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25 Ways to Get Your Finances Back on Track Right Now

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Want to get your finances back on track this summer? Here are 25 ways to save or make more money this summer that will help you reach your goals by the end of the year.

Before I began paying off my debt, I was constantly reminded of one thing – I was stuck in a vicious cycle. No sooner did breathing room appear than it would vanish into thin air. Payday came and went, and all my money was gone. I thought I couldn’t break the cycle and that debt was a normal part of life. I saw it as a kid with my parents and thought everyone did it.

Little did I realize there are simple ways to get your finances back on track. Many of these ways are relatively simple and give a boost to your finances.

If you need to get your finances back on track and want to kill debt, save more money, or make more money it is possible. You don’t need to be an expert to accomplish on the below list, you simply need to pick something and start.

Here are 25 ways to get your finances back on track and reach your money goals.

ways to save and get your finances back on track

 

1. Cut Cable

 

Do you still have cable? If so, you’re overlooking a huge savings opportunity! The average cable bill is $110 per month and I regularly speak with people who spend $150+ per month.

We canceled DirecTV over two years ago and now save $90 per month. You can cut cable and still get all the shows you want, plus save $50+ per month.

You will need a streaming option to do this. Hulu with Live TV is a great option for streaming needs. Hulu Live offers 60+ channels for just $39.99 per month.

Start with their free 7-day trial to see how the service works for you.

Afraid you might lose out by giving up bundle pricing? Check out our guide on how to get Internet without cable or a phone line to see how to save money without the bundle.

2. lower your car insurance

 

When was the last time you compared your auto insurance rate against other providers? Forbes reports that nearly 40 percent of drivers haven’t compared rates in the past three years and nearly 20 percent have never compared rates.

If that describes you then you’re likely leaving hundreds of dollars on the table each year. We all must have auto insurance but there’s no reason to pay more than you need to.

Comparing rates helps you determine if you’re paying for something you don’t need, or simply have too much coverage – both of which will result in you spending too much each month.

Compare rates at Allstate to see how much money you can on your auto insurance needs and still have the vital coverage you need. The average driver saves over $350 per year when they switch.

3. Change Cell Phone Providers

 

How much is your monthly cell phone bill? If it’s more than $30 or $40 then you’re overpaying. Just like with cord-cutting, there’s no longer a need to pay a big phone company $100+ per month for your needs.

Republic Wireless is a great option for a discount cell provider. They operate on the Sprint network and offer unlimited talk and text plans that start at $15 per month.

If you want data, they charge $5 per GB per month.

4. never spend a $5 bill

 

This is a newer trick we’ve learned to save money. If you use cash on a regular basis, save every $5 bill you receive. When you get 20 $5 bills, trade it in at the bank for a $100 bill.

Having a large bill makes it mentally more difficult to spend, so you end up saving money quicker. If you think it will take you too long to save up 20 bills, go for 10 and trade it in for a $50 bill.

Investing and Growing Your Money

5. Open an IRA

 

Are you currently saving for retirement or does it seem so far off that you think starting now won’t make a difference? Don’t believe that lie. You can invest with little money now.

You just need to start. There are many online brokerages out there that simplify investing for you.

Ally Invest is an example. Ally Invest offers trades as low as $3.95 (the lowest in the industry) and has a variety of free tools to help you get on the right track with your investing.

6. Find one way to make extra money

 

We hear a lot about side hustles. It’s for good reason as they can be a great way to bring in additional income. The side hustle my wife started eight years ago has turned into a business and we’ve more than replaced our income as a result.

There are many ways out there to make more money – regardless of your skill level. Below are a few ways to make extra money with little specialized skill:

  • Deliver meals with UberEats. If you’re at least 19 years old, have a government-issued ID (or valid driver’s license for a car), have access to a car, bike, or scooter, and pass a background check, you can set your own schedule. This is a great side hustle that’s flexible and lets you make good money.
  • Drive for Lyft. The ridesharing industry is a great way to make extra money to pay off student loans. If you’re at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, have a newer car, and can pass a background check you can drive for Lyft. They also offer a $250 sign on bonus!
  • Be a grocery shopper with Instacart Shopper. With Instacart Shopper you basically act as a personal shopper for people who want grocery delivery. You can either work solely at a store, or deliver groceries to people. Shoppers can make up to $20 per hour with Instacart Shopper.

