This Simple 7-Day Plan Will Help You Conquer Your Money This Week
One week. Just seven days. When you think about it, it’s amazing what you can accomplish over the course of one week when you dig in your heels and go for it.
You’ve devoted that much time to the gym and the salad bar so you could fit into that outfit before next weekend’s wedding, right?
Now it’s time to give the same attention to your finances. I know it’s not fun, but you’re adulting now, right? Here’s the good news: By tackling just one thing each day for one week, you can boost your financial life now and for years down the road.
Let’s take it one day at a time.
Sunday: Make Money While You Watch TV
Rise and shine! It’s time to get your seven day financial fix up moving!
Start out your week by earning a little extra money without turning off the TV or even taking your feet off the coffee table. Luckily, you can do all of this on your computer or phone.
Surveys aren’t the quickest way to make money, but they’re a great way to cash in on your down time. Fill them out while you’re watching TV, riding the bus or waiting in line.
One survey site we love is called InboxDollars. It offers several short, daily surveys, and you’ll get a $5 bonus for signing up. Plus, you get to earn cash, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging points. Check out how one college student pocketed $600 with InboxDollars. Her secret? Persistence.
Monday: Get Your Bills in Sync
OK, you’ve recovered from the weekend. Let’s not hit snooze on our financial game plan. It’s Monday, and it’s time to get to work. There’s no time to get a case of the Mondays.
Think about all your bills. Rent, utilities, your cell phone. Ugh.
Keeping up with all these bills is tough. It’d be nice to just sync them all and receive automatic reminders for them each month, right?
Rather than manually penciling bills into your calendar, download Prism. The app lets you connect all your accounts — and even pay all your bills — in one spot. Once you’re connected, it’ll automatically sync your bill info and set up reminders for you.
Turn on notifications to get payday reminders and notices when your water bill is due, for example. This will help you plan your month and avoid any late fees. And because you’re making these payments on time, it could even boost your credit score.
Bonus: We found an app that’ll help you cut the cost of your bills.
Empower is like having a personal financial assistant in your smartphone, and it has this cool “find free money” feature. It’ll do things like negotiate your cell phone bill, review your insurance coverage and cancel unwanted subscriptions.
Tuesday: Put This App to Work on Your Savings
Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week, according to one survey reported by Business News Daily? It’s time to bear down and take a hard look at your finances and what’s lacking.
Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?
Digit makes that possible.
This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.
Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $5 just for signing up!
Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, Matt Wiley saved $4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.
Digit is free to use for the first 100 days, then it’s $2.99 per month afterward.
Wednesday: Get Over the Hump With This Free Check up
Happy Hump Day! Just four days in, and you’ve already made great strides toward a better financial life.
If you’re saving for your retirement with a 401(k), awesome.
But when’s the last time you truly checked in on your account, adjusted your allocations, addressed any fees and all that other fun stuff?
Try using a robo-adviser to make sure your 401(k) is on track with your retirement goals. Blooom is an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that’ll optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.
Your initial account check up is free, and you can do it online in less than five minutes. This will help you get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out whether you’re paying too much in investment fees, have the appropriate amount of money invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of stuff.
If you’re satisfied with the outcome of your initial check up, great! If not, you can enroll in Blooom for $10 a month. (Penny Hoarders get one month free.) It’ll automatically adjust your 401(k) to best fit your needs all the way up to retirement.
Thursday: Crush Your Debt
Did you know Thursday is named in honor of the Norse god Thor? It’s only appropriate, because now it’s time to hammer away at your debt. See what I did there? Thursday, Thor, hammer?
Have you ever considered consolidating your debt? It could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.
A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.
A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.
Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness (though it does require a 620 credit score).
It can help you borrow up to $50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.
Friday: Sit Back, Relax — and Get a Free $5
Yes! Stay with me. You’re doing great. Today’s tip lets you take a load off.
If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.
Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your credit or debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change.
That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Once you hit $5, Acorns will automatically invest it.
The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, we reviewed how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $420 a year!
Acorns will give Penny Hoarders a $5 bonus for signing up, and average interest earning is around 7%.
Saturday: Play the Slots — and Boost Your Savings
You made it! It’s Saturday, and it’s day seven of your seven day financial fix up. You’ve done amazing things! Time for a little fun.
Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?
The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.
As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.
Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.
In two months, she’s saved $35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.
Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.
Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’s declared that Mondays are the new Saturday. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.