You can improve your finances even if you don’t have a lot of extra time or money. In fact, the busier you are the more important it is to get your finances in order. You won’t need to clear you schedule to do this. Some of these ideas are ones you can do while you wait for your kid at practice or on your lunch break. Sound good? Here are some tips you can implement today that will help improve your finances in less than an hour.
Do you know your credit score? I watch mine like Gollum protects the precious. While you don’t need to go that far it is really important for everyone to take a look. Most large purchases will require financing. It is difficult to pay for a car or home with cash. Your credit score is used to determine if lenders think you are a good risk or a bad risk when you apply for a loan. Some employers check this too so even if you don’t use credit it is important to know.
If your credit score is good or excellent (700+) you will get the best interest rates available. If it is lower you will be charged higher interest rates for the same amount of money. This is something you can improve once you know where you stand today.
While it will take more time to improve your credit score if it is poor or average knowing what it is will get you started. There are services that provide your scores for free like Credit Karma or you are entitled to a free credit report annually according to Federal law. Remember, if you aren’t paying for a product you are the product. Sites that provide the scores for free on a more frequent basis will advertise on the site with financial products that they feel will benefit you based on your information. I don’t mind this because it lets me check mine whenever I want without paying.
Put Your Bills on Autopilot
Ever get so busy that you miss a payment on your bills or credit card? This happened to me when I was on maternity leave. I didn’t know what day of the week it was let alone when my bills came in. Newborns that sleep strange hours can do a number on the most organized person’s schedule. My credit card payment was not delivered on it’s due date.
Due to this oversight the company moved me to the “default” interest rate that was over 20 percent and hit me with a late fee. Luckily I got an email notification about it so I acted quickly. Taking 5 minutes to call the credit card company got my interest rate moved back down the previous rate. By explaining my situation and enrolling in auto-pay I saved money and time.
If you know when you get paid it makes sense to put all of your bills on automatic payment. The average adult makes over 35,000 decisions a day. Having my bills on auto-pilot takes those decisions off of my plate and allows me to focus on other things.
If you don’t get paid every two weeks and have irregular income set a reminder in your phone to check your bills and due dates. This will keep you from missing something. You can also set notifications through most lenders if getting an email or text will keep you from being late.
The first thing I did when I started my year long shopping ban was unsubscribe to every store email that I was getting. There were over 100 by the time I was done. Next time you get one take my advice and hit unsubscribe. Go shopping when you need something and not because a retailer told you to. If you miss a sale you will survive.
Ever look at something that has had tags on it for a year and wonder “why did I buy this”? It was probably a deal – but that money would have been better off staying in your bank account.
Don’t panic – if you are in a store and see something you want it is very easy to find available deals by quickly going to a website like Retail Me Not and finding a coupon. I don’t think it is worth paying full price for anything. However if deals are in your face 24/7 you will spend money on things you don’t need because they are on sale.
These are just a few of my favorite quick ways to improve your finances. Do you have other quick tips that might help readers make improvements on the fly? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.