Ready to take charge of your finances for 2019?
Diving into the waters of personal finance can be exciting, but also overwhelming. There are so many personal finance blogs to read and personal finance tips to discover. It can be easy to get lost in the information and hard to find the nuggets of wisdom you really need. That’s why we’ve rounded up 75 personal finance tips for you to navigate your finances in all areas: from saving to spending, earning and investing, and of course budgeting (it’s not as scary as it sounds).
Read on to get the best personal finance tips:
How to Save Money
1. Open up a high interest savings account.
2. Set up automatic withdrawals from your checking to your saving account after payday.
3. Save at least 10 percent of your income, more if possible. If that’s not possible, save a minimum of one percent.
4. Have a rainy day fund that has one to two month’s worth of expenses saved up.
5. Have a longer-term emergency fund of three to six month’s worth of expenses.
6. Negotiate your Internet, phone and cable bills to lower your costs.
7. Save money by paying premiums annually instead of month to month.
8. Use any windfalls of cash from a tax refund, birthday gift, or work raise to pad your savings account.
9. Batch cook your meals on the weekend so you’re prepared for the week ahead.
10. Always use leftovers after going out to eat.
11. Have food staples like beans, rice, soup and frozen pizza to avoid “food emergencies” after a long day of work.
12. Download Ibotta to save money on groceries and get cash back.
13. Create targeted savings goals for everything you want to save for, including travel, emergencies, pet expenses and home renovations.
14. Consider walking, biking, or taking the bus to save money on transportation.
15. When it’s time to fill up your gas tank, check out GasBuddy first for the best deals.
16. Focus on quality when it comes to new purchases, so you won’t end up replacing that item every few months.
17. Focus on lowering expenses on housing, transportation and food to create bigger wins.
How to Curb Spending
18. Track every cent you spend for 30 days to get a wake-up call on where your money is actually going.
19. To avoid over-spending on food, don’t go to the grocery store hungry.
20. Always check your receipts for any errors or overcharges.
22. If you have good credit and are a responsible borrower, get a cash-back credit card.
23. Take out a specific amount of cash for your discretionary spending and stick to that amount each week.
24. Pay off your credit card on time and in full every month.
25. Spend on items and experiences that truly bring value to your life — things that make you happier, make your life easier, etc.
26. Splurge, within reason, on something that you really want.
27. Know your spending triggers, like exhaustion or stress, that encourage you to spend more on things you don’t necessarily need (like retail therapy, eating out, etc.)
28. When making a big purchase, check out several options and compare the prices and packages to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
29. Spend on life insurance now to protect you and your family down the line.
30. Do a spending audit and look for expenses that you can cut completely or somehow lower.
31. Check your insurance premiums and deductibles on home, rental, health and car insurance. Make any changes that can help you avoid overpaying.
32. Understand what all of your insurance really covers and see if there are any gaps that need to be covered.
33. Cut back or eliminate spending on vices like alcohol, cigarettes, or any other substances.
34. Avoid spending traps like the lottery, MLM schemes and more…because you don’t really need flat tummy tea or essential oils.
35. Get receipts for any tax-deductible donations to charities and write them off on your taxes.
36. Avoid impulse purchases by holding off for 48 hours to see if you really want it.
37. Calculate each purchase as hours worked for a different perspective — i.e. that one happy hour will cost me two hours of work.
38. Focus on paying off high-interest debt first to save money on interest (aka the Debt Avalanche method).
39. Review interest rates on all home loans, credit cards, personal loans etc. and know how much it will add to the cost of the loan.
40. Make biweekly student loan payments instead of one monthly payment to save money, as interest accrues daily.
41. When in doubt or distress, talk to your loan servicer or lender and never miss a payment because of hardship.
How to Budget
42. Make sure your income exceeds your expenses.
43. Understand the difference between “wants” and “needs” and budget accordingly.
44. Create a realistic budget based on your current income and expenses. Take into account debt repayment, saving and splurging.
45. Add a miscellaneous category with a $100 buffer for the random and unexpected things that may come up during the month. (Parking ticket anyone?)
46. Track your expenses to stay aligned with your budget, as this is the only way you’ll know if you go over budget or not.
48. Have a money date with yourself and/or spouse every week to check in on your finances, track progress on your goals and stay accountable.
49. Check your credit report each year at AnnualCreditReport, as any errors on your credit can affect your interest rates.
50. Read one of the best personal finance books on budgeting, “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” by Elizabeth Warren to understand the 50-30-20 rule.
51. Practice and start saying “no” to things that don’t align with your values or your budget.
52. Cultivate a sense of gratitude for what you already have to help you curb the desire to have more of the things you don’t have.
53. Check out NextDoor or Craigslist first before buying furniture or other items for your home to save money or get items for free.
54. Switch to a bank account with no hidden fees: no minimums, monthly maintenance fees or overdraft charges (Hint: Chime has all that and more)
How to Earn More Money
56. Negotiate a raise at work and use that extra money to fund your financial goals, without any lifestyle inflation.
57. Use direct deposit so your funds come to you faster (Pro tip: Chime has a get paid early function!)
58. Review your tax withholding to see if you’re saving too much and giving Uncle Sam a loan from your hard-earned dough.
59. Create another stream of income with a side hustle that focuses on your expertise or passion, like pet sitting, graphic design, writing, tutoring, etc.
61. Sell the items in your home that you no longer use; donate the rest.
How to Grow Your Money
62. Play the long game and don’t focus on selling stocks with every little change in the market.
63. Understand your risk tolerance based on your current lifestyle and expenses.
64. Have a grasp on investing terms and understand how they work.
65. Know what you’re investing in and have a strategy to get the returns you want.
66. Find a low-cost brokerage with minimal fees.
67. Contribute to a 401(k) and get a match, if eligible.
68. Invest in either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.
69. Set aside and put money in your retirement vehicles every month through automatic transfer.
70. Invest in yourself by taking a class, getting a certificate, etc.
71. Update your investments as your life changes and your risk tolerance changes, such as having kids, getting divorced, etc.
72. Read personal finance books on investing like “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham.
73. Take notes from bonafide investor Warren Buffet and invest in low-cost index funds.
75. Find the right asset allocation for you to drive your investing strategy.
The Bottom Line
Personal finance can be simple but not easy – at the same time. It’s all about implementing a plan and taking action.
If you want to change your financial life in 2019 (or at any time!), just start where you are with what you have. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Read personal finance blogs, personal finance books, listen to personal finance podcasts and connect with ideas that ignite your passion for finance. Though it can seem like it’s all about the money, it’s really about affording the life you want and buying your freedom and time.