There are many ways to bring in additional income. Here are 51 ways to make extra money you can start today.

7. monetize your down time

 

How much time do you spend watching TV each day? Do you have a long commute on public transportation?

Did you know you can use that time to make extra money? The best way to do this is through online surveys. There are many legit survey companies that let you make money while watching TV or sitting at the doctor’s office.

Here are some of the best survey sites to make money on the side:

Survey Junkie: This is our favorite survey site. They pay you cash straight to PayPal or let you redeem rewards for Amazon gift cards. Check out our Survey Junkie review to see how you can make money with this top survey site.

Pinecone Research: This site pays $3 per survey and you can choose between PayPal, Amazon or restaurant gift cards for your payment. They also pay to do product testing

Global Test Market: Global TestMarket lets you make money for testing products and also asks for feedback on products you already use around your home.

Global TestMarket has paid out over $30 million in earnings since 2016. You can redeem earnings as cash to PayPal or as gift cards.

Inbox Dollars: Earn money for taking surveys, watching TV or making purchases online. Get $5 just for signing up.

Surveys will not replace your income but they can be a good way to pad your savings account in your spare time.

8. Check on your 401(k)

 

When was the last time you checked in on your 401(k)? 401(k) plans are great but it’s also easy to miss out on opportunities to cut down fees or find a better performing fund that’s more in line with your goals.

Blooom is a great resource to check up on the investments in your 401(k). Blooom analyzes the investments in your 401(k) and looks for lower cost alternatives so you’re not wasting money that otherwise could be working for you.

Blooom offers a free 30-day trial, then is $10 per month after that.

9. Open a savings account

 

A savings account is the best way to start saving, especially when you set up automatic transfers to it on a regular basis. If you don’t have a savings account, consider opening one to get your finances back on track.

CIT Bank is a great option. CIT Bank pays 1.55 percent on your savings (22x the national average), or 1.85 percent if you open a Money Market account. Both have a minimum balance requirement of just $100.

10. Make more money at your job

 

Side hustles are a great way to make money. However, you shouldn’t overlook the opportunity staring you in the face – and that’s at your day job.

Can you volunteer for overtime? Can you take on additional duties? Not only can that be a great way to bring in more money, but you can also grow professionally.

11. Have a short-term savings goal

 

Many struggle to save for long-term needs, or simply save for a long period of time. Instead, make a goal to save a certain amount of money each week or month for the next three months.

Earn 15 Times More on Your Savings!
CIT Bank pays 1.85% interest on your money market balance and charges no fees, which helps you save more money faster.

Enjoy quick and easy access to your money, which is FDIC insured up to $250K. Start saving today with as little as $100!

Use the momentum to build your savings and bonus points for challenging yourself to save even more – the goal, after all, is to change your behavior towards saving.

Budgeting and Debt

 

12. Cut one bill

 

How many memberships or subscriptions do you use each month? Do you have any that you don’t use? If so, that’s wasted money you can easily reclaim with little effort.

I know calling to cancel subscriptions can be a hassle. It takes time and you may overlook a subscription or two.

Trim helps you by canceling old subscriptions for you. Trim is a free to use app that connects to your bank account to analyze your spending. It identifies subscriptions and memberships and cancels the ones you no longer use.

Trim also works to negotiate bills on your behalf so you can keep more money in your pocket.

13. Lower your mortgage payment

 

How much is your mortgage payment? Have you taken advantage of the low rates to refinance and lower your payment? If not, you’re overlooking a simple way to save money.

Rates are going up, but they’re still low, historically speaking. Check your rate at LendingTree to see how much you can lower your mortgage interest rate.

You can compare up to five lenders and have results within minutes.

14. Consolidate your credit card debt

 

If you have credit card debt you know just how suffocating the interest can be. The average APR on a variable rate card is almost 16 percent – and many are significantly higher than that.

