Wouldn’t it be nice to rid yourself of those financial black clouds bringing you down? The mounting debt, the sinking credit scores, the rising expenses chipping away at your savings?
Of course it would. And it’s definitely possible — with a few smart money moves and tweaks to your spending habits, you can forge a path that will get you going toward a strong financial future.
Just because these are long-term strategies doesn’t mean you can’t get started today. Make these moves to help set yourself up for life.
1. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
If you have credit card debt, your credit card company is going to keep piling on the interest until you pay it off in full. And unless you win the lottery or come into a windfall of cash, that could be hard to do.
But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
2. Put More Focus on Raising Your Credit Score
It’s easy to forget about your credit score when you have more pressing problems wreaking havoc on your finances. But by letting your credit score slip, you could be creating even more issues down the road. Your dreams of owning a home, buying a car or even getting a new job could be busted with a bad score.
So first things first — check your credit score and your credit report. Use a free website like Credit Sesame.
Within 90 seconds, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
Now that you know where you stand, use those personalized tips to raise your score and get rid of errors. Whether that’s lowering your credit usage or setting up automatic payments to avoid more late payments, you can make smart decisions now that will
3. Invest With Long-Term Goals In Mind
Yes, short squeezes and options and puts can be exciting. And just like the thrill of gambling in Vegas, you can win big — or lose bigger.
When you’re aiming to set yourself up for life, high-risk investments can set you back. So unless you can afford to lose what you put into volatile investments, don’t.
One of the safest ways to invest long-term is through traditional stock market investments. Sure, it’s not as exciting, but over time the market has gone up an average of 7% each year. That can be a big part of reaching your long-term goals, and an app called Stash can help you get there.
It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.
That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1
It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2
Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*
4. Add a Little Bit To Your Emergency Fund Every Week
Setting yourself up for life isn’t a quick fix from your current predicament. But if you invest in yourself a little bit at a time, you can make a big difference in the future.
By adding a little bit of money to your emergency fund every week, you can slowly build it up without putting too much strain on your current budget. The recommended amount is three to six months of expenses, so the sooner you start, the better.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund started, consider putting it in an account that will make sure you’re not missing out on extra cash.
When you sign up for a debit card called Aspiration, you could get up to 5% back when you swipe at certain stores — plus they give you up to 83 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance.
It’s perfect for earning extra cash for things that are already on your shopping list. You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
This card used to have a huge waiting list, but now you can sign up for free.
Just enter your email address here and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
5. Cut Your Expenses — Even The Mandatory Ones
Setting yourself up for financial security sometimes means cutting the fun stuff from your budget. But before you do that — because we all need our Netflix subscriptions right now — cut the bills you can’t live without.
How is that possible? Start with the places you’re likely overpaying, like your car insurance. When was the last time you even checked for new quotes? If it was more than six months ago, you could have a lower rate by now.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s not set for life — yet!
1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.
2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.
For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.
*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.
The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
*The Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank. The Aspiration Save Account’s up to 5.00% Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) with up to 83x the national interest rate is variable, subject to change, and only available to customers enrolled in Aspiration Plus after conditions are met. Customers not enrolled in Aspiration Plus receive 3.00% APY after conditions are met. Terms & FAQ. Aspiration’s Cash Back program is subject to change at any time and without notice, including reversal of rewards for abuse, fraud, and other illicit activity. Cash Back rewards are generally credited on the first day of each calendar month. For additional Cash Back details, click here & here. Aspiration is not affiliated with any other named entity.