7 ways to improve your finances in 1 week
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It doesn’t take an advanced degree or an appointment with a financial advisor to improve your finances. It also doesn’t have to take months or years on end to see big improvements. In fact, all you really need is to sit down and make a few decisions about what you’d like to change— namely, how you’d like to spend and save your money differently.
Here are seven things you can do right now (yes, really) to improve your finances in one week.
Start tracking your expenses
One of the best ways to get your spending under control is to start tracking where your money goes. Once you see how much of your monthly income goes towards dining out or buying stuff you don’t strictly need...you’ll have a better idea of how to save.
Cutting back on extra expenses will also allow you to dedicate more of your income to long term goals, like that round-the-world trip of a lifetime, or being able to make a down payment on your dream home. Top-rated money management apps like Mint and Pocketguard can help get you started.
Unsubscribe from tempting emails
Even if you know how your spending habits could be improved, it’s hard to make changes when the latest deals and flash sales are constantly flooding your inbox. Do yourself a favor and hit “unsubscribe” (at least temporarily) the next time your favorite stores send these. With the temptation removed, it will be a lot easier to make a budget and stick to it.
Check your credit score
Another great way to better understand your finances is by checking your credit score. Since this is how banks assess your financial stability (and decide if you should be approved for a new loan or credit card), it’s an important number to be aware of.
Beyond knowing the score itself, you should also familiarize yourself with how credit scores work— since sometimes there might even be errors on your credit report causing it to appear lower than it should be. If you think an error has been made, be sure to contact your credit reporting agency immediately.
Prioritize paying back debts
Not only will paying back debts improve your credit score, it will also help you free up income to spend or save elsewhere. Credit card debts, student loans, and medical bills can all accrue crazy-high interest rates that end up costing you more in the long run.
Make a list of the debts you owe and start by tackling the bills with the biggest balances and highest interest rates. You’ll see your credit score improve, and eventually be able to use this money for better things than making interest payments.
Open up a high-yield savings account
Having a savings plan in place is an important part of your financial well-being. Unfortunately, a lot of savings accounts tend to charge high fees while also paying out relatively low interest rates. So how do you make more money on your investment? By opening up a high-yield savings account. These savings accounts actually make your money work for you, and many of them even forgo those pesky fees.
Make sure your retirement is on track
Most financial experts tend to agree that you should be saving at least 10-15% of your income for retirement, but how you get there depends entirely on you. If you work with a company that offers a 401k match program, be sure you’re taking full advantage of it— after all, that’s free money from your employer.
If you’re a contractor working for yourself, you might consider opening up a Roth IRA— which allows you to invest several thousand dollars per year towards your retirement. The best part about these accounts? Since the money you put in has already been taxed, you won’t pay another dime when you go to withdraw those funds someday.
Create an emergency fund
One more easy and fast way to improve your finances asap is to open an emergency fund. Another savings account? Yep. But this one will really come in handy the day a big nasty bill comes along that you can’t afford.
We’re talking about medical bills, vet bills, funds to support your family during unemployment or other hardships...really any sort of emergency that couldn’t have been predicted. Having an emergency fund is a must for those rainy-day expenses, and knowing that you have one will offer peace of mind as you work towards improving your finances.
Don’t wait any longer to start tackling your financial goals. From paying off debts to changing the way you spend and save, there are a lot of things you can do right now to improve your standing with banks and start saving for the things that matter most.