program for temperature change in your house throughout the day, which basically means your air conditioner and/or furnace won’t run during the day when you’re away from home or during the night when you’re asleep.
This will save drastically on your energy bills. Even better, they’re easy to install if you’re a bit familiar with home electricity – but don’t hesitate to get an electrician to install it for you if you don’t know what you’re doing.
5. Eliminate any monthly bills for items you don’t use.
Still paying for Netflix but haven’t received a new movie in months? Paying for unlimited text messages but only use four or five each month? What about premium movie channels on your cable bill that you maybe watch once every few weeks?
These are pure money wasters, and they’re well worth getting rid of. All you have to do is look at your last month’s worth of checking account statements to identify your regular bills, then eliminate the ones that you’re not using.
Then, look at a few specific bills and eliminate any optional services you’re not using. You could come up an extra $30 a month quite quickly.
6. Sign up for an online savings account and set up an automatic savings plan.
There are a lot of reputable online-only savings accounts out there offering interest rates above 4%. Sign up for one, then set up an automatic savings plan within the account to pull out a small amount from your checking account each week. How much?
Why not just save the amount you’ve saved from these other tips? Let’s say all together, you figure that you’re saving $60 a month from these tips.
Set up a plan to save $15 a week into the account. You won’t notice any difference at all in your day-to-day spending, and at the end of the year, you’ll have about $750 in the account without lifting a finger!
Originally shared on Zen Habits.