Assuming you’ve cut the behavior that led to the credit card debt in the first place, you can save a good chunk of money by consolidating your outstanding balances into a lower rate loan.

Online lenders like Best Egg can help you slash that rate in half or more so you can pay off the debt quicker. You can have the funds within one day by refinancing through Best Egg, and repay with a three or five year loan.

You can get rates as low as 5.99 percent with Best Egg, though that will require a minimum credit score of 700 and income of $100,000, among other requirements.

Check your rate at Best Egg to see how much you can save on your debt payments.

15. Start Tracking Your Spending

 

I’m not talking about the “B” word here. Budgets may not work for everyone, and that’s fine. However, there is immense power in tracking your spending as it shows you where your money goes each month.

You can simply write down each expense, use Excel, or use an app to track your spending. Tracking your spending sounds difficult, but it’s pretty simple, especially with an app that automates everything for you.

Tiller is a great service to track your expenses. The service connects to your bank and other financial accounts and automatically pulls all of your transactions and puts them in a Google Sheet. This lets you go through your spending and find potential savings opportunities.

Tiller offers a free trial for the first 30 days, and is then $5 per month if you decide to keep the service.

16. Refinance your student loans

 

Did you recently graduate with student loans, or have you been paying on them for several years? You know how staggering the debt can be and feel like you’ll never be free of the loans. The best way to pay them off quicker is to consolidate or refinance the loans.

Credible is the best option to use to compare multiple lenders. Credible lets you check rates with up to seven lenders at once, allowing you to get results within a few minutes – with rates as low as 2.54 percent on variable loans and 3.74 percent on fixed loans.

The average person who uses Credible saves nearly $19,000 on their loans. Check your rate today!

17. Leave the credit card at home

 

Does having a credit card in your wallet tempt you to spend money you don’t have? There’s a simple solution – leave the credit card at home and stop racking up debt.

18. Take inventory

 

Think of this as the precursor to consolidating your credit card or student loan debt. Sit down and list out all of your debts, the interest rates, balances and minimum monthly payments to see where you stand financially.

This allows you to know what you’re up against and form an effective plan of attack.

Save Money on Food Costs

 

19. Get money back when you buy groceries

 

How much do you spend at the grocery store each week? You know you can get cash back on that shopping.

I’m not talking about clipping coupons, but actually getting cash back for what you buy. With the Ibotta app you can get money back on all your shopping.

The Ibotta app shows you offers based on your location and the store you’re shopping at. Do your shopping, buying the offers you selected and scan your receipt to get your savings. Ibotta also works at over 300 online retailers so it doesn’t just work on groceries.

The best part of using Ibotta? They have a redemption minimum of just $20 (payable via PayPal or Venmo) and they give you $10 just for claiming your first offer!

20. Start a meal plan

 

I hate food waste. We average over $500 in food waste per person, per year. That’s literally like throwing cash in the trashcan. A simple way to lower this is to start meal planning so you can shop wiser at the store.

A service like $5 Meal Plan can help you come up with meal plans that everyone in your family will like and also help cut down on food waste.

21. Buy generic

 

This is a no-brainer and a great way to save money. In many instances generic is quite a bit cheaper and of similar quality.

Find what you like that’s generic and put the savings towards something else in your budget.

22. Stop eating out

 

Eating out is fun, but it can get expensive. The average family spends at least $225 per month eating out at restaurants. That may seem like nothing, but taken over a year it comes out to $2,700 – that’s nearly half of the amount needed to max out a Roth IRA.

Find a way to cut that in half, or more, and put that money to work for you, not against you.

Want to get your finances back on track this summer? Here are 25 ways to save or make more money this summer that will help you reach your goals by the end of the year.

Around the House

 

23. Sell something

 

How much stuff do you have lying around the house that you don’t use? Why sit on those items when you can turn them into cash? This is especially the case if you have items like old cell phones, games, movies and more.

Gazelle is a great option to sell those items. You scan the barcode on their site and they tell you how much it’s worth. If you accept the offer, they send you a shipping label and once they receive the item you get paid.

Have Apple products? Check out BuyBack Boss as a good alternative.

