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With the new year fast approaching, it’s never too early to start focusing on your finances. Whether you want to save money, make more money, or both, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to start.
To help guide you in 2020, we wanted to bring you tons of great tips and tricks to help you make more money, save the money you earn, and make your money go even further. Here are 101 money tips and tricks for 2020.
The first step in making more money and saving it is to have the right mindset. Having a plan and sticking to it is much easier said than done. These tips will help you get in the right money mindset to set your financial future up for success.
1. Know Your Worth in the Marketplace
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not understanding their worth in the marketplace. Whether it’s not understanding the industry or neglecting to do research, many employees may be undervaluing themselves, which means they aren’t being paid what they should for their skills and expertise.
Glassdoor has a new tool that allows users to estimate their worth in the market based on various criteria. You’ll get a personalized salary calculation that analyzes your job, location, and skills. This estimate lets you know your worth in the marketplace which gives you the power to negotiate your salary or look for jobs that pay you what you’re worth.
2. Spend Less Than You Earn
While this tip is certainly straightforward, it’s much easier said than done. Spending more than you earn is one of the biggest issues people have with saving money. Everybody loves spending money, and it’s easy to get carried away with spending. In fact, it’s the number one reason that consumers go into debt.
Over 40 percent of consumers in the United States spend more than they make, which leads to extreme debt accumulation through credit cards and personal loans. Reframing how you approach spending is the first step in fixing financial issues.
3. Know the Importance of Saving
Financial education is just as important as smart financial practices. If you don’t know the importance of saving, it’s much easier to ignore your savings and simply spend your money when and how you please.
Saving money sets you up for the future. You don’t know what will happen in the future, and without money saved up, even a small financial issue can be disastrous. Emergency medical situations, home repairs, and other unexpected expenditures can happen at any time, which is why proper saving techniques are so important to use.
4. Create a Budget and Stick To It
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be complex. Simply writing out your monthly expenses versus your monthly income is a great place to start. Tracking your budget using a spreadsheet program such as Excel or Google Sheets can give you even further insight into your budget and where your money is going each month.
Paychecks are typically weekly or bi-weekly, while bills are due on a specific day of the month. This can make things tricky when planning your monthly expenses. A simple way to track your bills and your income is to print out calendars for each month. On each of your paydays, write down how much you’ll bring home. Then write each bill amount on the day that the bill is due. This will allow you to plan out your expenses throughout the month and will help you stay on top of your bills.
5. Teach Your Family About Money
You can never start too early when it comes to financial education. Teaching your family about money not only helps them for their own financial futures, but it can help the household as well. When children understand how money works and why saving is important, they can contribute to making smart financial choices.
A practical way to start teaching your children smart financial choices is to open a savings account for them and allow them to manage it. By partnering them to set savings goals, they’ll learn why it’s important to save and will develop crucial skills like budgeting and money management.
6. Regularly Assess Your Finances
Too many people let themselves get into financial trouble because they’re ‘too busy’ to take the time to assess their financial situation. While there are certainly times when major life events may get in the way of financial planning, the truth is that people are often scared of their financial situation, which causes them to avoid dealing with it altogether.
It’s important to face any financial issues head-on. By avoiding financial issues, they’re often getting worse. Late payments, credit card debt, and collections require fast action. Have courage if you’re going through a tough financial situation and know that sitting down to assess and discuss the issue is a much better plan than avoiding it entirely.
7. Create a 10-Year Plan
Get in the right money mindset by setting up a detailed 10-year plan. Do you want to buy a house? Are you planning for retirement? Will you have a family? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you’re creating a plan.
These long-term goals not only give you the motivation to make smart financial decisions, but they can actually help you map out your finances. You may decide to invest your money or open a high-interest savings account. Regardless of your long-term goal, setting up a goal and a plan to reach the goal sets the foundation of financial success.
8. Create a 1-Year Plan
Just as important as your long-term financial goals are your short-term financial goals. When you’re creating your 10-year plan, create your 1-year plan as well. A lot can change in a single year, but creating a plan will help you maintain control of your finances. While you may not be able to save for a house or retirement in a year, you can set manageable, attainable financial goals to achieve within a year.
This may be saving up for a down payment on a car, reaching a certain dollar amount saved, or taking a class on finance. Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic.
9. Follow the 50/30/20 Rule
No list of financial tips would be complete without the 50/30/20 rule. This rule is a simple guideline for the money you earn. The rule states that 50 percent of your earnings should go toward necessities such as housing, groceries, and bills, 30 percent of your earnings should go toward your wants, such as shopping and dining out, and 20 percent should go toward your financial goals such as a savings or retirement account.
These numbers can vary depending on your financial situation. Many people have to spend more than 50 percent of their earnings on necessities, while some people may not spend close to 50 percent. The key is that wants shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of your earnings. Otherwise, you’re not paying for your necessities, or you’re not meeting your financial goals.
10. Create a Saving Game
Saving money doesn’t have to be daunting. You may have seen saving and other financial challenges to help get you on track for financial success. Creating a simple game can help you meet your saving goals while having fun. A more popular savings game is increasing your savings by $1 each week.
The first week of the year, you put one dollar in your savings account. The second week, you put two dollars. That continues until the last week of the year, when you put $52 in your savings account. By the end of the year, you’ve saved $1,378.
