10 Steps to Better Finances in Ten Minutes

better finances in ten minutes

One of the things that keeps a lot of people from beginning to get their finances in order is the fear that it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to do so. While it’s certainly true that certain aspects can be time consuming, there are a lot of little steps that anyone can take to help improve finances that take less than ten minutes to accomplish. Here are ten things most can do in just a few minutes that will help get them started on better finances:

Set a Date to Pay Bills

A lot of people have trouble keeping their finances in order and this sometimes leads to financial problems down the road. One of the best ways to improve your finances is to keep everything in order and make smart, timely decisions. Setting a date to pay all your monthly bills is a great way to control your finances. If you know that all your bills are due around the same time of the month, pick a date and sit down to pay them all. If you can’t pay them all at one time, outline a schedule so you know exactly what days you can and will pay them. Sticking to a schedule will help you avoid late fees or missed payments.

Make a List of All Accounts

Make two lists of all your financial accounts. One list should be all bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. List the account number and any important account information. After doing so, make sure this is locked away somewhere safe, such as a locked or password protected safe box. Second, make a list of all credit card accounts, utility accounts, and other monthly expenditures. Take down the account number, the due date of the bill, the grace period, minimum balance requirements, and any remaining important information. These two lists will help you keep track of all accounts and if you ever lose any information, you’ll have everything listed in a safe place.

Opt Out of Pre-Approved Credit Cards

While there are some types of junk mail that pays, that isn’t the case for a lot of it. Almost everyone who has a credit score received pre-approved credit card offers in the mail. They’re annoying and for some people, tempting. They usually come with supposedly great signing bonuses to get you interested, but almost always make their money back in other ways. One of the best things you can do is to opt-out. Visit Opt Out Prescreen to opt-out of credit card and insurance offers and visit DMA Choice to opt-out of junk mail.

Track Your Weekly Spending

Some people forget to track their weekly spending and by the end of the month (or a couple of months), they spend hours trying to figure out where they spent their money. Scheduling a time each week to go over your expenses for a few minutes is a great way to improve your financial outlook. You’ll have a better sense of how money you’re spending and how to improve spending habits. There are also plenty of sites online that you can link to your bank account to track your spending habits such as Mint.

Set Up Automatic Transfers to a Savings Account

Many people complain that they can’t save money because they don’t have money to save. But a lot of those people spend money on frivolous things, and that’s money that could have been put into a savings account. Set up a transfer from your paycheck or checking account to your savings account on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. The amount can vary depending on what you can afford. Setting this up will take barely any time and before you know it, you’ll have money you thought you couldn’t save in your savings.

Freeze Your Credit

If you had a bad financial history, freezing your credit with the three credit bureaus might be the right step to take. Whether you’re freezing your credit history so you’re unable to open new accounts or freezing current credit, this is a quick step that will help set you on the right financial path.

Keep a Change Jar

There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can set aside some time to clean out all spare change from your wallet each week or simply have a jar by the door that you can empty any change in your pockets into as you walk in the door. Or, if you want to go bigger, you can decide to take all $1 or $5 bills out of your wallet instead of coins. Whether it’s dollar bills or change, money adds up quickly. It’ll be a nice stash of money saved away for a rainy day.

Remove Yourself from Mailing Lists

Many of us receive “daily deal” emails from deal sites or stores. Sometimes an email that has SALE in big, flashing letters is hard to resist. Removing yourself from store or website mailing lists will limit the chances of you spending money you don’t have. Not seeing a daily email about a new sale or new great deal is a great way to start improving your financial outlook. Avoid temptation and make your email only for personal or business correspondence.

Set a Monthly Savings Goal

If you’re really intent on saving money, set a monthly goal. It’ll take you barely 10 minutes to figure out how much you want to save and figure out how much you can contribute each day or each week. Once you have a goal to work toward and plan in place, you shouldn’t have any problem reaching that number!

Take an Inventory

A lot of us are guilty of buying things we think we need, when in reality, we already own or it or don’t need it. Spending a little bit of time making an inventory of items you already own or a list of items you definitely do need will help you keep focus. This way you can be financial smart an avoid buying duplicates or items that you don’t actually need.

(Photo courtesy of GabrielaP93)

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3 Responses to 10 Steps to Better Finances in Ten Minutes

  1. Oliver Rueter says:

    I would have to agree with your post. Great you made something like this. But with these tips or steps as you call it the best would be to develop passive income. For me, passive income will be the answer to most of our questions when it comes to handling or even maintaining our finances. A lot of people nowadays stick to their daily jobs but without taking in consideration that they can create another income. Some blogger nowadays are embarking their time to it and to be honest they earn more than what most employees or executives are earning.

  2. Gail says:

    I found that setting aside some time one day a week to double check and balance your checkbook (it helps you catch up with deit card use) and pay bills that are due that week has really helped me over the years. I keep a wirebound notbook with quadrants marked out by date (I use Wednesdays) and any bill due within a few days after that date gets paid then. You can even post monthly bills like your mortgage, etc. in the right spot on the page. Open any bills that have come in since the last week and write them down according to when they need paid. That way when you get a surprise $100 check in the mail you know that next week or next month you could use that $100 for a certain bill. After a year of tracking our expenses that way, I am able in December to set up my next 12 pages for each month, and can slot in all the regular bills that will come in, like fire insurance, life insurance, car insurance, any yearly bill and any thing that comes up monthly. No surprises! It has helped me so much.

    the other thing is paying as many bills on line as possible. If needed you can take things down to the wire (we are self employed/disabled and many times we only get the money for bills right about when they are due) and you don’t have to pay for stamps. The more things you can handle on line the cheaper some stuff gets. It may not seem like much to save on the price of stamps but even $20-50 a year is a help. Our IRAs are handled on line, saving $25 each per year, my Medicare supplement is a direct deposit to them saving another $25 a year. All told some of our automatic things and using on line saves at least $100 or more a year. May not seem like much, but that is $100 we either don’t have to earn or $100 for other bills. This is a huge change for me as I have always hated doing automatic withdrawals, but now with the ability to monitor accounts on line I am more willing to do it as I can jump on mistakes fast!

  3. mario says:

    Some great points in your this article. One other thing I would add pay off your mortgage and loans as quickly as possible. In some cases loan consolidation makes sense. I have been working with a lot of clients who were enslaved by high interest loans such as credit cards or lines of credit.

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