Top 10 Tips for People with Finance Phobia
Consumer finance expert and founder of HelloWallet, Matt Fellowes offered 10 top savings ideas for people aiming to improve their financial health.
Fellowes runs HelloWallet for-profit personal finance Web site on non-profit principles, charging no more than $5 a month for personalized financial advice , refusing compensation from 130,000 financial institutions that form HelloWallet’s database for consumer resources, and by awarding free subscriptions to needy households.
While Fellowes told TechNewsDaily he has more tips than he can count, he whittled them down to these 10, easy enough for even the most financial-phobic:
Pay yourself. It’s old advice, but probably the most important. Give yourself $10 a day or whatever you can afford. Set up an automatic deposit from your checking account to a money market and then forget about it. Almost half of Americans report that they could not find $2,500 in an emergency. Don’t be a statistic!
Move your money out of a checking account. It seems basic, but most consumer deposits are in non-interest bearing accounts and billions of dollars are lost in interest because people store too much money in their checking accounts. Use accounts that pay interest, like money markets or CDs.
Tell your auto insurance company you’re leaving. That is the news they fear most. They will try to win you back by giving you a better rate. Don’t be bullied. They will bend.
Tell your credit card company you’re leaving. The people on the other end of that line have been trained to not lose your business. They will make it difficult for you to leave, but chances are that they will offer you a better rate in the process.
Use a cash-incentive credit card instead of your debit card. This is definitely not for everyone! But, if you can promise to pay your balance off every month, go ahead and get a card that pays you cash for your everyday expenses. It’s easy money. And, it generally is a lot better than the silly rewards programs that come with a mile of caveats or extra fees.
Cancel subscriptions. Entire industries are built around our propensity to sign-up for something and forget about it. Take an inventory of all of your outstanding subscriptions and cancel what you don’t need. There could be hundreds of dollars waiting for you.
Say goodbye to the gym. I know, this is rough for some of you. But, unless you are trying to get a date or need professional help losing weight, most people can get all of the exercise they need at and around their homes. Gyms have become accessories at the very same time that America is more overweight than ever before. Don’t be fooled that you can only be in good shape if you’re dropping $50-150 a month. It’s nonsense.
Use your legs, a bike, or public transportation. This is not for everyone, but it can literally save you thousands of dollars in some metropolitan areas. Did you know that transportation is the second biggest share of household expenses behind housing costs? Most people drive everywhere and it adds up. Big time. Try something different and you’ll notice the difference in your wallet.
Maximize your 401(k). If you’re one of the nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers that has a 401(k) plan, make sure you are getting the full match from your employer. Incredibly, only 1 percent of all households maximize their 401(k) match. It’s free money. Go get it!
Buy things because they are high quality, and a good deal. This might be a bit of a head-scratcher, but making an investment in a high quality consumer durable, electronics, or other good can actually save you money over the long term because it’s less likely to break or create other costs for you.