11. Write Down Your Expenses
Go pick up a small notebook and start writing down your expenses. By tracking your expenses and what you spend your money on each month, you’ll start to see where your money goes and where you can trim up your spending. The act of physically writing out your purchases makes you consciously aware of what you’re buying.
It’s so easy to swipe a card and never look at the transaction history. Taking a few minutes to write out your purchases is a great way to become aware of your spending and saving habits. You’ll quickly see trends and habits that you can adjust to spend less and save more.
12. Learn About Financial Management
Enrolling in personal financial management courses is a great way to get the foundational knowledge you need to manage your money successfully. The best part is that there are plenty of courses that are available for free.
Reading articles and blog posts is another great way to learn about managing money. Check out some other ways to make and save money.
13. Don’t Spend More Money Just Because You Have More Money
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is spending money as soon as they have more money. When you get a raise, the best thing you can do is spend money as if you didn’t get that raise. Take the extra money that you have and use it to pay down debt faster or put it in your savings account.
If you paid off a debt such as a credit card or a personal loan, you’ll have more money each month because you’re no longer making that debt payment. Instead of spending the money on things you don’t need, use it to pay down other forms of debt, invest the money, or save it for later. You don’t need to spend more money just because you have more money.
14. The Cash Envelope System
The Cash Envelope System is a common money management method that allows you to visualize your money and your expenses. It’s a great way to manage expenses that aren’t set amounts every month, such as entertainment, food, or clothes. When you plan your budget for the month (see tip #4), set an amount for each category. For example, you might set a limit of $300 for the month for groceries.
When you get paid, take $300 in cash, put it in an envelope, and label that envelope ‘groceries.’ You now have your grocery money for the month. The trick is to stay within that budget and only using that money for groceries. Take what you need for each grocery trip from the envelope, and if you go over, put something back rather than spending more money than your budget allows. Repeat this process with every expense in your home and you’ll quickly get control over your spending.
15. Understand Your Net Worth
Net worth plays an important role in your overall financial success. Your net worth is the total value of your assets minus your liabilities. While it is very common for young professionals to have a ‘negative’ net worth, simply understanding your net worth and how you can improve your net worth can help you start on the path to financial success.
There are tons of free net worth calculators that you can use to get a snapshot of where you are financially. You’ll also be able to create a simple action plan to increase your net worth and will be able to project how your net worth will grow over time.
16. Understand What Makes You Happy
Money is important, happiness is more important. One of the best money tips that we can give you is to find out what truly makes you happy. Setting the right goals and developing plans to help you reach those goals can motivate you to make smart financial decisions. Get specific on what will make you happy.
Instead of saying ‘a lot of money will make me happy,’ set a tangible goal of ‘having $X in my checking account by the end of the year will make me happy.’ Other goals may be owning your own home, buying a new car, or having enough to donate to charity. Whatever will make you happy, setting manageable, measurable goals will give you the motivation you need.
17. Think of the Future
One of the biggest motivators for financial success is thinking about your future. Whether you’re planning a family or planning for your retirement, your future should always play a major part in your financial decisions.
Start your retirement savings early, think about how a major purchase may impact your future, and create an action plan to take control of your finances. These are all simple, effective tools that you can use when thinking about your financial future.
18. Create an Attainable Goal
We all should have financial goals, but many of us set unrealistic goals and get discouraged when we can’t meet them. Start a with a small goal, such as reducing your spending for a week or saving up a small amount of money over the course of a few months. They key is to start small and build up to larger goals.
When you start meeting your goals, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge to meet your larger financial goals over time. We’re often our own biggest hurdle to get over, but by starting out with small, easily attainable goals, we can gain more confidence when it comes to finances.
19. Use a Financial Journal
Much like writing down your expenses, a financial journal is a tool that you can use to track all of your finances. Use your journal to track things such as income, expenses, loans, and financial goals. When you write your finances out, you’ll take more time to review and study your finances and what you can do to improve your financial situation.
20. Learn Negotiation Skills
Learning to negotiate is a vital skill to have when you’re working on your finances. If you don’t know how to skillfully negotiate, you’ll have a much harder time when you’re interested in refinancing your loans or if you’re late on your payments.
The world of finance is often highly negotiable. You can negotiate interest rates on your credit cards and loans, late fees on missed payments, and transactional fees with your banking institution. If you’re not versed in the art of negotiation, you may end up paying a lot more than you need to.
Apps and Sites You Should Use
We’ve mentioned a few of our favorite financial apps and sites throughout the article, but we wanted to give you even more suggestions on ways to earn, save, and invest your money right from your computer or smartphone.
Ibotta rewards you with cash back on your everyday purchases. Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, you can earn cash back with every verified purchase. Browse the site or mobile app to select offers at your favorite stores, then complete your purchase and submit your verification by uploading your receipt or linking your credit or debit card.
Shopkick is another site that allows you to earn cash and rewards by completing various shopping tasks. Make eligible purchases, scan receipts, or simply walk into stores to earn points that you can redeem for cash and gift cards. Browse the rewards store to search for gift cards to thousands of your favorite stores.
