Many people have money issues. They struggle with it every single day. Some folks don’t pay attention to their finances that often. They think that things will just get better by themselves. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t. You have to work at it. Today, I’m going to share five smart money moves that you should do to help you get your finances in order. The smart money moves have to deal with debt and more.
Know Your Balances
For you to make any changes with your funds, you have to know your balances. You should be aware of how much money you have in your checking account. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of just swiping my card at times without knowing what my balance was. I ended up getting more than a few overdraft fees. Getting charged $25 – $35 each month wasn’t fun. I eventually got my act together and paid attention to my balance. Besides your checking and savings account, you should also track your credit cards and loans (student, mortgage, etc.) One tool that I use to help me keep track of everything is Personal Capital. With Personal Capital, I can see the balances of my checking, savings, credit card and loan accounts in one central location. You can also view the different transactions that you have as well. Personal Capital also has tabs that allow you to see your portfolio information and advisor tools. Did I mention that Personal Capital was free? Sign up for it here.
If you don’t want to go the online route, you can do it old school and get a check register similar to the one here. Believe it or not, I use a check register. I love writing things down, so keeping a check register is perfect for me. I update it at least every couple of days. The goal is to make sure that everything adds up with the register and your online account.
Pay Off Debt
The next thing that you want to do is pay off your debt. Debt is one thing that holds too many people back. As of this writing, the United States is in nearly $20 trillion in debt. That’s just ridiculous. I’m in the process of paying off a lot of debt. I’ve been working on eliminating it since 2015. It is not always easy. At one point, I was down to just my student loans, but I ended up getting back into credit card debt. Also, my car went out in 2018, so I had to get a new vehicle. This type of stuff can through you off. I’ve had moments where I wanted to give up, but I won’t. I keep thinking of all the things that I’ll be able to do once my debt is gone.
I’m motivated to get out debt sooner than later. There have been a lot of people in my situation. They were able to push through and make it happen. I know that I can do it as well. I just have to keep the right mindset and stay focused.
Getting a side hustle will help you pay off your debt quickly. There are hundreds of things that you can do to make extra money. If you are stumped, check out this list of 40+ side hustles that I wrote a while back. I’m sure that you will be able to find something that you can do. When you start making money from your side hustle, make sure that you use the money specifically to pay down your debt. If you do that, your future self will thank you.
Some of my favorite side hustles have been selling things on eBay and selling t-shirts. Find out what side hustle you can do well and get to work.
Balance Transfer Card
Getting a balance transfer card will help you pay your credit card debt quicker. In January of 2016, I was making a payment on my Bank of America credit card when I realized that the interest was over $60. That’s too much to be paying. I started doing my research and heard a great Periscope broadcast from Sandy who owns Yes I am Cheap. She discussed balance transfer credit cards in detail. After hearing that broadcast, I applied for one immediately. I was approved for a Chase Slate card. The balance transfer had a zero percent APR for fifteen months. I transferred $1960 of the $2900 that I had left to pay on my Bank of America card to the new Chase card. Doing that allowed me to pay off both credit cards by March 2017. It was a wonderful feeling to not have any credit card debt. In less than 90 days I will have that feeling once again. I can’t wait!
Many student loans have high-interest rates. It could be variable making your payment fluctuate every year. If that’s the case, you should consider looking at a company that will allow you to refinance the loans. There are a lot of businesses out there that provide this service. One company that I would recommend to you is Earnest. They are a lender that provides refinancing for different types of loans. The amount of student loans that Earnest has refinanced is $8.6 Billion. Earnest has great rates that will save you money on mortgages, student loans, and personal loans. They also have a lot of great resources on their site such as payoff calculators and different guides.
I’m a fan of Earnest. I refinanced my private loans through them a couple of years ago. I was able to get a lower rate and my monthly payment was cheaper.
Earnest is giving new users $200 if they are approved. Sign up below.
I believe the five smart money moves that I discussed above can be done by anyone. If you are serious about getting your funds in order, you have to make some changes. It will take some discipline. Once you do that you will see your finances change for the better.