24. Create a visual reminder of your debt

 

Are you currently paying off debt? Make yourself something visual to have around the house to keep you on track. I did something similar when I was paying off debt and it helped me when I wanted to give up. Start with the amount you currently have and draw a progress bar going to $0.

Each time you throw more money at the debt fill it in. I found this was a great way to keep me motivated to continue attacking the debt.

25. Fix something around the house

 

I’m not very good with my hands, but I learned one thing quickly when we became homeowners – it’s expensive to hire someone to fix something for you.

With the abundance of tutorials online you can do many things around the house and save a chunk of money in the process. I mean, really, do you want to pay someone $200 to fix something that requires a $10 part?

There are many other simple ways to get your finances back on track. Find a few that you can do. Don’t give up because you think they won’t do anything for your finances. Each step you take will help you reach your goal of better managing your money.

 

What are some other ways to get your finances back on track this year? What’s a new way you’ve found to save money recently? Do you assign savings from certain items to specific goals?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

20 Comments

  • I have this theory that everyone has to live within an allotted amount each month, some people have a larger amount and a looser budget but they still have to live within that amount unless they want to go into debt.

    So a CPA might live on $10,000/month, while a CSR might live on $2000/month. They still have to live within the amount that they earn each month. Anyway I think Personal Capital is great to track your money. I love it.

  • Great list! One way to increase our income that we overlooked for a long time was to change to a different employer. That seems to be the new protocol for growing a career. Of course you can’t do this every season but if you haven’t thought about it’s a good time to start looking.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Completely agreed Kalie. We’ve had numerous friends do this over the past several years. It doesn’t make sense that a firm would put the investment into someone and let them walk but it can turn out quite well income wise.

  • Great ideas here! I think if you can focus on finances in the summer, you are ahead of the game. People tend to spend too much during these months, in my experience!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Natalie. I’ve seen the same exact thing and then they just give up at the end of the summer because the year is over 1/2 over and the cycle just builds on itself.

  • Some fantastic ideas! I agree that I don’t typically promote no-spend months. However, as I am moving this month, I am really trying to spend less on everyday items because that’s one less thing I have to move! We are definitely eating out of the pantry this month.

  • I tracked every dollar I spent for the first time last month and it was really eye-opening. It showed me that I spend way too much money on takeout food. This month, I am definitely doing more grocery shopping and home cooking. I agree that everyone should track their expenses for at least one month to really see where his/her money is going.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good for you Aliyyah! It really can be eye-opening, especially when you don’t stop to realize it. But, that savings is nice when you make the change.

  • This is a great list 🙂 I agree that budgets don’t work for everyone – my husband really struggles to keep to a strict budget so does a loose one x

  • Terrific list! We don’t use a set budget, but track the heck out of our expenses and gauge spending from there.

    I appreciate the reminder to start shopping for the holidays now – something I haven’t even considered but the year is flying by and that time will approach quickly!

  • I love it when I’m able to do a low-stress repair around the home. I’m not going to lie – multiple times I’ve bit off more than I can chew and it’s always stressful to call someone in and get the job done. But over the past few months I’ve replaced a part on our dishwasher and fixed our renter’s toilet. Pretty big wins if you ask me!

  • This is an awesome list John! We actually decided to sell a bunch of things from our basement and garage this summer, mostly because they are cluttering things but secondly because my son surprisingly made a premier soccer team and we hadn’t budgeted for the team fees so we thought a good way to get some cash would be to sell a number of items that now have dust on them from sitting around our house for over four years. Looking forward to the extra money but mostly the extra space. 🙂

  • Planning is really imporant as budgeting. I plan every meal and expense I do on a weekly basis. Plans are what make this journey with direction.

  • Dan Ware says:

    SO MANY good reminders in this list…writing down the debt graph that will hopefully end in ZERO eventually is just one more visual aid that spurs us on to victory 😆

  • Jackie says:

    I just dropped to the lowest Dish package – welcome pack. Gives me network and a few other things for $23 per month. We have Netflix and Amazon for movies and better series. We live in the country so could not do over the air antenna. We are not big sports people, so it works for us.

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