Everybody loves cash back, which is why we had to mention BeFrugal on our list of top apps and sites. You’ll earn up to 40% cash back at more than 5,000 stores. Register your free account and browse exclusive offers, discounts, and coupons. Add the BeFrugal extension to your browser to make earning cash back even easier when you shop online.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is one of the most popular digital budgeting tools available. This site allows you to upload your monthly expenses and your income and budget each and every dollar. You’ll be able to budget what you need, see where you go over, and move money around as needed. Get in-depth insights into where your money is going with YNAB.
25. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a wealth management site that can help you take back control of your finances. You can track your wealth by linking all of your accounts, where you’ll get full control over your assets through the Personal Capital dashboard. The site allows gives you tools and resources for retirement planning, investments, and will even monitor and alert you of hidden fees that you might be paying every month.
Simple is an online banking site that offers a high-yield savings account and a robust lineup of money management tools. Set tangible, realistic financial goals and track your progress right through the site or app. Simple is also transparent about their fees, meaning you won’t be hit with surprise charges.
Take control of your savings with Qapital. Set up savings goals and track your progress, or set up rules for your money that Qapital completes for you. These rules may be to move $1 into your savings every day, or to move $5 into your savings every week. You can automate your savings and reach your financial goals faster with Qapital.
PocketGuard is a full-service money management site that can show you exactly how you’re spending your money and what you need to do to grow your wealth. Set automated savings, get recommendations on what you can and cannot spend, and get alerts when PocketGuard finds ways you can save money.
Mvelopes made the classic envelope money management system digital, meaning you can set up virtual envelopes for your budget. With three membership levels, you can find the plan that’s just right for you. Sync your accounts and let Mvelopes help you get back on track with your finances.
Stay on top of your bills with Prism. By linking all of your accounts to Prism, you’ll get alerts when your bills are due and you’ll be able to pay your bills right through the Prism app. No more logging into each account and paying your bills separately, and no more late payments and fees.
Albert was designed to automate your finances. By pairing automation with a team of financial experts working for you, Albert gives you powerful tools to get control over your finances. You can automate savings, investments, bills, and a team of experts ready to help you when you need them.
Joy provides financial tracking while also giving you personalized financial advice and suggestions. Not only will you be able to spend smarter and save more, but you’ll get insights into financial news, personalized financial coaching, and ways you can improve your financial situation.
Use Finance Apps
Your smartphone is a powerful tool, and you can use it to help manage your money. There are tons of great financial apps out there, but we’ve gone in and picked our top five apps that you should download today. From investments to financial management, there’s an app out there for you.
Acorns can completely automate your savings by rounding up your purchases and putting the amount that was rounded up into a low-cost investment account. You can automatically begin investing your money, and most people never notice a difference in the amount of money in their checking accounts.
By rounding up to the nearest dollar with each purchase, you’re investing just a small amount of money. However, that money can add up quickly when it’s invested, which means Acorns makes your extra change work for you.
Robinhood is changing the way that people are investing their money. Hefty trading and transaction fees have kept most consumers out of the investing game.
With Robinhood, you pay zero trading fees, which means every trade is completely free.
Even better is that there’s no minimum investment to get started, meaning you can browse and invest just a few dollars into your favorite stock.
This is a great way for new investors to get started. Robinhood recently released Bitcoin as an investment offering, and you’ll find hundreds of stocks to choose from.
Widely regarded as the top money management app available today, Mint is a free app that offers a robust lineup of money management tools right at your fingertips. You can create a budget, track your spending by linking cards and bank accounts, and get personalized financial recommendations based on your spending and earning.
Mint will also track your bill due dates, send you reminders of when payments are due, and can even help you allocate money each month for your bills by showing you what you can pay, when you can pay it. On top of all that, you can use Mint to check your credit score for free.
Track your personal expenses and get real-time reports on where your money is going by downloading Wally. Wally is completely free and was designed to make expense tracking easier. Simply upload a picture of your receipts and Wally will do the rest.
You aren’t required to enter your financial information such as your debit card, credit card, or bank account information, which is great for those that are concerned with information security. Wally is easy to use and provides detailed insight into your monthly expenses.
We all have expenses that we have to pay month in and month out. Bills, groceries, and even entertainment can quickly add up. Here are some top money tips and tricks to help you manage your regularly-occurring expenses.
37. Automate Your Spending and Saving
Automation is one of the best things you can do for your spending and saving. We already showed you a way to automatically begin investing with Acorns, and there are tons of other ways that you can automate your finances.
Talk to your bank about automatically moving money into your savings account when your direct deposit hits, or start taking advantage of your company-sponsored retirement plan to start saving automatically.
If you’re struggling with high credit card debt, Tally is an automated app that can help you pay down your debt faster. You simply link your credit cards and your banking information, then Tally analyzes your balances, payment due dates, and interest rates.
Tally also analyzes your spending and allocates extra money you may have toward paying off your credit card faster. It’s a great way to help you manage multiple cards or high balances.
38. Review Monthly Subscription Services
Countless consumers pay for subscription services that they may not even know they’re paying for, meaning they’re throwing away money on a service they don’t even use. By reviewing your credit card and bank account statements, you can catch any monthly subscriptions that you may have forgotten to cancel.
