Getting your finances under control can seem overwhelming. There’s interest rates, bank accounts, 401(k)s, minimizing taxes, etc…
 
It’s no wonder many of us don’t know where to start.
 
But it’s important you do start. Because putting it off has some serious consequences.
 
Where then should you start?

Here are 12 smart money moves you can make this month, along with  tips to help you succeed.

12 Smart Money Moves You Should Make This Month

#1) Aggregate

The first step to organizing your finances is aggregating your accounts. Your goal is to have all your accounts (bank, credit card, investment, debt, etc…) viewable in one place.

I use and recommend the free tool Personal Capital. Personal Capital gives you a no-fuss dashboard for viewing all your accounts in one place.

Click here to sign up for Personal Capital and get a free $20 Amazon gift card.

# 2) Consolidate To One Checking/Savings Account

Now that you have your accounts listed in one place–it’s time to minimize the accounts you have.

Your goal is to have the minimum accounts necessary for achieving your goals. Start with your checking and savings account. Unless you have a legit reason, you only need one of each.

I use and recommend Capital One 360, which has no fees, no minimum balance, a generous overdraft policy, and consistently high-interest rates.

#3) Consolidate To One Investment Provider

Next comes your investment accounts. As with your checking and savings, you want the minimum amount necessary to achieve your goals.

Start with any old 401(k)s sitting out there. Roll these over to one investment provider.

If you want a hands-free investment approach I recommend Betterment. If you like more control, go with Vanguard.

 

#4) Evaluate Debt

You can save a lot of money refinancing your debt–if done right.

It’s not always a slam dunk but look to see if you can refinance to a lower interest rate on any debt.  This can save you thousands over the course of your loan.

For personal loans and student loans try Credible. Credible is like the Kayak of loans, allowing you to search from many different providers to find which one offers the lowest rate.

There’s also SoFi, which is like the Southwest (to stick with the travel theme) of personal loans. If you fit their profile (high income earner/ good credit score) it’s possible you can find a much lower rate.

#5) Review Your Credit Score

Your credit score matters. It’s important o know and understand this number overtime.

Sign up with a free credit score provider like Credit Sesame. Use their free tools to evaluate your situation and see what can be done to increase your score.

 

# 6) Start A Passive Income Stream

Sign up for the below websites, to start earning a few hundred dollars each month.

Use this extra money to put towards your highest priority financial goal–pay of debt, increase your savings rate, etc…

Swagbucks: Swagbucks is a favorite of mine,  as well as a favorite of many readers here. You can earn points for the everyday things you do online like searching, shopping, and watching videos. In total, Swagbucks has paid out almost $200 million in rewards. Sign up.

MyPoints: Owned by the good people who run Swagbucks, they’ve paid out over $236 million in cash and rewards. You can earn points through surveys, plus many other ways like watching videos or testing games. Sign up here.

InboxDollars: An A+ rated survey company by the Better Business Beraru, InboxDollars pays cash for surveys. Partner companies include NetFlix, WalMart, Target, & H&R Block. In total, they’ve paid out over $50 million in rewards.  It’s similar to Swagbucks you have access to surveys that pay cash but and can earn watching videos and making purchases through their portal. Sign up now.

SurveyJunkie: SurveyJunkie is an online survey site with over 5 million members. With an A+ Rating from the Better Business Beraru, they’re one of the most trusted survey sites around. Sign up now.

Trim: Trim is like having your own personal finance assistant. Trim will negotiate your bills for you, alert you of unused subscriptions, and get you cash back on  online purchases. Sign up here.

 

#7) Set Any Bills On Automate

Any regular bills you want to automate. This include utilities and credit card.

Make sure you’re paying these bills every month–as just one late bill can harm your credit score.

# 8) Know Your Target Date

It’s good to know where you’re headed. You may be years away from retirement but it’s helpful to know where you’re at today. This helps you make better decisions tomorrow.

Use a free retirement calculator to estimate what you’d need to do to become financially independent.

Check in with this number on a regular basis to evaluate how you’re doing and make necessary changes.

#9) Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses

Eliminate any wasteful expenses. Here are 100 tips to saving money every month.

#10) Optimize Your Credit Cards

With little effort, you can get over 2% cash back for the year. If you spend $30,000 a year, that’s $600 a year.

A simple strategy for maximizing your cash back is a combination of the 1) Chase Freedom 2) Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom gives you 5% on rotating categories. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 3% cash back on all purchases during the first year on up to $20,000 spent. After the first year, you’ll then earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Used in combination, one can easily earn over 2% a year (and even more the first year). 

# 11) Sell Your Old Stuff.

Selling your stuff is one of the fastest ways to earn more money–so you can reach your goals as fast as possible.

The question to ask is, “what do I own today, I wouldn’t buy again for what I can sell it for?

Whatever you put on the list–it’s time to sell!

The money earned can be better used somewhere else.

# 12) Set New Goals

You’re now in maintenance mode as far as personal finance tasks. Use the below goal-setting guide to decide what’s next.

 

 

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