Money is still a bit of a taboo topic among families and friends, which is why many of us don’t know what a normal amount is to have (or aim for).
But thankfully, there’s an easy calculation to know the exact dollar amount you need to have on-hand in your checking account:
It’s one or two months of your living expenses. That’s it! So if between rent, utilities, groceries, budgeted fun stuff for your kids and debt payments, you spend $5,000 each month, then you should have $5,000 to $10,000 in your checking account.
Here’s some advice: It might not be smart to keep more than two months’ worth of expenses in your checking account. If you can keep it closer to one month, that’s even better. Why? Because it’s likely earning you next to zero in interest, when you could be making way more with your money elsewhere.
Here are the first things you should do with your money once you have one to two months’ worth of expenses saved to cover your bills:
1. Build An Emergency Fund And Keep It In A Safe Place
If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, start one now. Having this safely stored — but readily available — can keep you out of trouble
You should look for a place to safely stash it away — but still earn money. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.05% is nothing these days.)
But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 20 times the average interest on the money in your account (plus up to 5% cash back).
Not too shabby!
Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
2. Get $250 in Cash When You Need it — at 0% APR
When you need cash — and you need it fast — there are only so many legal ways to get it. And most of them aren’t great. You definitely don’t want to pay up to 400% APR1 (no, we didn’t make up that number) on a payday loan.
But with the mobile banking app MoneyLion, you could get that cash in minutes — at 0% APR. Yep, interest-free. It’s called Instacash, and it could get you up to $250 any time you need it. No interest. No monthly fees. No credit check.
Once you set up your account and link it with a qualifying bank account, you’ll have access to receive up to $250 in Instacash advances in just a few minutes. Even better, there’s zero interest.
There won’t be a credit check or any required fees charged to your account; you’ll just get the cash — no strings attached.
Signing up for Instacash is easy. Get started here to get access to cash with 0% APR.
3. Invest It. This App Gives You Up to $200 in Free Stock to Start
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing after you’ve put money in your emergency fund, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
4. Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at Just $16/Month
Sometimes you need to spend some money to make some money. Getting life insurance in case something happens to you is one of those cases. It’s a good place to invest a few bucks every month, once your checking account and emergency funds are in a good spot.
Like, have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
MoneyLion: This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. You should consult your own financial, legal, and tax advisors before engaging in any transaction. Information, including hypothetical projections of finances, may not take into account taxes, commissions, or other factors which may significantly affect potential outcomes. This material should not be considered an offer or recommendation to buy or sell a security. While information and sources are believed to be accurate, MoneyLion does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information or source provided herein and is under no obligation to update this information. For more information about MoneyLion, please visit https://www.moneylion.com/terms-and-conditions/.
Instacash is an optional service offered by MoneyLion. Your available Instacash Advance limit will be displayed to you in the MoneyLion mobile app and may change from time to time. Your limit will be based on your direct deposits, account transaction history, and other factors as determined by MoneyLion. See Membership Agreement and help.moneylion.com for additional terms, conditions and eligibility requirements.