Is your money working for you? Really, truly, working on your behalf?
If you’ve yet to take any of these six steps to strengthen your personal finances, you can’t honestly answer that question in the affirmative. In other words, you’re leaving money on the table every day you leave this list incomplete.
The good news: You don’t need to block out your entire calendar to get this done. You can complete most of the one-off items on this list in less than an hour. Those requiring ongoing attention are easy enough to incorporate into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine.
Ready to strengthen your personal finances? Let’s dive in.
1. Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Many savings accounts aren’t worth your time or money. So, look for a high-yield savings account paying interest well above the rates offered by big banks, which tend to shortchange depositors. Keep tabs on benchmark rates to avoid surprises.
2. Use a High-Yield Money Market Account for Major One-Off Expenses
Your high-yield savings account is great for balances you don’t expect to touch anytime soon. What about savings that you do expect to need sooner rather than later — perhaps to fund big, one-off purchases like a vacation or home repair project?
For that, you’ll want a high-yield money market account from a top-rated bank like Dallas-based NexBank. Many money market accounts come with checking-like features, such as debit cards and paper checks, which makes it easier to disburse payments to your handyman or airline.
3. Use a Budgeting App
Use a free budgeting app to stay on top of your day-to-day and monthly finances. Spreadsheets are confusing and cumbersome to navigate on a small screen. Why not use a solution that puts your entire financial profile in the palm of your hand?
4. Don’t Overuse Credit Cards (And Never Carry a Balance Outside a 0% APR Period)
Above all else, don’t carry credit card balances if you can avoid doing so (emergencies notwithstanding). The one exception: 0% APR periods, when interest is deferred on purchases and/or balance transfers.
Otherwise, use credit cards sparingly, taking care to keep your credit utilization rate in check. This from Experian, a credit reporting bureau, is a great overview of the concept of credit utilization (and how it may impact your credit score).
5. Open a No-Commission Investment Account (No Matter How Much You Have to Invest)
Tired of paying investing commissions? You don’t have to. Move your money to a no-commission account and say goodbye to those pesky trading fees.
6. Cut Out the Little Things You Can Do Without
We’re looking at you, morning latte. And you, little-watched streaming subscription. Regular budget audits can do wonders for your bottom line.
Is Your Money Working Hard Enough?
Now that you’ve crossed off each of these to-dos, you’re in a stronger position than before, and better equipped to face the inevitable fiscal roadblocks that life will throw your way.
You might not notice the difference today, this week, or even next month. But it’s real. And it’s all because you stepped up and declared, “I work hard for my money. Why shouldn’t it work hard for me?”
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