We LOVE lists, don’t we? And, while we’ve been told that odd-numbered lists do much better than even-numbered ones, we thought we’d stick with ten. Because, you know, we like that number.
This 10 Little Personal Finance Tips post may not have all the answers, and may not get you all the way to $10,000 a year. But the point is to learn from others and figure out what might work for you. Apply these as you see fit. Let’s begin!
10 Little Personal Finance Tips from 10KaYear.com.
1. Don’t leave 401(k) money on the table.
This is the one to lead off with because it’s so crazy simple. If you are benefits-eligible where you work, and they offer a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. The tax-deferred savings alone are great, and building a retirement nest egg is something everybody should be doing.
But we’ll take this one a step farther: if your company matches your 401(k) contribution, make sure to have enough withdrawn to meet the company match. That’s a no-brainer: it’s free money.
2. Self-employed? Got a small business? Don’t forget quarterly taxes.
The penalties for not paying these are potentially quite onerous. Don’t forget about them.
And NO, this blog is NOT a substitute for hiring a professional tax advisor. However, you may not need one: visit the IRS Link and learn about the deadlines and payments.
3. Who needs stamps?
You may not. You’re probably used to online banking and have likely paid a good chunk of your bills either through the auto-debit or your bank’s online bill pay system.
But what about when you need to send that $25 check to your Aunt Sally? You can generate that online, too. And, in most cases, have it delivered by the bank – saving YOU postage.
4. Get your score.
We told you about Darnell before – a lot of credit card companies are offering you access to your own credit score.
But Credit Karma is another tool you should consider – and it’s free.
5. Buy stocks really cheaply.
Sharebuilder is good for that – we’ve had an account for years. Not an affiliate relationship – you can visit them here: Sharebuilder.
6. Bank ENTIRELY online?
Once you link accounts to each other, you can save on transfer fees. For instance, one of my physical banks wants to charge me $3 to transfer from it to another bank when I use its online system. However, Capital One doesn’t charge me a fee to make a transfer, so I make sure to login there instead.
7. Round Up Purchases, Round Down Deposits.
If you’re like me and you don’t balance your checkbook very often, try this trick. Every time you make a purchase, when you enter it into your check register, round up. $26.11 at the restaurant becomes $27.
Every time you make a deposit, round down. $1528.91 becomes $1528.
The math will be easier to do, and you’ll benefit from a little added money…when (or IF) you decide to balance your checkbook.
8. Add up your miles.
We’re not talking airline miles – chasing those can be fruitless sometimes, especially if you actually try to use them. We’re talking mileage driven for any of these three things:
- Business miles you’re not reimbursed for – 56 cents. (DON’T count commuting miles. DON’T.)
- Medical miles driven – doctor’s appointments and the like – 23.5 cents.
- Charitable miles driven – let’s say you take a church group on a mission trip – 14 cents.
While there are certain thresholds to meet – AGAIN, CONSULT A TAX EXPERT – these things can add up at the end of the year.
9. Don’t do the balance transfer game, but…
Instead of fighting to get a lower interest rate through balance transfers – if you’ve got the credit capabilities to get a card in the first place – look instead at the annual fees. If you’re spending $59 a year on a card with 10% interest, but there’s another with 15% interest and no annual fee…do the math and figure out how often you are actually paying interest. It could pay off to get the card with no annual fee.
10. Toss all the spare change in a jar.
Every time you pay cash, take the spare change and put it away. Sure, sounds obvious, but you won’t miss it and can maybe have a nice little treat once a year.