Financial

30 Ways to be Better at Money in 30 Days

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Designed for the budget resistant; the personal finance novice; the college kid looking to be more in control of their money – WITHOUT having to budget (bleh) or track spending daily (ick).

Every day for a month, grab a glass of wine and knock out an item on this list. By the end, you may be an alcoholic. But, you’ll be much more in control of your finances!

 

Day 1. Get yourself a piggy bank. (“How?” you ask. “From where?” Easy. Ask your bank? Buy online? Use a mason jar from your mason jar collection? I know you have one.)

Put that piggy bank / mason jar somewhere in your house where you’ll pass it every day. Get into the habit of throwing loose change from your wallet into it daily. In fact, empty your wallet change into it right now.

Day 2. Research your salary in comparison to the industry average (try Glassdoor or Indeed’s salary tool). Answer these two questions:

  1. Are you making more or less than what’s considered standard?
  2. How does that make you feel?

Day 3. Set up a recurring payment to your IRA/401k account. (Yes, find your login info. God forbid, call a human for help if you need it. Get it done today!)

If you already contribute regularly, increase your contribution amount. The amount doesn’t matter – be it 5% of your salary or $5 out of each paycheck. Just give more, more, more!

Day 4. Subscribe to the New York Times finance emails.

(No, really! Don’t leave, hear me out! Reading the content is great, but it isn’t half as important as you, beginning to think of yourself less as the kind of in-control, responsible, disciplined, intelligent adult who subscribes to the NYT. Perception is power.)

Day 5. If you don’t have a Mint.com account – make one, dammit! If you have one, check in on your credit score, or update your goals.

Day 6. Write down 3 finance-related goals for this year, and choose a deadline for each before December 31st.

Day 7. Know your first finance-related goal you wrote down earlier (like, yesterday)? Make a list of what you’ll have to do to accomplish said goal. Book each task in your calendar or to-do list to meet your deadline.

Day 8. Go out to drinks with your girlfriend. Strike up a conversation about money.

If this feels weird, start with something likkeee, “So I’m doing this 30 day money exercise, it’s pretty (insert adjective here)…”

Day 9. ‎Plan for a no-spend sprint one day this week. For 24 hours, you cannot swipe or pay cash for anything.

Day 10. ‎Ask Siri/Alexa/Google the first money-related question that pops into your head!

Day 11. Download a robo-savings app like Qapital or Digit. Connect your bank info and watch the savings accumulate!

Day 12. Before trashing all unread promotional emails in your inbox today… unsubscribe instead.

Day 13. Pour yourself a shot of liquor. Use an online calculator to determine your goal savings amount for retirement (try NerdWallet’s, it’s super user-friendly). Do the shot. Check one or two other online calculators, so you have a well-balanced number to keep in mind. Cry a little.

Day 14. Get yourself a little closer to that scary retirement goal amount. Today, you’re gonna consolidate any old 401k funds from previous jobs to the one you have with your current employer. No excuses! Call a human, contact support, do whatever if you need help… but just get it done, already!

Day 15. ‎Put pen to paper – make a list of all the things you can think of off the top of your head that you pay for at least once per week. Brainstorm fun and terrible ways you, as a human, could possibly get by purchasing it less frequently (like, even just ONE widget less).

Day 16. Browse your favorite personal finance bloggers sites (if you don’t have one, do a Google search) and download their budgeting templates. Aim for 5. (If you’re stuck, Budgets are Sexy has a whole list!)

Then… just… look at the templates. That’s it! Just looking, no budgeting. What do you find appealing? What makes them terrifying? Is there anything interesting you could try using in your own budget, if you have one?

Day 17. ‎Buy yourself That One Thing that’s less than $50. You know. That Thing that crosses your mind nearly every day, that would improve your life in a small way, that for no good reason you’ve been denying yourself.

Day 18. ‎Break! Remember your first upcoming finance goal? Do something today to work at it.

Day 19. You know that question about your salary/insurance/retirement fund you’ve been avoiding asking HR about? Ask it.

Day 20. Day dream! What would happen if you lost your job tomorrow? Think realistically. How long could your money last you, from which accounts could you pull? How would you look for a job blah blah blahWhere would you curb spending?

Day 21. ‎Find and collect all the gift cards in the house you can get your hands on. Go through them and see if you can put any to good use in the near future.

Day 22. ‎Grab a piece of paper, a pen and your calculator! Time to figure out your net worth.

Add all of your assets (checking + saving accounts + retirement + value of things like car + home). Then, subtract your liabilities (student loans – credit card debt – money owed on things like car payments – mortgage). Don’t freak if it’s negative. Congratulate yourself on being financially aware.

Day 23. ‎Whats your money-spending kryptonite? Identify it. Now plan to go without it for the remainder of the month.

Day 24. ‎Call your bank and ask what the current rate is for your savings account. Ask what the next level of savings is – how much would be needed in the account and by how much would your rate increase?

Day 25. ‎Put pen to paper. If you were given one thousand bucks, how would you spend that money? How about 10 thousand?

Day 26. ‎Pick one item or collection you’ve been hoarding with the thought that one day you’ll be able to sell it for something. Maybe it’s that piece of furniture in the garage, antique serveware in the basement or a few designer pieces that aren’t your taste anymore? List it online already!

Day 27. ‎Work on your financial goal with the closest deadline.

Day 28. ‎Ask someone you look up to – a parent, grandparent, mentor, tweet your fave blogger or author, etc. – what’s their best piece of money advice?

Day 29. ‎Buy a ticket to experience, try or learn something new. Maybe it’s something you always wanted to do or thought about doing, but haven’t yet. Appreciate how money can allow you to be whoever you want to be. Think about ways you currently spend to try and say things about yourself that are and aren’t true.

Day 30. ‎Take all the coins from your piggy bank / mason jar and take them to a human bank. Roll them up, and have the teller deposit the cash in your savings account. Bring your piggy back home and start collecting again!

 

 

Would love to hear your feedback and favorite parts of this challenge, if you participated! Feel free to shout in the comments, via social media, or send me a personal email 🙂

Jess works in the e-commerce and nonprofit industries with a focus on digital marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and public relations. She loves pop punk, performing arts, big cities, books, and chardonnay.

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