39. Lower Your Bills
Most people don’t realize that you can negotiate your bills to lower how much you pay. Services like your phone, cable, and internet can all be negotiated, but it’s often easier said than done. If you don’t have good negotiation skills or you simply don’t have the time to call your service providers, let Trim handle it for you.
Trim is an app that will negotiate your bills for you. Simply link your accounts and Trim will contact your service providers on your behalf to get your bill lowered. It’ll do so without changing your plan or canceling your service. When Trim is successful, you’ll just pay a small percentage of your yearly savings to Trim. Aside from services, Trim can also help you with managing your credit card interest rates.
40. Earn Cash Back Online and In Stores
Most people love shopping, but not many consumers take advantage of lucrative cashback offers on the things they buy every day. Whether you shop online or in the store, you can find some great cash back offers for your purchases. Sites like Ebates, Ibotta, and Swagbucks will give you cash back on your purchases, sometimes as much as 75% cash back.
Simply upload your receipt as proof of purchase, or link your card and bank account information to have your purchases tracked automatically. The best part about these sites is that they’re completely free to join.
41. Cut Coupons
Classic paper coupons are still some of the best ways to save on your everyday shopping. Grab a local newspaper and some scissors and start collecting coupons. There are tons of online courses that can teach you how to use coupons to maximize your savings.
In addition to paper coupons, there are plenty of apps that you can use to take your coupon catalog on the go. Groupon, RetailMeNot, and SmartSource are all free coupon apps that you can download right to your Apple or Android device.
43. Shop Around Online
When a shopper is excited about making a purchase, they often make the mistake of purchasing it from the first store they visit, whether that’s in-person or online. Even if you’re making a small purchase, you should spend a few minutes searching for the product online at various stores.
Those few minutes of research can typically save you money on your purchase, which is well worth the effort. Remember, just because you got a great deal at one store previously doesn’t mean it’s always going to have the best price out there. Shopping around will ensure you get the best deal possible.
44. Review Health and Life Insurance Policies
Most people pay for health and life insurance policies every month but rarely review the policy and pricing once they sign up. If you don’t review your health and life insurance policy and premiums at least once per year, you may be paying more than you have to.
If you have a company-subsidized health insurance plan, you’ll typically have an open-enrollment period once every year or so. Review policy information, coverage, and pricing to make sure you’re on the best plan for you and your family.
45. Pay For Insurance Up Front
Paying for your insurance premium up front often gives you significant discounts on your insurance plan. If you’re able to switch from monthly billing to yearly billing, you may be able to save 25% or more on your insurance costs.
Home, life, car, health, and even pet insurance may offer discounts if you pay for your premium up front rather than monthly. While you will pay more at once, the long-term savings can be significant.
46. Put Your “Savings” Aside When You Shop
A great trick to help you save more money is to put your shopping ‘savings’ aside after each trip. As a way to get customers to return, stores will often show you on your receipt how much money you saved because of the store’s deals and discounts.
Review your receipts and take the money that you saved on your purchase and put it into your savings account. This is an easy way to quickly save money, and the impact can be significant. While you may only save $5-$10 on a typical shopping trip, those savings can add up quickly if you set them aside instead of spending that money elsewhere.
47. Round Up Spending
Another way to save more money is to round up your purchases and put that money into your savings account. You can use the same method that the Acorns app uses. Simply round up your money to the next dollar and put that change directly into your savings account. Your bank may require a minimum amount that can be transferred into your savings account in a single transaction, making this the perfect opportunity to use a financial journal to track your spending.
48. Check Your Accounts Daily
Get in the habit of checking your accounts daily. Routinely review your checking account, savings account, credit card accounts, and retirement account. Not only will you be able to see your saving and spending real-time, but you’ll also be able to catch fraudulent charges, forgotten subscription fees, and transaction fees.
Download your financial institution’s app to make checking your account even easier. You may want to set up daily reminders to log into your accounts for a quick review.
49. Plan Meals
So much money is wasted every day on aimless grocery shopping trips. While it’s certainly fun to walk around the grocery store and grab whatever looks good, often times you’ll end up spending more money than you need to. Food waste is a major problem in the United States, but planning your meals can help you reduce your spending as well as your food waste.
Mealime and FoodPlanner are two free meal planning apps that you can use to map out your meals for the week or for the month. These apps make grocery shopping easy because you’ll know exactly what you need to buy for your planned meals, and you won’t purchase anything extra or unnecessary.
50. Pack Lunch
Buying lunch every day can quickly add up. If you buy a $5 lunch every working day, you’ll spend roughly $1300 on lunch every year. Add just a dollar to that cost every day and you’re up to $1550 a year.
What may cost you $5-10 per day for lunch might cost you $5-10 per week when you buy the ingredients and pack your lunch every day. Not only will packing your lunch help you cut down on costs, but people who pack their lunch tend to eat healthier.
51. Make Coffee Instead of Buying
Just as paying for lunch every day adds up, so does coffee. A $2 coffee per working day adds up to over $500 a year just on coffee. Investing in an inexpensive coffee machine can save you hundreds of dollars on coffee every year.
52. Shop for Groceries Online
To compete in today’s digital marketplace, many grocery stores are now offering online ordering. Excess spending can happen when you’re walking through a store without a set list or a plan. When you shop for your groceries online, you can strategically map out your meals and your shopping. Simply pick up your groceries or have them delivered for a small fee.
