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The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money
We’re all busy.
When schedules get crazy, trying to manage your money seems like yet another daunting thing to put on the to-do list. Inspired by my post about money check-ups you can do in 5 minutes, I sourced some of my favorite answers from the personal finance community — and gave them 5 more minutes! — they did not disappoint. This is the ultimate guide to managing your money (in less than 10 minutes.) Try a few of these out this month, and see how they can change your financial situation.
“Go through your email and unsubscribe to newsletters from stores and online retailers. Stores send those emails for a reason: they know there’s a chance you’ll open them up and buy something. Unsubscribe and remove the temptation of making an impulse purchase.” — Budget Kitty
“Create a table of all your debts and calculate the weighted average cost of all your debt. Start repaying debts with the highest interest rate first to slowly reduce your weighted average cost of debt. Once that hits below 4.25%, then invest like crazy. Have urgency. Then, rinse and repeat until you are on a beach somewhere.” — Millionaire Mob
“Take 10 minutes to drive to an ATM, withdraw what you consider to be a reasonable amount to spend on food for the week, month, or pay period, and commit to sticking with that cash for all of your food expenses!” — Personal Finance for Beginners
“If you aren’t budgeting, sign up for a budgeting tool that will pull financial data and tell you exactly how much you’re spending each month. It’s secure, free, quick to sign up, and you’ll know where your money goes. But knowing where it goes is just step one, step two is to make sure you adjust your spending so it goes to the right places!” — Wallet Hacks
“A great way to improve your finances is to bump your 401k contributions by 1% and see if that really impacts your life. You’ll find that you can adjust to the lower paycheck pretty easily and it won’t be that much lower since it’s pre-tax money. If the impact continues to be pretty invisible, bump it up another % and see how that feels. Your future self will definitely thank you.” — Time in the Market
“What gets measured, gets managed. Looking at your bank statements, connecting to Mint or Personal Capital [Tori note: I love Personal Capital and Status for net worth tracking], and doing a little spreadsheet work can identify weaknesses and inspire change.” — The Mastermind Within
“Ditch your credit card that gives travel rewards or no rewards and sign up for a cashback credit card that has an auto-redemption feature to deposit cash in your account each month (I use Fidelity). There are cards available that will pay 1.5% to 2.0% cashback on all purchases [Editor’s note: the Discover IT card is great for young professionals/college students, I love mine!] Free money! Make sure to pay off your balance in full each month through as these cards have monthly interest rates that are not a good choice for those who carry a balance.” — Financial Peacock
“My new favorite way to save money is to call or live chat with utility/service providers requesting revised pricing/a discount. I just research deals for a few minutes first so that I have some evidence-based bargaining power… And off I go! So far I’ve saved hundreds on electricity, insurances, and holiday deals.” [Tori note: here’s what kinds of services/products you can negotiate, and exactly what to say!] — The Flawed Consumer
“Review health insurance, review taxes, review property, and casualty insurance.” — Michael Dinich, The Money Geek
“The calculation behind your net worth is actually pretty simple. It boils down to Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities. That’s it. You’re taking everything you own or hold of value and are subtracting everything you owe or are obligated through debt to repay. The outcome positive (or negative), is your net worth. The bigger the number, the better. Your net worth number is your personal financial snapshot or financial health indicator. One number that can quickly be calculated, much faster than 10 minutes if you have easy access to your accounts and your personal finances aren’t overly complicated.” — Making Momentum
“Take 5 minutes and think about why you want to improve your finances. Really reflect. Why do I want to save more money, build wealth, get financial ducks in a row, etc.?” — The Wealth Hound
“Not investing yet? Sign up with a Robo-adviser which will get you started in a portfolio allocation that’s right for you. With regular contributions and automated rebalancing, this is the best to invest in the entire market that’s both hands-off and low cost.” — MapleMoney
“Check your credit score and review your credit report. Sign up for a free service such as MoneyTips or CreditKarma and keep tabs on your credit and identity.” — Women Who Money
“Pay yourself first. Set up automatic monthly contributions to your retirement accounts and low-cost index funds. Whatever is left is your spending money.” — Your Money Blueprint
“Look through their bank/credit statements for recurring charges that you no longer need or use. I’m always surprised to find something like a Pandora subscription that I used for a trip and forgot to stop. Might only be a few bucks but those all add up.” — Five Senses of Living
“Take a few minutes to brainstorm your financial goals, big and small. It could be everything from ‘stop buying takeout coffee’ to ‘retire by 47 with $1 million.’ Write them all down. Then organize them by priority (and perhaps current feasibility – but don’t let your circumstances limit your vision of what your future could look like). Pick a goal, set a deadline. Make your vision as concrete as possible, such as ‘save $200 for Christmas presents in the Ally checking account by December 1.’ What’s the first, small step you can take right now to get yourself started? ‘Calculate how much money I have to save per week for the next few months.’ Ok, do it! Then take the next step. And the next. Each one will get you closer to your goal.” — Happy in the Hollow
“Open a high-yield online savings account. Typical rates sometimes are just as high as CD’s and you do not have to be locked in for the term. Know that these are different than traditional online baking accounts. High-yield savings accounts are just that, only savings accounts and if you need the money it will have to be transferred back to your bank. My current rate is 1.8% and I am making over $150 a month in interest. This is a good option for emergency funds instead of having the money sit in traditional savings accounts.” — Bucks and Cents
“My favorite way to improve your finances in ten minutes is to list out your current debts. Listing out your current debtors, the minimum payment, and the interest rate will give you a sense of control. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Once you have your debts in front of you, you can plan an attack on them one by one.” — FI Introvert
“The secret is just to be intentional about what you want your money to do before you spend it.” — Budget with Belle
“After you’ve organized your finances with the best financial management software like others have recommended, transfer as much cash as possible from a no-interest checking account to a high yield CD or (if you’re sure you won’t need the money for the next few years) into a low fee stock market index fund like Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTI).” — Barbara Friedberg
“This one is less than a minute. Take off your shoes and turn up the temp on the AC. We do this all the time. In the winter, we reverse it.” — Paying for Private School
“If you’re not already maxing out your 401(k) or 403(b), log in and start contributing a percentage or two more. Many plans let you increase your contribution automatically every year. Sign up for this feature today. This way you won’t ‘forget’ to pay yourself first next year.” — Winning Personal Finance
“Shift your mindset about budgeting and expenditure. If you’re able to reframe your mindset and only spend money on things that you truly value, you can drastically improve your financial position.” — Fly to FI
I get asked all the time: what are your favorite money management tools?
Treasury: We’re building a one-of-a-kind, non-judgemental community where you can learn exactly how to invest, build wealth, and receive exclusive access to Her First $100k.
Capitalize: Did you recently switch jobs or launch your own business? Instead of losing money, roll over your old 401(k) into a brand new or existing IRA with Capitalize. They handle all the paperwork for you and for FREE, including calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf, completing paperwork, and sending faxes.
Personal Capital: The tool I check daily, Personal Capital is the best tool for tracking your net worth and your progress towards goals like saving, debt payoff, and (yes!) $100K.
The $100K Club Facebook Group: Need some honest money conversations in your life? Join my free community to get your burning questions answered.