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Updated on Friday, March 18, 2016
Mornings can be a magical time, if you let them. Of course hitting the snooze button repeatedly and rushing around like crazy to find your other sock before running out the door is probably not going to be a situation that lends itself to productivity. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who makes it a point to get a good night’s sleep, gets up at the same time every morning and accounts for a little bit of leisurely time before heading out the door, there are a couple of things that you could do in just a few extra minutes this morning that will help set your finances up for the rest of the day, week, month or even longer.
Consider adding some of these to your morning routine today.
1. Check your bank account for any fraudulent activity
Identity theft is no joke, and while we all hope that our banks and other financial institutions have our backs and are on the lookout for this type of activity, it’s also up to us to stay vigilant with our own accounts. Taking just a minute each morning to log on to your checking, savings and credit card accounts to make sure everything looks just as you left it will help alert you immediately to any suspicious activity so you can help put a stop to it. If you’ve linked all your accounts to a site that aggregates all your financial information for you (like Learnvest or Mint, for example), you’ll just have one place to log in each morning for an overall picture of all of your financial activity. (For more fraud protection tips to help avoid identity theft, read this piece.)
2. Map out your planned spending for the day
When you don’t have a plan, you’re likely to spend more — it’s that simple. Take just a minute or two this morning to sit down and consider what your day looks like and how your finances will factor in. Can you bring a lunch, or is there a lunch you need to attend with co-workers? Are you going out for drinks or dinner after work, or will you be eating at home? If you can map out where you’ll be spending throughout the day and about how much, you can more accurately figure out how to budget for the rest of the week.
3. Dress for the job you want
If you’re an assistant right now and you’d like to have your boss’s job some day, consider some of the small things you can do to help get yourself there, and do them. Even if your office tends to have a dress code that’s more casual leaning, if you care about how you present yourself to your colleagues at work, your boss will most likely take notice and appreciate the effort.
4. Set up a two-step authorization system for your important financial accounts
You change your password frequently and it’s always something that no one in a million years could ever guess (or so you think). That must be enough, right? Maybe, maybe not. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your money, and taking two minutes this morning to set up a two-factor authorization for your important financial accounts can help you rest assured that you’re doing even more to protect yourself from costly fraudulent activity. If your financial institutions offer you a chance to add a second layer of protection to your login status (a verification code, fingerprint scan, security questions or other questions pertaining to your life that most likely only you would know), be sure you have this option turned on and set up. If you’re not sure, give them a call and ask.
5. Eat breakfast
Not only does eating breakfast at home mean you won’t be spending money on breakfast out, but studies have shown that eating breakfast leads to improved concentration and performance, which can only mean good things for your career prospects.
6. Google yourself
These days there’s a whole wide world on the Internet that we have to contend with, and taking a minute every morning to run a quick Google search of your name is a good way to stay on top of any information that might be floating out there about you, good or bad, old or new. If you find something that’s inaccurate you can always reach out and determine how to get it removed (which is far better than having someone else point it out to you).
7. Check your calendar
Do you have any birthday parties coming up? Is it your parents’ anniversary? Are you taking your dog to the vet for a checkup on Friday? Keeping an eye out on your upcoming activities for the day, week and even month will help you budget appropriately before these events happen, so you aren’t slammed with unforeseen costs the day of.