7 Small Financial Improvements You Can Make in 10 Minutes or Less
Got a few extra minutes? Use it to improve your finances.
Managing your money, reviewing a budget, and tracking your expenses can all seem incredibly time-consuming. While you may not be made of money, you're also certainly not made of time.
You’ve got a busy life. How can you be expected to take control of your finances when you can barely find time to shower and sleep?
Here are some personal finance moves that you can make in about 10 minutes. Take advantage of a spare 10 minutes to do one of these activities.
- Read Your Credit Card and Debit Card Statements: Closely review the charges and flag anything that seems suspicious.
When you're scanning your statements, specifically watch out for unwanted charges, such as automatic renewals of magazine subscriptions, recurring memberships, and other monthly fees. These charges are legal -- i.e., they're not fraudulent charges -- but they still represent unwanted charges. According to the website Billguard.com, a credit and debit card monitoring service, the average person loses $356 per year as a result of these unwanted charges.
- Open an Account With an Online Bank: One that allows you to create sub-savings accounts, such as SmartyPig.
- Transfer Money Into Savings: Move money from your regular savings or checking account into a sub-savings account earmarked for a specific purpose, such as car repairs, home repairs, or healthcare costs. You can spend 10 minutes setting up an automatic monthly transaction so that you're regularly putting money aside each month without thinking about it. (More on that below.) Alternately, you can spend 10 minutes manually transferring any extra money that you may have into one of your sub-savings accounts.
- Automate Your Finances: You should set up automatic monthly payments for your bills so that you won't have to pay any late fees. You should also set up automatic payments from your checking account into your savings accounts, your retirement accounts, and your health savings accounts so that you can save without thinking about it.
- Read Personal Finance Articles Online: There are plenty of blog posts that teach personal finance and budgeting basics, such as how to manage money without a strict budget. Read these on your phone or a tablet while you are in a waiting room, or while you're passing the time while waiting for a friend to show up.
- Check Your Receipts Against Your Credit or Debit Card Statements: Do this every month. Sometimes merchants overcharge you, either accidentally or on purpose, so keep an eye out for anything that looks more expensive than it ought to be.
- Use a Budgeting App like Mint.com to Review Your Spending Habits: This will help you become more conscious of where you're spending your money.
There you go! Seven money management moves that you can make in 10 minutes or less—so get to work. Take control of your finances today, even if you're time-crunched.