Online grocery shopping has become so popular that Amazon has gotten involved. Using AmazonFresh, you can order your groceries for delivery or pickup.
53. Shop Around for Groceries
Just like your other purchases, you should shop around for your groceries. If you’re in an area with multiple grocery stores nearby, check to see which store has the best prices for what you need. You’d be surprised at how grocery prices can vary from store to store.
When shopping online, you may also notice price differences at the same store when comparing online prices versus in-store prices. Shopping around for your groceries can help you save on your monthly grocery costs.
54. Avoid Name Brands
Challenge yourself to avoid name brands when you’re shopping, and you’d be surprised at how much you can save. Many of the products that you’d find with a generic brand are often as high-quality as a name-brand product. Try going generic for your recurring expenses such as household items and groceries.
55. Shop With a List
The simplest way to manage your regular grocery expenses is to shop with a list. Whether it’s on paper or on your phone, a list is an effective way to stay on budget. Grocery Pal and Out of Milk are two popular, free apps that you can download right to your phone.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, many people learn to travel around the world in incredibly small budgets. By knowing where to look, where to travel, and when to travel, you can save significant money on your next trip.
56. Use Travel Sites to Compare Prices
When you first start planning a trip, the best way to get a lower cost on your trip is to search multiple travel sites. These sites often link to travel directories, showing you hundreds of flights, hotels, and transportation options for your trip.
Expedia, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are three of the best free travel sites in the world. Simply put in your current location, where you want to go, the dates of your trip, and how many travelers, and you’ll get recommendations for flights, hotels, and cars. Many sites will even put together vacation packages at discounted rates.
57. Drive Instead of Flying
If you’re able to, drive to your destination instead of flying there. Even with budget airlines, driving is a much more cost-effective way to get to your destination. It will also save you money when you arrive because you won’t need to rent a car at your destination.
Driving also lets you spend more quality time with your family. Road trips can be just as fun as the vacation itself, so hit the open road and save a ton of money on your next trip.
58. If Flying, Check Multiple Airlines
Some trips simply don’t allow us to drive, so if you’re forced to fly, always check rates with different airlines. While direct flights may be more convenient, they can also be more expensive. Being flexible with your travel plans can provide significant cost savings.
Going through a travel site is a great way to quickly compare airline rates. When you find two or three airlines with the best rates, it’s a good idea to check the rate on the airline’s website as well, just to see if buying directly from the site will lower the price even further.
59. Be Wary of Checked Bag Fees
Many airlines are offering lower fares but charge you for checked and carry on bags. Budget airlines typically charge you a per-bag fee, whether you’re checking or carrying on. While fees often start at $25 per bag, some fees can reach $50 per bag or more.
Condensing bags and being strategic about your packing list can save you in airline baggage fees. Consider the cost of bag fees versus upgrading to a seating class that has baggage included.
60. Plan Well In Advance
As with any major purchase, planning a trip well in advance can save you time, money, and frustration. Airlines typically raise their prices the closer it gets to the travel date, meaning it can be beneficial to book your trip as far in advance as possible.
Let’s face it, spending money on yourself is fun. If you’re not setting a monthly budget, it’s easy to spend more than you have on ‘extras.’ Here are some top tips to help control your personal spending while still having all the fun you need.
61. Set a Monthly Budget For “You” Spending
As part of your budgeting, you should also set a budget on how much you spend for yourself. It’s important to reward yourself for your hard work and smart financial decisions, but it’s also important to not go overboard.
Assess your budget and make sure to prioritize your income. You should always pay your bills and debts, pay for your necessities, and move money into your savings before you dedicate money for ‘extra’ spending. Once you set that budget, stick to it.
62. Take the Time to Consider Large Purchases
Time can play an important role in whether or not you go through with a major purchase. It’s fun and exciting to make major purchases, but they can also be the most damaging if you get them wrong. A car and a home are two of the largest purchases you’re likely to make in your lifetime, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Consider whether you’re able to handle monthly payments, if you have enough for a down payment, and if there are any other costs that are involved. Even taking just an additional day to decide can help clear up the decision.
63. Weigh Needs Versus Wants
We often get our needs and our wants confused. In many cases, our wants are paid for before our needs. That’s where consumers get into trouble. By neglecting to pay for the things that need to be paid for, such as your credit card bill, car payment, or mortgage payment, and instead paying for things that you want, you’ll start going in the wrong direction financially.
While it can be difficult, sticking to your budget is one of the most important things you can do for your financial health. By focusing on paying down debt and repairing your finances now, you’ll have much more financial freedom in the future.
64. Remove Stored Card Information Online
Online shopping makes it even easier to spend money. When you shop online, you can save your debit or credit card information right to your web browser or in your app. One-click shopping often makes us spend more money simply because it’s so easy to shop online.
Removing your stored card information will force you to enter your card information every time you make a purchase. When you have to enter your card information with each purchase, you’ll realize if you’re doing too much online shopping.
65. Only Shop With Cash
Cash is a great way to visualize how much money you actually have. When you swipe your card, you don’t see your account balance decrease. It’s often just numbers on a screen. But when you use cash for all of your purchases, you’ll begin to see how much money you’re spending.
