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10 Little Things You Can Do Everyday To Improve Your Finances

We all know about the big things that we need to do to ensure our personal finances. We know how important it is to create a budget, to save money, to pay off our credit card bills on time, and more. You know how to manage your money in order to pay all of your monthly bills, how to contribute regularly to your retirement savings, how to put your money into stable investment funds, and how to prepare for unexpected expenses. You have an emergency fund, you put money into a higher interest bearing savings account, and you have clear long term financial goals with a well constructed plan to help get you there.

In other words, you’re already doing all the big stuff to ensure your mid- and long term financial health. Congratulations. All of these things are super important.

But what about the small stuff? Are there small things you can be doing in your daily, weekly, and monthly routines that could make a big difference in the long run? Well, you’d be surprised at how life can nickel and dime you if you aren’t careful. Are you sure you’re doing everything you can to minimize the unnecessary expenses in your life, to improve your finances in modest and incremental ways, to enhance your day to day financial situation without major lifestyle changes?

As it happens, there are all kinds of adjustments that you can make without dramatically altering the way you live your life or manage your money. And over the long term, these small changes can have a big payout.

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you make these small changes more effectively, we advise you to check out our list of the ten best budgeting and spending tracker apps. See how these cool mobile apps can help you gain control over your finances while offering all kinds of insights on how to improve your short- and long-term outlook.

Otherwise, read on for a few tips on how modest changes in your everyday life can transform your financial health for the better.

10 Small Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Finances

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that we’re living in a time of inflationary trends, high interest rates, and expensive consumer goods. It’s pretty likely that you can already feel the impact of these trends in your wallet. Everything is more expensive these days…some things like houses, cars, groceries and gas are dramatically more expensive.

So for most American households, it’s fair to say that every dollar counts. Below are a few easily adapted strategies for making sure you’re effectively counting every dollar.

1. Get A Credit Monitoring Service

We admit that this is one of the top pieces of advice that we offer in almost any context when it comes to gaining control over your finances. There’s a good reason for that. Gaining control means getting a full look at your financial landscape including any outstanding debts, delinquent accounts, negatives marks in your payment history, and that all important credit score.

Indeed, you must have a full understanding of your financial health before you can take steps to improve it. Fortunately, there are countless online services that offer free credit scores, free credit reports, and free access to the channels for disputing unfamiliar charges or undeserved negative marks. Don’t overlook the importance of this last item.

Credit monitoring is important for tracking your own activities but perhaps even more important for tracking activities that aren’t your doing. As an article from Investopedia explains, “Credit monitoring services keep track of your credit profile and flag suspicious activity that could indicate fraud or identity theft. While there are now several free or complimentary services offered to bank or card customers, paid monitoring services can provide a more in-depth picture and track a wider range of potential threats. With identity theft and card fraud costing Americans billions of dollars each year, it is a good idea to have this type of monitoring in place.”

Sign up for a credit monitoring service if you don’t already have one and make sure everything you see there looks correct. Once you’ve done that, you can also use this access to monitor the progress of your financial health on a regular basis.

2. Schedule a Monthly Check In With Yourself

Speaking of monitoring your health on a regular basis, some financial advisors recommend putting aside a designated amount of time every few days to make sure all of your financial affairs are in order. Indeed, one of the best ways to improve your financial outlook is to keep a watchful eye on your trajectory at all times.

That’s why, suggests an article from CNBC, you may want to “Commit to sitting down with your money once a week for a money date. During this time, update your budget, review your accounts and track your progress against your financial goals. Like any relationship, if you want your financial life to improve, you must spend time with your money.”

This review should include tracking the progress of your savings or investment account contributions, your retirement savings contributions, the growth of your emergency fund, and acknowledgement of any unusual spending items.

The more closely you monitor your money on a day to day basis, the more readily you’ll understand exactly what’s coming in, what’s going out, and where it’s going. This, in turn, can help you make key decisions and implement constructive changes to your spending habits where appropriate.

3. Get a Spending Tracker

While it’s important to spend time with your money, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. There are all kinds of apps that can help you with money management by tracking your spending both historically and in real time on your mobile device. You don’t necessarily have to use an app, but you should be tracking the way you spend money, one way or the other.

An article from Go Banking Rates suggests that you “Figure out a system to keep track of your financial transactions. Whether you prefer using pen and paper to reconcile your bank accounts the old-fashioned way or the personal finance apps like Mint, you need to have a clear picture of what is happening with your money. Tracking your spending can help you quickly identify problem areas that you can improve on and see the progress you’re making.”

As we’ll discuss here below, most of these apps come with a bunch of other awesome and helpful features that can help you identify areas where you could easily cut spending without sacrificing much at all.

4. Get Help Cutting Out Unused Paid Subscriptions

This is one of those additional features that comes with a lot of spending apps, and one that can bring immediate and pain-free savings. To wit, you might be amazed to find out how many apps, services, and media packages you’re paying for without actually using them. 

