If you think you need to lock yourself in an entertainment-less room for the better part of a full day just to fix up your finances, you’re sadly mistaken.
The truth is, there are plenty of things you can do for your finances that will only take you five minutes or less to accomplish. Everyone has five minutes in his or her schedule, right? So why not use that time to do a little something promising for your financial future, rather than looking up your ex-best friend’s Facebook profile for the third time today? You’ll probably feel a whole lot better about it afterwards.
1. Check your credit report
Checking your credit report is good for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s always good to be aware of your overall credit history and to keep track of any late or missing payments to credit cards that may be negatively effecting your credit score. What’s more, checking your credit report is a great way to stay on top of any fraudulent charges you may not already be aware of so you can start getting them settled and removed from your credit history. Remember, checking your credit report does not hurt your credit score, and here’s where you can get a free credit report from all three of the bureaus. Also check out this piece if you find that you need to dispute something that you find on your credit report.
2. Set up automatic transfers to your retirement accounts and/or savings
If you haven’t already done so, setting up automatic transfers to both your retirement accounts and savings accounts will save you a heck of a lot of hassle each month, and it will make you more likely to actually continue to save. The truth is, when you need to go in and manually do these things each month, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of saving and into all of the things that that money could be put to “better” use for.
3. Find out if you qualify for a Roth
If you’ve already maxed out your 401(k) contributions with your work retirement account, and you find that you could still afford to be saving a little bit extra each month, take a couple minutes to find out whether you qualify to be able to save some additional retirement money each month into a Roth IRA. Roth contribution limits and rules for 2016 can be found here.
4. Reevaluate your current budget
Have you been living with the same budget for a while now, as well as had some changes to your financial situation during that time (like a raise or new job, for example, or an increase in rent or utility bills)? If so, then it may be time to reevaluate just how well that budget is working for you. You can start by linking all of your accounts in one place on a site like Mint or Learnvest to see what your spending habits are, and use that information to help determine what a new budget for your new financial situation should look like. If you can carve out some extra room for additional emergency savings or retirement funds, then you’ll get some added bonus points (and your future self will thank you).
5. Learn if your credit card is working for you
Are you earning a decent amount of rewards with your credit card? How about cash back? And what’s your interest rate like? If you’ve have the same card for years now and not much has changed with it, it might be time to check in with some of your other options to see if there’s better out there. Interested in something that offers 0% APR for 24 months, or 6% cash back, perhaps? Check out this piece for some of the best credit card offers you’ll find in 2016.