The act of handing over money can make you consciously aware of your spending, and may actually help you spend less.
66. Don’t Buy Something Just Because It’s On Sale
Marketing teams are great at getting people to buy even more through special sales and discounts. In fact, many people believe that they’re saving money when they buy something on sale, when they may not have originally intended to purchase the item at all. Sales are effective ways to get you to spend more money than you had originally intended.
For example, if an item that typically costs $100 is on sale for $80, you didn’t just save $20, you spent $80. Approaching a sale with this way of thinking can help you avoid falling into the trap of sales and discounts. While it’s always nice to save money, sales can often entice you into spending more money than you had intended.
67. Buy Used
Buying used items can save you 50% or more on items. Whether you buy in a local shop or you buy items online, there are plenty of ways to get high-quality used items at incredible discounts. Buying used is particularly helpful when you’re buying expensive items, such as electronics.
Sites like LetGo and OfferUp can connect you with local buyers and sellers in your area. Simply search for what you’re looking for, contact the seller, and meet up in a safe location to make your purchase. You can also find amazing deals on used items on eBay.
68. Find Free Alternatives
Not all entertainment has to cost money. There are fantastic free alternatives that you can take advantage of right in your city. Local parks, libraries, and even some museums are completely free. When you’re looking at your budget for the month, if you need to cut back on extra expenses, it doesn’t mean you have to cut back on the fun.
Earn More Money
Put these fantastic money tips and tricks to use by earning even more money for yourself. Millions of people have side hustles that they use to pay for essentials or for disposable income. The best part about these options is that many of them can be done from home.
There are also plenty of things that you can do to help further your career, such as learning new skills and taking classes. Let’s take a look at some top ways to earn more money.
69. Ask For A Raise
It might sound intimidating, but experts often recommend asking your boss for a raise. Having a candid, honest conversation about your compensation can open the doors to possible pay raises. Asking for a pay raise needs to be backed up by solid work, so make sure you’re confident in your own skills and performance before asking for a raise.
The worst that can happen is that they say no.
70. Drive or Deliver
In fact, many people have left their jobs to drive for Lyft or Uber full-time, and can often earn even more money as a full-time driver. Know your area and sign up to drive for both services to maximize your earning potential. The best part about driving for Lyft or Uber is that you can sign on and off whenever you want, which makes this a great option for someone looking for excellent work-life balance.
71. Assess Your Skills and Sell Them
Many people are turning to consulting work to earn additional income and even forge a new career path. Assess your skills to see if they are in-demand. Individuals and companies are willing to pay for skills and services such as content writing, videography, graphic design, Search Engine Optimization, marketing, and photography.
Start by focusing on a skill you’re passionate about, then research what companies may be in need of those skills. You can easily reach out to companies to market your skills and pick up some contract work on the side.
72. Search Job Boards
There are virtually countless job boards out there, meaning there are virtually countless jobs. From one-time gigs to full-time positions, you can easily search and sort through jobs that you are qualified for and interested in.
Always be prepared for your next career move. It’s often said that those who are willing to change companies and/or locations often are the ones that move up the ladder quicker and earn more money. Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn are three of the world’s top job boards that you can start using for free.
73. Paid Surveys
You can get paid by giving your opinion on the products and services that you use every day. Paid survey sites work with some of the top companies in the world to drive valuable market research. These sites are often free and pay you for completing surveys, watching videos, and even playing games.
Our top recommendations for paid survey sites include Survey Junkie, Vindale Research, Pinecone Research, Swagbucks, and InboxDollars. You can sign up for multiple paid survey sites to earn even more.
74. Freelance and Contract Gigs
The marketplace is seeing a spike in contract work, often referred to as the ‘gig economy.’ These contract gigs allow you to build a portfolio of work, get experience in multiple industries, and make meaningful contacts. Depending on your skills, there are a few places where you can find thousands of available jobs.
75. Sell Things Online
You can make a lot of money selling your unwanted items online. And with so many sites that you can use to sell your things, earning money has never been easier. There’s been a shift from ‘traditiona’ selling platforms such as eBay, to a more localized selling platform such as Mercari, Letgo, and OfferUp.
Even Facebook has its own marketplace where you can sell your items locally. Clothes, electronics, accessories, furniture, and even cars can be sold on any one of these sites.
76. Learn New Skills
Developing your skills can help you excel in your career, whether you want to hone in on a skill in your current role or you want to move up in your company. Employers want employees who are motivated and interested in learning new things.
You can take online courses to learn and develop skills on sites such as Lynda and Udemy. While there is often a cost involved, you’ll be learning skills from industry experts. Check to see if there are any free trials available to see if online learning is right for you.
77. Continue Your Education
Your education is one of the best investments you can make. No matter where you are in your educational journey, consider continuing your education to the next level. You’ll learn vital skills to help you succeed and move up in your career, but you’ll also learn valuable life lessons. Advanced education often equates to higher salaries as well.
We’ve explored getting in the right mindset, ways to save money, and even how to earn more money. Here are some ways you can use financial strategies to make your money go even further.
