We’re all on a time crunch, right? Especially around the holidays. Folks want to improve their finances, but they think they must spend ages doing it. The trick is to do what you can with what you have.
If you only have 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes, then guess what! You have enough time to tweak how you manage money for the better. Take a look at some quick tasks you can check off your list today.
(Psst! I’ll add to this list over time, so be sure to check back from time to time.)
5-Minute Money Moves
- Remove your debit or credit card information from your favorite retailers’ sites. Yep! Dump Easy Pay. Why? Having your payment information already on the checkout page makes it too easy to part with your money. You’ll think harder about purchases when you have to type in that 12-digit card number, security code and billing address each time.
- Straighten out your wallet. File or discard receipts, collect loose change and organize your dollar bills. Marie Forleo, life coach and author, used to wash and iron her bills. Now she just makes sure they lie flat and face the same direction by denomination ($5 with $5, and so on). “You might think this is silly,” she says in a YouTube video, “but keeping my money tight and right is a sign of reverence and respect—respect for myself, for the money that comes into my life and for the money that flows out of my life. I feel like I’m being a good steward of my money for the time that it is with me.”
15-Minute Money Moves
- List all of the upcoming events, birthdays and holidays, so you can plan your spending and saving accordingly. We all know Christmas, Mother’s Day and Halloween come at the same time every year, but so many folks forget to include these expenses in their budgets. Get a head start on 2019 by listing important events right now! Don’t forget to include club membership dues (AAA, Professional Society of Awesome Dentists, etc.) and insurance premiums, too. You’ll get bonus points if you break down your Roth IRA into monthly installments. Download the list of annual events and expected expenses to get started.
- Plan a menu with your go-to meals. Every household has its favorite meals. Maybe Taco Tuesday is your thing. You could save yourself time and money by planning each week’s meals in advance, writing a grocery list and checking your cupboards against the list. Then you’ll only buy what you need and make sure you’re cooking meals you’ll actually want to eat throughout the week. Keep the grocery list on a built-in phone app or a Google Doc to access it anytime and anywhere. Another perk of meal-planning: Spending less money eating out or visiting vending machines because you have home-cooked meals.
30-Minute Money Moves
- Reflect on the previous year. I can’t stress the important of reflection enough! How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Take the time to jot down a few great memories and learning opportunities from 2018. Close out the year on a high note! Check out this free, one-page reflection form from The Conquer Club creator, Natalie MacNeil.
- Determine how much to save each pay period for sinking funds. If you made a list important dates and holidays you plan to celebrate in 2019, then you can guesstimate how much you need for each event. Then reverse engineer your savings goal. If you get paid the 1st of each month and want to start saving $3,000 in January for a vacation in mid-July, then calculate: $3,000/7 pay periods. You need to save about $430 each month. Follow the same steps in this blog post to open up a savings account SEPARATE from your main checking account so you don’t dip into your vacation fund. Sinking funds for car repairs, insurance premiums and Christmas also work wonders.
*The time periods are just estimates. It might take you more or less time to complete these tasks.