- If you already have a decent emergency fund and no high interest debt (above 8%), you should probably start investing now.
- If you’ve been taking this time to improve your mental health, consider connecting with your money mindset.
- The least you can do is to contribute enough to secure your employer’s match, which is usually between 3% and 6%.
With a month to go before summer officially begins, I thought it would be a good idea to tackle some easy money moves. While we wait to see how the season will pan out and where we will spend our lazy summer days, why not use the bit of time you have now to make these easy and simple money moves? Feel excited yet?
The best part about these tips is, you don’t have to do them all! A smart money move here and there could go a long way towards having you feeling truly ready to embrace the outside world again. With that, here are quick money moves to leave your feeling like your #moneygoals are on point.
1. Check In On Your Emergency Fund
Creating or maintaining an emergency fund is a core money move that you should make.
If you currently have an emergency fund, how much do you have saved? How does that compare to your monthly expenses? Generally, it’s good practice to have three to six months of cash saved for emergencies.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, you can start by only contributing a small amount per week. This will build up over time , and help you cover unanticipated financial issues without having to disrupt your ability to cover your normal living expenses. Still trying to figure out what to do with your stimulus check, your tax refund or maybe just have a bit of money from not going out? How about putting it in your emergency fund.
2. Do What You Can to Pay Down High-Interest Debt
By the way, this should always be a top priority, regardless of where we are in an economic cycle. But it is more urgent now because we’re facing a recession where employment is likely to fall.
The first step is to figure out the total debt you have, the type of debt and the interest rates on those debts. Then look for ways to consolidate your debt or lower your interest rates. If you can, try negotiating a lower rate.
To tackle debt, consider aggressively paying off the highest interest debt and then the minimum on all others; once that is done, then tackle the next highest interest rate debt; and on and on until you’re debt free. With credit card interest soaring to record highs in recent years, I’d say do everything you can to ensure you’re lowering your total debt. Also if you can, now would be a good time to refinance your student loans.
3. Move Your Savings Online
One of the easiest money moves you can make is to switch to an online savings account. Most traditional savings accounts are paying out close to zero rates right now so you barely earn any money from them. Online banks pay a higher interest on their regular savings account than a typical brick-and-mortar bank. Trust me, ever since I switched to an online savings account, I haven’t looked back.
4. Connect With Your Money Mindset
If you’ve been taking this time to improve your mental health, consider connecting with your money mindset. Even for the most financially-savvy of us, our emotions, self-worth, and sense of safety have a huge impact on how we interact with our money.
Are you beating yourself up for not creating an emergency fund months ago? Are you questioning the big career change you chose to make early this year?
You don’t need to bury your feelings. According to Ken Honda, when you think of money through feelings of stress and frustration, it probably doesn’t stick around. But when you make and treat money as a joyful exchange, then your money is happy and flows to you. So develop a positive money mantra that works for you. And when you’re feeling more at peace, practice taking small steps.
5. Be A Steady, Savvy Investor
If you already have a decent emergency fund and no high interest debt (above 8%), you should probably start investing now. Once you start, make sure you stay steady and make regular contributions to your account. Review your goals and understand your risk tolerance. And if you’re scared to start, remember these words from Warren Buffet, “Investing requires qualities of temperament way more than it requires qualities of intellect.”
6. Assess Your Budget
If you haven’t reviewed your budget recently, now is the time to dig in. Especially if you need to make any adjustments because your earnings changed.
Figure out if you need to make cuts to your discretionary spending or fixed living expenses as you ride this out. Getting your money—and spending—right during this time means staying the course and having the assurance that, in the long run, you will be okay.
7. Get Smarter About Your Credit Score
Try checking out your credit score using Credit Karma. It shows you your credit score, why your score is where it is. It also has fraud alerts to let you know if someone is trying to use your personal information. If you have a low credit score, try using these tips to boost it.
8. Learn Your Tax Bracket
I know, taxes probably aren’t your favorite topic, but I wouldn’t mention it if I didn’t think it would be useful. If you pay taxes, you should probably learn how they work. An easy money move to make is to study the difference tax brackets. You’ll notice that after your taxable income exceeds certain limits, the tax rate goes up.
Once you understand this you can see the benefit of contributing higher income amounts to a 401(k) or Traditional IRA—the deductible contributions save you money at the higher rate.
9. Try Your Best to Boost Your Retirement Contributions – even if it’s by just 1%
The least you can do is to contribute enough to secure your employer’s match, which is usually between 3% and 6%. Boosting my contributions is probably one of the wisest money moves I’ve made and would recommend anyone to do it, too.
Saving for retirement is playing the long game, and every year counts. Take too long of a break and it will be more difficult to catch up later. Times are very uncertain now, and many people are struggling. But by making a few money moves now, you can improve your overall financial health and set yourself up for a brighter future.
10. Cancel at Least One Thing
Too many of us, myself included, have some type of recurring charge that is coming out of our bank account or being charged to our credit card. It is also probably something we don’t even use. It might be a magazine subscription, annual membership renewal fee, monthly perfume or something you signed up for accidentally. Scour your statements and set aside the time to cancel just one thing you don’t use.
Bonus points for cancelling something you do use that you could live without. That would give you more money to put toward your savings goals.