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Listen. Not all of us are as organized as we’d like to be, especially when it comes to money.
Your bills come in, and you stick them in the junk drawer — or let them pile up in your inbox. You’ll find them later. And you keep meaning to create a budget so you can track your spending, but that’s going to take at least a million years to nail down… Oh, and your lingering debt and less-than-satisfactory credit score? It’s easier to just look the other way.
In some areas of your life, you can manage to get by with a dash of disorganization and a scoop of procrastination, but when it comes to your money, you don’t want to put it off.
That’s why we put together a seven-day money challenge so you can get your finances in order. It’s super easy and painless — and, hey, you might even be able to knock a few days’ worth of tips out today.
Day 1: Make a Budget That Works for YOU
That’s right. We said it. It’s time you make a budget. But before your inner toddler comes out and you pitch a fit (I mean, we’ve all been there), know that budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated.
One of our favorite budgeting strategies is the 50/20/30 method. It’s super straightforward and easy to tailor to your lifestyle. Here’s the 50/20/30 breakdown:
- 50% of your income goes toward essentials.
- 20% goes toward financial goals.
- 30% goes toward personal spending.
Once you get the hang of it, feel free to adjust the ratios as you need. For example, some people live in big cities and need more money to go toward essentials (housing). Other people might be sitting on a mound of debt and need to budget some extra money for financial goals.
Take some time to figure out what works best for YOU.
Day 2: Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
When you think about your credit card debt, you probably feel a little anxious — maybe even a lot anxious. It gets stressful keeping track of the balances, minimum monthly payments and super-high interest rates.
While you’re over here stressing out about your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off the interest you pay. But a company called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one (organized!) bill to pay every month. And because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 3.84% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the stress that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
Day 3: See If There Are Any Hidden Errors on Your Credit Report
When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car. And if you have an error on your credit report (one out of five reports do), that could stand in your way — without you even realizing it.
Hey, we get it, though. Checking your credit isn’t at the top of your to-do list — where do you even start? — but a free website called Credit Sesame makes it easy to detect any errors. If you find any, it will even help you dispute them.
Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report this way. Using Credit Sesame, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.*
Now she and her husband feel like they’re in a better position for their biggest goal — purchasing a house.
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
Day 4: Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at $5/Month
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’d pay the bills? Send the kids through school? It’s easy to procrastinate, but now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you could leave your family $1 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at just $5 a month, and you can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
Day 5: Knock $55/Month Off Your Car Insurance in 2 Minutes
When it comes to your monthly bills, it’s easy to shove them in the junk drawer. You’ll pay them later. But when’s the last time you did a monthly bill audit? Yup — it’s time you go through your monthly bills and see if you can save money.
Here’s an easy one to start with: Car insurance. You should be shopping your options every six months or so. It could save you some serious money. But what a hassle, right?
Thankfully, a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.
All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.
The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.
If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.
Day 6: Have a Huge Bonfire
Chances are, you’ve got a bunch of boxes and folders full of financial paperwork you don’t need anymore. It’s likely from years ago or simply not needed — just electric bills collecting dust.
Go through these boxes and folders and find what you do need. Scan those documents and save them in a secure file on your computer.
The rest? Eliminate all the physical and mental clutter… with a bonfire! It will feel good to burn those superfluous stacks, and you can also use it as an excuse for a fun get-together with your friends.
Once you’re done, say goodbye to extra paper, and sign up for electronic statements on all your accounts to keep your life tidy and organized in the future.
Day 7: Download This App to Get Up to $500 in Free Stock
It’s time to discuss the future. Yup — we’re talking about investing.
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $500!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’re got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
The best part? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
*Like Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
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