7 Simple Moves You Can Make To Improve Your Finances in 2019
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It’s hard to believe, but a new year is upon us. Many people want to improve their finances this year, but few will achieve their goal. Life gets busy and people think they don’t have what it takes to improve their finances.
You might feel this way. You may have even heard that there are simple money moves you can make, but don’t believe you can make them.
I used to be there myself and thought it was pointless to start. Then, I learned there are many ways to improve your finances that require little to no work. Before I knew it, I was building the confidence I needed to tackle bigger things.
If you don’t know where to begin or how to start, here are seven super simple money moves you can make to rock your finances in 2019.
1. kill your debt
I hate debt. I also hate the high-interest rate many banks charge on debt. The first thing I did when paying off debt was lower the interest rate on my credit cards so more of my payments would go against the debt.
This let me kill my debt for good and begin the process of growing my wealth. The best way to lower your interest rate is to consolidate your debt with a personal loan. In many cases this lets you slash your rate by half or more so more of your payment goes toward your debt.
Lightstream is a great option if you have good credit, which is a score of 720 or above.
Avant is a good option if your credit score is lower, but at least 580 or above.
You can also compare lenders to find the best rate/fit possible. Even Financial lets you compare up to 17 lenders to find the best loan for your situation. It takes less than a minute to fill out the application, and within a few minutes they provide possible matches.
If you’d rather have someone manage repayment for you, Tally is a good option. Tally is a service that uses a lower interest rate line of credit to repay your credit cards. They ensure your payments hit your cards on time, going towards the highest rate option to pay off the debt quicker.
If you’re paying off debt, know that 2019 can be the year you become debt-free!
2. Start Investing
Investing in the stock market is one of the best ways to grow your money. However, many are overwhelmed and don’t start, or think they need a lot of money to start investing.
If you feel that way, there are tools to help you start investing today. Ally Invest lets you start investing with no minimum balance requirement and has many free tools that help you construct a portfolio.
Do you want to start investing but are new to it, or have no idea where to start? Betterment is a great option. Betterment is a robo-advisor, which means they manage your investing for you. You tell them your goals, and they set up your investments to reach that goal.
Like Ally Invest, Betterment has no minimum balance requirement and they have incredibly low fees.
Do you have a 401(k) and wonder if it’s really doing what you want? 401(k) plans aren’t always the easiest to understand, and you may be paying too much in fees.
Blooom is an app that analyzes your 401(k), looks for fee-cutting opportunities and even manages your plan, if you like. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your goals.
Blooom also offers a free 401(k) account analysis.
3. Make Money in Your Free Time
Many love the idea of making extra money in their free time but don’t know where to start. Mystery shopping is a great way to make money in your free time, doing something you’re already doing anyway.
With mystery shopping you report back to a retailer about customer service, a product you buy, or something else. This can involve anything from buying a meal to getting an oil change.
Jobs2Shop connects you with mystery shopping opportunities. They pay up to $85 per shop, and you often get reimbursed by the retailer for your expense.
You can even make extra money when you’re watching TV, or waiting at the doctor’s office. The best way to do this is by taking short surveys.
Here are a few of our favorite survey sites:
- Survey Junkie – Survey Junkie is one of the most popular survey sites on the web. You answer short surveys, and they send you cash via PayPal. It’s that simple.
- Pinecone Research: They pay $3 per survey in cash directly to your PayPal account, or you can choose Amazon or restaurant gift cards. They also pay to do product testing.
- VIP Voice – VIP Voice pays you to take surveys, but they also offer focus group opportunities. This lets you give direct feedback to companies about their products or services. You can earn up to $100 per focus group.
You won’t get rich quick with surveys, but it can be a great way to build up a little extra spending money or pad your savings account.
4. Cut the cord
The easiest way to improve your finances this year is by cutting the cord. There’s no reason to spend $110+ per month for cable, which is the national average.
I avoided cutting the cord for years, and thankful we finally did three years ago. We now save nearly $90 per month and still get all the shows we want (including sports!)
The best alternatives to cable let you save at least $50 per month and get 50+ channels, plus a DVR. Many options also provide a free 7-day trial to test out the service.
Do you have a high priced phone contract? You can save big money and get the same quality service by getting rid of your contract. Mint Mobile is one great option that works on the T-Mobile service, plus you can bring your own phone.
Get three months for the price of one during the month of February. You get unlimited talk and text, plus 8 GB of data per month for just $20.
5. Super Charge Your Savings
Savings accounts have been paying horrible interest rates for years. Why save money when you’re getting paid .01 percent? Thankfully, interest rates are heading in the right direction, making it more beneficial to save money.
Barclays, for example, pays 2.20 percent on your cash (22x the national average) and has no minimum balance requirement.
Saving money can be a challenge when most experts recommend you save at least three to six months worth of expenses for emergencies. Don’t let that stop you!
Most people can’t handle an emergency of $400 and get trapped in the cycle of debt when they have to scramble to find the money to cover them.
I don’t care if you can only save $5 per month. The point is to start. Give yourself a small, quantifiable goal and use it to motivate you to save.
6. lose weight
You may not realize it, but your health has a direct link to your finances. The poorer your health, the more likely you are to have increased health care costs. Losing weight, of course, can improve your health and, as a result, your finances now and in the future.
This is the situation I faced several years ago. I had always struggled with my weight and knew I had to make a change. I was turning 40 and knew that continuing to carry excess weight was only going to negatively impact my health and my wallet.
I turned to Nutrisystem and over the course of 15 months, lost 100 pounds! It took a lot of hard work, but was well worth it in the long run. Not only have I improved my health and decreased my health care costs, it also means I feel better.
This makes me more productive, and more effective in reaching my goals. If you want to get in better shape this year, there are many ways to save on Nutrisystem. Below are their best deals to save money:
- 50% off for the first two weeks – includes 7 free snacks or shakes plus free shipping
- 50% off any plan for the first two weeks PLUS DNA testing kit
- $100 off Nutrisystem plan
- 40% off any Nutrisystem plan
- $80 off Nutrisystem Uniquely Yours
- 40% off Nutrisystem Diabetes plan
Losing weight feels impossible. It’s not. Not only do you feel better as a result, it’s also very likely you will improve your finances as a result.
7. Monitor Your Credit
Monitoring your credit is something we know we should do, but often overlook it. If hackers have stolen your personal information and used it, you know just how vital it is to check your credit on a regular basis.
We have family members who’ve had their information compromised in the past year, so I know how important it is to monitor your credit.
We use Credit Sesame to monitor our credit score as it updates fairly instantly and regularly. There are other resources you can use to stay on top of your credit, but using a service like Credit Sesame will instantly alert you if something is wrong.
Each of these moves is ones you can make today, and most require little effort.
Improving your finances can seem overwhelming, but by taking small steps, you can build the confidence you need to make 2019 the best financial year of your life.
What are some other simple money moves you can make today? How are you going to improve your finances this year?
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.
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