money·4 min read

6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Finances in 30 Minutes or Less

woman on couch smiling using her phone
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Sep 13, 2022

Not every money move you make has to be a major one. And putting in a little effort now can pay off big in the long run. Think: Setting up automated deposits to a savings account so you can build up an emergency fund. (Buh-bye going into debt for car repairs.) Keep reading for more easy ways to improve your finances today.

1. Set up an automatic deposit. 

If you haven’t already set up an automated deposit from your checking account to a savings account, this is your sign to tackle this task ASAP. 

Why you should do it: Even a small, recurring deposit can help you out in the long run. Hi, emergency fund or sinking fund (psst…to pay for that dream vacay).

The time commitment: It’ll only take you 10 minutes, max.

2. Check your credit score. 

If you haven’t checked your credit score in a while, it’s time. 

Why you should do it: Even if you checked it recently, it’s worth looking at again. Hint: Your score can change every month. Head to AnnualCreditReport.com (aka the free website through the federal government) to check yours. 

The time commitment: It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. 

PS: Wanna raise your credit score? Dispute any mistakes you find, and put your bills on autopay so you don’t miss any payments.

3. Negotiate a lower price on a bill. 

Call your phone company, internet provider, or any other place that sends you a recurring monthly bill and ask for a lower rate

Why you should do it: Extra money in your bank account. No one’s mad at that. Bonus points if you automate those savings to your emergency fund or retirement account

The time commitment: If you have 30 minutes to rewatch an episode of “The Office,” you can do this. Yes, you can. 

4. Roll over your 401(k). 

Doing a 401(k) rollover sounds daunting. But trust us, it’s not. You just have to set up a place to roll the money into. Think: An IRA or your new employer’s 401(k) plan. Then call up your old 401(k) provider and they’ll take care of the rest. 

Why you should do it: That “forgotten” money might not be growing the way it could if it were being managed properly. 

The time commitment: This task shouldn’t take more than half an hour in total.

5. Do a search for lost money. 

You read that right. There might be lost money with your name on it. Lucky for you, it’s easy to find out if any of it is yours. Check here and claim that extra cash. 

Why you should do it: The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators' website says that one in 10 people have unclaimed property. 

The time commitment: If you have 10 minutes, it’s worth a shot. 

6. Pick up a personal finance book. 

If you want to find out once and for all how to create a budget you can stick to or do a deep dive into investing, there’s a book for that. 

Why you should do it: Knowing how to manage your finances, turn money into more money, and pay down debt will always be a powerful thing.

The time commitment: It depends. If you have a few minutes, start with a couple of pages. If you have half an hour, read a chapter. If you have a few hours, binge-read away.

PS: Here’s a list of personal finance books we love to get you started.

theSkimm

It doesn’t take much time or effort to improve your financial well-being. From searching for lost money to setting up an automatic deposit to build your emergency fund to reading a personal finance book, there are a few low-lift things you can do today that will set Future You up for success.


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