78. Start Investing Early
The earlier you start investing, the better. It can be difficult to see the value of investing in your retirement in your first job, but you’ll be thanking yourself when you reach retirement age if you started investing in your retirement account when you were 22 instead of starting when you were 35.
Blooom is a revolutionary service that helps millions of people manage their retirement accounts, lower their management fees, and make the most of their money.
CNN recently released an article that put retirement savings into perspective, showing how important it is to start early: “Say you start at age 25, and put aside $3,000 a year in a tax-deferred retirement account for 10 years – and then you stop saving – completely.
By the time you reach 65, your $30,000 investment will have grown to more than $338,000, (assuming a 7% annual return), even though you didn’t contribute a dime beyond age 35. Now let’s say you put off saving until you turn 35, and then save $3,000 a year for 30 years.
By the time you reach 65, you will have set aside $90,000 of your own money, but it will grow to only about $303,000, assuming the same 7% annual return. That’s a huge difference.”
79. Understand Your Debt
When we say understand your debt, we mean understanding the type of debt you have, the interest rate on that debt, and how you’re going to pay off that debt. You’re going to treat $10,000 in credit card debt differently than you’d treat a $10,000 car loan.
Downloading a simple debt tracking app such as Debt Book or My Debts can help you analyze your debts and create a payment plan to become debt-free.
80. Don’t Spend Your Tax Return
The average tax return in the United States in 2017 was just over $2,700, but you shouldn’t treat your tax return as an additional payday. Saving or investing your tax return can help build wealth over time.
A big mistake that many people make is relying on their tax return to pay for necessary expenses. As it’s never guaranteed that you’ll get a tax return, you should never rely on your tax return as part of your normal budgeting.
81. If You Get a Bonus, Save It
Just like your tax return, if you’re lucky enough to get paid a bonus, save it or invest it. While it’s always fun to spend a bonus or a tax return, saving or investing will help your financial future, rather than focusing on your financial now.
Also just like your tax return, you should never rely on your bonus as part of your normal budgeting, even if it is guaranteed. Learning to budget on your base salary will make getting the bonus even more rewarding.
82. Pay Down Debt
Knowing whether to pay off debt or invest your money can depend on your personal financial situation. Consider the amount of debt you have and its interest rate versus the returns you may get on an investment.
For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance sitting at 20% interest, you’re much better off paying the credit card down than investing even at a 10% rate of return. Paying down credit card debt is one of the first things you should do to improve your finances. When debt interest rates are equivalent to investment interest rates, consider other factors such as cash flow and rate of return.
83. Understand Credit Card Rewards
Credit cards come with some fantastic rewards, but you should use your credit card carefully. Some cards offer cash back on specific purchases while others net you travel points that you can use to save on airfare. There are tons of credit cards to choose from and it can be difficult to decide what’s right for you.
Credit Karma is a free resource that allows you to check your credit score and also compare credit cards based on rewards. It’ll give you personalized recommendations on what card might be right for you, and it will even give you estimated odds of being approved for a card.
84. Stop Using Your Credit Card If the Balance is High
Your credit card balance should be 30% or less than the total card limit, otherwise your credit score will be impacted. It can be tempting to use your credit card to earn rewards or to finance larger purchases, but you should always be aware of your balance and the balance-to-limit ratio. Set up alerts with your credit card company to notify you when you go over a set threshold.
85. Take Advantage of Employer Matching
If you work for an employer that has a company-sponsored 401k plan, chances are they offer a matching program. Matching means that they will contribute money to your retirement account that equals what you contribute, up to a certain percent. For example, if your employer offers 100% matching up to 5%, your employer will match your contribution dollar for dollar up to 5% of your income.
This is free money that your employer is putting into your retirement account, and not taking advantage of this offer is a major mistake. That money also accumulates interest, so the earlier you start, the more you’ll have for retirement.
86. Refinance High-Interest Debt
Refinancing high-interest debt can significantly reduce the amount of debt you pay over time, and it can often lower your monthly payments. Refinancing high-interest debt with a personal loan can lower your interest rate to as low as 4.99%. Personal loan providers such as SoFi, Earnest, and Credible offer a wide range of personal loan products to help you lower interest rates and get debt-free faster.
87. Explore Credit Card Offers
One of the best ways to ‘refinance’ credit card debt is by transferring your balance to a card with 0% interest. These offers can range anywhere from 6 months to 21+ months. A balance transfer offer means you pay no interest on the balance until the promotional period ends. If you have an aggressive payment plan, you can pay off your credit card without paying any interest.
88. Create a Plan For Student Loans
If you’re currently in school, start making a plan to pay off your student loans when your deferment period ends. Consider all of your payment options, such as Income Based Repayment and Extended payment plans to help manage your monthly costs. While you may end up paying more in the long-run, these plans can lengthen the time you have to pay off your debt, which can reduce your monthly payment burden.
If you have private student loans, talk to your student loan provider about any repayment options that might be available.
89. Refinance Student Loans
Private student loans often come with a higher interest rate than government student loans. While some private lenders are often predatory, there have been a multiple student loan refinance companies that have become popular in recent years because of their low interest rates, flexible payment plans, and customer support.
