Most of us know what it takes to keep our finances on track – spend less, save more, avoid debt, and keep an emergency fund. The challenge is finding the time to put that knowledge into action, especially when some financial decisions seem so daunting. Based on the biggest pain points readers shared with us, we put together five simple moves that could save you time and money – and help you turn those goals into financial realities.
1. Download your bank’s mobile or tablet app – or both! Don’t waste another minute on hold for customer service. With these apps, you’ll have a record of all of your deposits, withdrawals, and account balances at your fingertips so that you can access the info you need, make transactions, and manage your money wherever and whenever you need it, whether you’re sitting in your den or on the beach.
2. Set up automatic bill pay for your regular monthly expenses. No more stamps, no more check writing, and no more late fees. I can tell you first hand that it takes less time than you may think to get started, and could save you precious hours every month.
3. Add it up. Sit down with a calculator and get a sense of your big picture — or better yet, use an online finance management tool that links all of your accounts to give you a holistic view of what you’re making, spending, and saving. The more you know about how your money is coming and going, the better prepared you’ll be when life throws you a curve ball.
4. Sign up for a credit card rewards program. There’s no reason you should be spending money on a credit card and not getting the most out of every penny. And the more you consolidate your expenses onto one or two cards, the more opportunity you’ll have to rack up points — and the more rewards you’ll be able to reap. The Citi ThankYou card, for example, can earn you points that can be used towards gift cards, gas cards, electronics, toys, entertainment and dining. 5. Talk. You know there’s a money conversation that you should be having — whether it’s with your children about their allowance or your parents about their long-term care plans. You may not get everything sorted out in the first conversation — but you’ll be in a much better place if you resolve to begin those discussions today.
For more money-saving tips from Citi’s Women & Co., check out my weekly column on the Manilla Blog.