My favorite saying in the finance world is “personal finance is personal.” We all come from different backgrounds with money, and no two people handle their finances the same way. Our lens from which we view money is created over time by our parents, our mentors, our lifestyle, where we live, who we know, and myriad other circumstances. Experts estimate that our perceptions of money are cemented by age 7 –– before most of us even have the chance to earn any of our own.

The good news is that even though our journeys may look different, there are guideposts that help us along the way to building the future we want. Changing your financial perspective and behaviors takes time, but it absolutely can be done and is massively beneficial.

To help you get started, here’s a week’s worth of quick money to-do’s to help you step up your financial game plan and crush your money goals.

Day 1: Move your money from a boring, regular savings account into an HYSA

This has to be the first task in your financial game plan. If you’re rocking a solid emergency fund and maybe some extra savings but it’s just sitting in your regular bank account, you are losing money. Traditional savings accounts pay out measly interest rates (some as low as .01%), earning you pennies a year. If you have money sitting in a regular savings account, it is losing value against interest.

A HYSA (high-yield savings account), on the other hand, is an account you set up with a separate (usually digital) bank that can earn you up to 50 times the interest of your “normal” savings account. As the pandemic has driven interest rates down, this amount may seem insignificant, but it’s a quick solution that can make a difference in the long run.

Most financial experts recommend keeping at least your emergency fund in an HYSA –– however, it may also be beneficial to keep savings for short-term goals (5 years or less) in an HYSA as well. These short-term goals include things like taxes or vacation funds.

As far as finding the best HYSA for you, don’t overthink it too much. Of course you should make sure that it’s FDIC-insured (or NCUA if it’s a credit union!). The biggest things to keep an eye out for are minimum balance requirements, deposit frequency and limits on the amount of transfers. All of these can come with fees that could eat into your return. Know that rates will fluctuate between banks, and some might also offer perks. . Just make sure to choose what’s best for you!

Day 2: Go through your statements with a fine-toothed comb

I have vivid memories of my parents going through their banking statements every month and ensuring that every charge had a reason. I can’t tell you how many times they found a duplicate charge or even fraud and were able to resolve the issue quickly. We’re talking hundreds of dollars over the course of the year that could have been lost due to simple clerical errors.

To this day, I print out my bank statements and make sure everything is in order during my monthly Money Date –– which is, you guessed it, the monthly date I have with my finances. I sit down with a glass of wine and carefully comb through every charge. Don’t forget to check in on all of your accounts for this, including credit cards and savings! Knowing where your money is going is one of the most important parts of any financial plan.

Day 3: Check out some of Million Stories resources and become a student again

Million Stories has so many incredible resources, and their videos are perfect for popping on when you need a boost. With topics ranging from entrepreneurship to house hacking, environmentalism, and more, you’ll be sure to find content that’s inspiring and fascinating. Everyone needs at least one day a week to binge –– use yours to catch up on any one of the Million Stories video libraries.

Here are a few interesting series about money to get you started:

Day 4: Open your investing account (or check in on your portfolio)

Have you been putting off investing? Or do you have a 401(k) that you haven’t checked in on since opening? This is an essential piece in your financial game plan. Now is a great time to glance at your existing accounts and see where you can make small changes, if necessary. Some questions to ask yourself when you’re checking in on your investments:

  • Am I hitting my company match?
  • Could I be contributing more to either my IRA or 401(k)? Or both?
  • Is my portfolio diversified enough for my age and goals? (Check out the Rule of 110 to help!)
  • Have my goals changed since I started investing? If so, what needs to change about my investments to reflect that?

If you haven’t started investing, the best time to do so is right now, even if it’s only $20 a month in a Roth IRA or hitting your 401(k) match. Time in the market, thanks to compound interest, is your best friend.

This is also a great time to make sure you’ve rolled over any previous 401(k) plans from your previous jobs! It takes a little time and effort, but it’s worth it.

Day 5: Negotiate your bills

Every three months or so, I amp myself up and get on the phone with pretty much anyone who sends me a bill, and I negotiate as much as they’ll let me. This includes phone, cable, internet, utilities, and even interest on credit cards or loans.

I start with a script that I know well, remaining pleasant while also reminding the company of my track record of on-time payments, long-time loyalty, and sometimes even bringing up competitive offers.

You can read my custom script and learn a few of my favorite negotiating tips here on this negotiation blog!

Do I always win out? Nope –– but I save hundreds a year by setting aside a few hours to make these calls.

Day 6: Take a deep dive on your statements again and start saving

Remember those statements from day two? Pull them back out and really begin to analyze your purchases. Are there subscriptions you haven’t used in months? Are you spending way more than you think you are on take-out? This is a great time to check in with your established budget and make adjustments or build a new one.

Our spending habits change from year to year and sometimes month to month –– don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve lost track. Checking in with your statements gives you a birds-eye view and can help your financial plan by reevaluating your spending priorities.

Day 7: Set it and forget it

One of the most magical words in personal finance is automation. Technology has changed so much in the banking world over the last few decades, and it’s easier than ever to automate your savings process. This is a part of your financial game plan that keeps on giving.

When you automate, you’re less and less likely to “feel it” when money goes from your paycheck into your savings or investment account. It’s an excellent way to keep that money you’d planned for savings to actually make it all the way to savings.

Start with a small amount set up as an automated savings transfer every time that paycheck rolls in. Make adjustments as often as necessary and watch your savings account grow!

Bonus: Transfer $20 to savings right now

Here’s a fun bonus tip –– transfer $20 to savings right now! Or $5, or $50, or $100! Moving this amount over gives your savings a small boost without making you feel like you have nothing left in your checking. Instead of spending that $20 on an impulse buy, think of this as a purchase into something even better– your future.

Each of these simple financial steps may seem small, but together, they’ll create a ripple effect across your finances and help you build a stronger foundation for your future.

Make sure to check out more from Million Stories to get inspired to take action, make a change, and grow through any of their incredible video series.

Get Your Free Zoom Background.

Sign Up For Our Mailing List

Get Your Free Zoom Background.
Sign Up For Our Mailing List

You have Successfully Subscribed!