90. Get a Financial Advisor
A financial advisor can be one of your biggest assets and can truly impact your financial future. While it does cost money to hire a financial advisor, it’s well worth the investment. A financial advisor will assist you with managing your money, tackling your debt, investing, preparing for retirement, and understanding life insurance options.
They’ll be your guide and will help you with your short and long-term financial goals. If you don’t want to invest in a financial advisor or if you want to see if a financial advisor is right for you, try a robo-advisor such as Betterment. You’ll get automated money management at extremely affordable prices.
91. Use a Money Management Site
We already mentioned Betterment, which is an automated financial management site that can help you with investments, retirement, and general financial management. Other popular financial management sites include Blooom, which manages 401k accounts, Wealthsimple, and Ellevest, to name a few.
Financial management can be difficult and confusing, but it also needs to be done. These sites are a great way to introduce yourself to the world of financial management and are perfect solutions for those that don’t have complex financial situations.
92. Use an Investment Calculator as Motivation
Just like we mentioned when discussing retirement investments earlier in the article, the earlier you start investing, the more you’ll have over time. There are tons of simply investment calculators that you can use to see how much your money will grow. You can set the initial investment amount, additional contributions, the rate of return, and how many years you’ll invest. You’d be surprised at how big of a difference even a year can make.
93. Use High-Interest Savings Accounts
The average interest rate on a traditional savings account is a measly 0.06%, with some major banks offering as low as 0.01%. While 0.06% may have been deemed good in the past, high-interest savings accounts are offering 2% or more in interest, which is a significant increase when compared to traditional accounts.
94. Review Banking Fees
Different banks have different fee structures, so it’s important for you to familiarize yourself with your bank’s specific fees. Some banks charge a maintenance fee for being below a certain dollar amount in your account, while others charge you for a paper copy of your statement.
When you open an account, you’re required to sign a long list of documents that go over your fees in detail. While many people never go back in to read those disclosures, you should take the time to review the various fees your bank uses. By taking the time to research those fees, you can avoid paying those fees in the future.
95. Pay Bills On Time
Paying bills on time may seem obvious, but getting behind on your bills can cause issues in other areas of your finances. When you get behind on your bills and more is due at once, it becomes even harder to pay your bills. Get too far behind, and you’ll be sent to collections, which has a drastic impact on your credit score.
Remember, when creating your budget, budget for your necessities before anything else. Keep the 50/30/20 rule in mind and you won’t get behind on your bills.
96. The Avalanche Debt Payoff Method
The Avalanche Debt Payoff Method is a strategy that you can use to quickly pay down your debts. Make the minimum payments on all of your debts, and any extra money that you can put toward paying your debts should go toward the debt with the highest interest rate. When you’re tackling your debt with the highest interest first, you save money in the long-run.
After you pay off one debt, use the minimum monthly payment from that debt as well as anything extra you can contribute to pay off the debt with the next highest interest rate. When you’re paying off debt and using those minimum payments to put toward your other debts, it becomes very easy to pay off your debt as each debt gets paid off.
97. The Snowball Debt Payoff Method
The Snowball Debt Payoff Method is another way to pay off debt that works similarly to the Avalanche Method. Rather than starting with the highest interest rate, you start with the lowest balance. Once you have your lowest balance paid off, take the minimum payment from that debt and use it toward the next highest debt.
While this method doesn’t save as much on interest as the Avalanche Method, it’s often the one people use. Starting with the lowest balance starts you off with more manageable, achievable goals. Tackling high-interest rates first can be discouraging because you’ll be able to see how much that interest is adding on to the balance.
98. Check Your Credit Score
Our final money tip is to check your credit score regularly. Checking your credit score will give you an idea of how you’re doing financially, and many credit reporting sites will give you suggestions on what you can do to help your credit.
Sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Credit.com provide 24/7 access to your credit score. You’ll also be able to explore loan options, credit cards, and personal finance recommendations. Best of all, they’re completely free to use.
99. Use the 30-Day Rule
If you’re an impulse-buyer, try using the 30-day rule on your next large purchase. When you find something that you want that you don’t necessarily need, put the item back. Make sure you note the item, store, price, and date you found the item.
Over the next 30 days, think about if you truly want that item. If at the end of 30 days you still have the urge to buy it, it’s a sign it may be a good purchase. Impulses quickly fade, and most consumers forget that they really wanted a specific purchase within a few days of seeing it.
100. Use the 10-Second Rule
A similar tactic to the 30-day rule, the 10-second rule gives you time to truly consider your purchase. Any time you’re about to make a purchase, spend 10 full seconds thinking about whether or not you should actually make that purchase.
Taking just 10 seconds can mean the difference between making an unnecessary purchase and saving your money for something you’ll actually need.
101. Set Up Automatic Payments
Late payments lead to fees and can even impact your credit score. A simple way to save money in fees and protect your credit score is to set up automatic payments. Credit cards, loans, and services like your phone and internet offer automatic payment options.
Most companies even provide deals and discounts to those who set up automatic payments, such as a lower interest rate on credit cards and loans, or discounted services.
102. Avoid Cosigning Loans
Cosigning loans can often prove disastrous if you’re not careful. You’re essentially lending your good credit score to someone else, hoping that they don’t do anything to mess it up. While it may be unavoidable to cosign some loans, such as your children’s student loans, you should avoid it as much as possible