Getting more from your money doesn’t have to be a long-term project. Making some simple and strategic money moves over the next 30 days can help you reduce spending and increase savings, and take some of the stress out of dealing with finances.
The methods below can put you on track to achieving your financial goals.
Steps to Manage Your Personal Finances
As you put these personal finance moves into practice, remember that you’re aiming for progress, not perfection. You may want to do a bunch of them at once, or choose just a few to focus on.
1. Set Financial Goals
If you haven’t done so already, set some important long-term goals, like saving for retirement or your child’s child’s education. This can help you figure out how much money you need to dedicate to these milestones.
Setting short-term goals can be helpful, too. Maybe you’re saving for a special vacation next year. Or perhaps you’re planning to buy a new car in five years. Mapping out your game plan could help get you there.
2. Create a Budget
Start by adding up your necessary expenses, such as housing costs, utilities, insurance, car payments, and groceries, and subtract that amount from your monthly take-home income. Put what’s left toward paying down debt, and then make deposits into a high-yield bank account where your money can grow.
3. Set Up Direct Deposit
Are you still trekking to the bank to deposit your paycheck? Sign up for direct deposit so your money can go directly to your bank account.
While you’re at it, set up an automatic transfer so that a portion of your paycheck goes into savings every month.
4. Increase Retirement Contributions
If you’re eligible to participate in your company’s 401(k) plan, make sure your contributions are enough to take advantage of your employer’s matching funds, if they offer a matching contribution.
Each matching contribution varies by company. Many companies match 50 cents for every dollar you contribute, up to 6%.
5. Make $10 or $25 in Spending Cuts
Look for small expenses you can cut, and then direct the extra cash to savings or paying down debt, such as credit card debt. For instance, bring lunch to work a couple of days a week instead of eating out.
6. Look for Helpful Apps
A good app can help you monitor your spending and savings, keep you on budget, and set financial goals. Check out SoFi where you can track all of your money in one place.
7. Negotiate Your Bills
Call your Internet and cell phone providers to ask about lowering your monthly bills. There may be discounts or cheaper plans you can take advantage of.
When you call, be firm but courteous. Check out competitors’ rates, and if they’re lower, use those prices as a bargaining chip in your conversation.
8. Review Insurance Policies
Do you have enough car and home insurance to cover your needs? Do you have too much? Review your policies and add or subtract coverage as necessary. And shop around for providers that offer good coverage for less money.
Get up to $250 towards your holiday shopping.
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $250 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!1
9. Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness. Lenders use it to determine whether to let you borrow money and at what interest rate. Check your credit score. If it needs some work, try it by doing such things as reducing debt and paying your bills on time.
10. Review Your Credit Report for Potential Mistakes
You can request a free credit report from the major credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Transunion, and Equifax — at Annual CreditReport.com. Review your report for mistakes that could be negatively affecting your credit score, and contact the credit bureaus about any errors you find.
11. Look for Credit Cards that Offer the Best Rewards
Earn on your spending with credit cards that offer rewards. Look for those that match your interests. For instance, if you love to travel, find a card that offers travel rewards. But watch out for cards with high interest rates. If you’re not someone who pays their card off every month, it may be worth steering clear of these.
12. Use Credit Card Points
Your credit card rewards aren’t doing you any good if you don’t redeem them. So have some fun and plan a trip or a new purchase with the rewards you’ve accumulated.
13. Consider Refinancing Your Loans
If you have outstanding loans, such as a mortgage or student loan debt, explore refinancing at a lower interest rate.
A lower rate could help you save money in the long run. You may even be able to accelerate your repayment, depending on the terms you select when you refinance.
14. Sell Some Stuff to Make Money
If you’ve done some decluttering of the extra items around your house, think about selling the things you no longer need. They’ll go to a new home, and you’ll get some extra cash in your pocket.
15. Consider Cutting Costly Habits
The cost of certain habits can really add up. If you’ve been meaning to quit smoking or stop impulse shopping, for instance, use financial planning as an incentive to do so. You’ll save money and potentially get on the road to a happier, even healthier, you.
16. Talk about Money with Your Partner
Set aside some time to discuss finances with your significant other. Discuss goals for your money, spending habits, repaying debts, and so on. Conversations like this help make sure you’re both on the same page, and can help prevent money conflicts in the future.
17. Figure Out Your Market Value
Has it been a while since you’ve had a pay raise? Do some research to determine what you’re worth and how much you should be making. Then, use that information to ask your boss for a salary increase, or to find a job that pays you more.
18. Negotiate Credit Card APR
If your credit cards carry a high-interest rate, ask the credit card company to lower your APR to help you manage your debt. If you have a low credit score, they may say no. But you won’t know unless you ask.
Even if they turn you down, speaking to the credit card company may be helpful. For instance, they should be able to tell you what you can do to make lowering your interest rate more likely.
19. Use Your FSA Funds
If flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are part of your employee benefits package, be sure to use them for doctors appointments or qualified purchases. Money in these accounts may not carry over year to year, so if you don’t use it, you lose it.
20. Cancel Unused Subscriptions and Memberships
Did you subscribe to a music service or for a gym membership you rarely use? A 2022 survey found that 42% of people pay for a subscription they don’t use and have forgotten about. Score extra savings by canceling unused subscriptions.
21. Talk to a Financial Planner
When it comes to making money moves, you don’t have to go it alone. A financial planner can help you develop your goals and suggest strategies to help you reach them. You can look for a qualified planner with an hourly fee you can afford. It may be worth it if it can help you save more overall.
22. Consider a New Bank Account
As you take steps to improve your financial health, it makes sense to evaluate your bank account. There may be options that offer you more, such as a minimum balance or higher interest. Explore what’s out there to see what’s most beneficial for you.
If you’re ready to switch to a new bank account, a SoFi Checking and Savings account could help you reach your money goals. You’ll earn a competitive APY and pay no account fees.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..