Money

This 7-Day Money Challenge Is the Perfect New Year’s Resolution

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When’s the last time you spent some time with your money? Nope — not spent your money. We’re talking about sitting down and getting your finances organized and on track.

This is easy to procrastinate. After all, it sounds like a MASSIVE chore you definitely don’t have time to do. But dedicating some time to organizing your budget, debt, credit and monthly bills will take a load of stress off you — and your wallet.

That’s why we put together this easy-to-follow weeklong money challenge. Each item on this list is super doable. All you need is an hour or less each day this week. The goal? Organize your finances and breathe a little easier.

Day 1: Make a Budget That Works for YOU

Everyone’s income and spending looks different, so there’ll never be a magical one-size-fits-all budgeting solution. In fact, this might be why you gave up on your last budget.

But the 50/20/30 method is super easy to use and tailor to your needs. Here’s what it looks like:

50% of your income goes toward essentials.

20% goes toward financial goals.

30% goes toward personal spending.

Once you get the hang of it, you can adjust the ratios needed. Maybe your child goes to daycare, and you need more room for essentials, so consider cutting back on your personal spending. Or maybe you have a bunch of student debt, so you need to dedicate more money to your financial goals.

Take some time to find what works best for you and your goals.

Day 2:  Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month

When you think about your credit card debt, you probably — or definitely — feel anxious. It gets complicated keeping track of the balances, the minimum monthly payments and the super-high interest rates.

And while you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off the interest you pay. But a company 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 (organized!) 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 $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 3.84% and terms from 24 to 84 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 stress that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

Day 3: See If There Are Any Hidden Errors on Your Credit Report

When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car. And if you have an error on your credit report (one out of five reports do), that could stand in your way — without you even realizing it.

  • Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will help you detect any errors — for free. If you find any, it will even help you dispute them.

Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report this way. Using Credit Sesame, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.*

Now she and her husband feel like they’re in a better position to conquer their biggest goal — purchasing a house. 

  • Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

Day 4: Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at $5/Month

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? It’s easy to procrastinate, but now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you could leave your family $1 million with a company called Bestow.

Rates start at just $5 a month, and you can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of 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, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

Day 5: Knock $55/Month Off Your Car Insurance in 2 Minutes

When’s the last time you did a monthly bill audit? Yup — you could probably pay less on some of your pesky monthly bills.

Here’s an easy one to start with: Car insurance. You should be shopping your options every six months or so. It could save you some serious money — but what a hassle, right?

Thankfully, a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes. 

All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.

The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.

If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.

Day 6: Have a Huge Bonfire

Do you have cabinets and drawers and folders full of old financial paperwork? You probably don’t need to hang onto that electric bill from five years ago.

Take today to work through these documents. Shred what you don’t need. Anything you do need, scan them to your computer and save them in a secure file on your computer.

Then, eliminate all the physical and mental clutter… with a bonfire! It’ll feel good to burn away the clutter, and you can also use it as an excuse for a fun get-together with your friends.

Once you’re done, say goodbye to extra paper, and sign up for electronic statements on all your accounts to keep your life tidy and organized in the future.

Day 7: Download This App to Get Up to $500 in Free Stock

Now that you’ve got everything organized and up-to-date, it’s time to think about the future. Yup — we’re talking about investing.

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $500!) if you know where to look.

Whether you’re 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 $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

*Like Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.

We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World

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