Remember that app that you signed up for just so you could watch that one movie with the free trial a few months back? No? Well, we don’t blame you. We’ve done it too, and we’ve totally forgotten about it, only to find that we’ve been shelling out $10 a month for a premium streaming service we haven’t used since!

Not that I’m mad. I’m just saying, it happens all the time and there’s a good chance it’s happening to you. Fortunately, there are all kinds of apps and services you can sign up for that can help you identify and eliminate those unused subscriptions. You could save a few hundred dollars a year just by turning off these charges. Rocket Money, for instance, offers a great budgeting and spending app that does exactly that.

Not only can apps like this pinpoint all of the monthly services that you’ve been signed up for through free trials, but they can, with your authorization, cancel many of these services on your behalf.

Pro tip: Once these services are canceled, it can’t hurt to reach out to the service provider and request a refund for the unused and recently canceled service. Many vendors will be willing to give you at least a partial refund as a parting gift. Remember, every dollar counts!

5. Get Help Negotiating Lower Monthly Bills

You’re getting overcharged by your cable company every month. How do we know? Because everybody gets overcharged by their cable company. Fortunately, there are services that can help you with that. The same apps that help you identify and cut unused subscriptions are also really good at reaching out to service providers on your behalf to help negotiate lower rates.

In fact, Rocket Money can do both, and it’s absolutely worth a shot. Perhaps you’ve spent a few maddening hours, cumulatively speaking, attempting to negotiate lower prices with some of your providers to no avail.

Companies like Rocket Money work on behalf of large swathes of clients and therefore build established business relationships with many of these providers. Not only that, but these advocates are trained to be in the know when it comes to valuable promotional offers, areas where costs can be readily cut, and the negotiation tactics that might actually get your cable provider to budge off of that absurdly high price.

It does bear noting that many of these bill negotiation companies charge for their services. As an article from CNBC explains, “These services usually charge a flat rate, or a percentage of your total savings for the year. Sometimes, there’s an additional monthly or yearly membership fee. No matter the price, bill negotiation services typically let customers link their credit or debit card accounts and/or upload bills. Then, a trained professional skilled in negotiating steps in to spot savings opportunities.”

So while bill negotiation may not necessarily be free, the cost will invariably be less than the amount you’ll be saving on your bills. In other words, unless you plan on spending the time and energy to negotiate on your own behalf–and who wants to do that?!–a bill negotiation service is probably well worth the money.

6. Keep a Close Eye On All of Your Accounts

So you already have a credit monitoring service and you’re doing weekly check-ins with your money. But you should also make it a habit to check your actual accounts on a regular basis–daily if possible.

Make it a point to review all recent charges and transactions in your checking account, savings account, retirement savings accounts, and anywhere else you have financial resources and assets. It’s up to you to make sure that everything within your accounts is in proper order and good standing.

Be sure you aren’t being charged any fines or fees that aren’t warranted, that you don’t see any unfamiliar charges or transactions, that you haven’t been double-charged on a recent purchase, and that you don’t notice any spikes in your own spending habits. The article from Go Banking Rates suggests that “As part of keeping track of your money, you should check on all financial accounts on a regular basis. You should review spending accounts, like credit cards and checking accounts, daily in terms of checking balances and tracking expenses. Review bills when making monthly payments and updating your budget to make sure you avoid overdrafts or late fees.”

It’s easy for these things to get lost in the shuffle if you miss them. Not only that, but the more time that elapses between an incorrect charge and your efforts to correct the matter, the less likely you are to see a full refund. Make sure you keep a full inventory of your accounts, that you have ready access to each one, that you use this access on a near daily basis, and that you know how to contact the right support service in the event of an issue.

7. Look For Better Credit Card Deals

Speaking of keeping an eye on your accounts, how are your credit card statements looking these days? Are you sure you’re getting the absolute best deal? It never hurts to shop around for something better, especially if you happen to have excellent credit.

We’re not going to lie to you–interest rates are crazy high right now. So if your existing credit card accounts are already a few years old, chances are you won’t be able to score an account with lower long term interest rates. But you may be able to land a temporary promotion for 0% interest rates, which could be an excellent way to transfer a few of your balances and pay down a bit of your existing credit card debt without the hefty interest charges.

According to an article from The Muse, “there are tons of cards on the market, many with 0% or super-low interest offers on balance transfers. Check for a list of cards that match the criteria you want, find your new card, and transfer your balance. Boom. You’re saving a ton of money in interest.”

Not only that, but if you’re already carrying modest to higher interest rates, it may be easy to switch to a credit card offer with similar interest rates but lower fees and better rewards programs. After all, if you’re using your credit cards correctly and responsibly, you should be avoiding interest fees altogether by paying down your spending in full every month. If you carry a zero balance, the fee structure and reward opportunities will actually be more important than the interest rate.

But again, this is a big if. As an article from U.S. News and World Report explains “Sign-up bonuses, rewards and cash back can be enticing. Sometimes they’re worth it – but not always. Research the best credit cards but review the fine print closely for possible fees. The average annual percentage rate for rewards credit cards is between 16.89% and 24.25%, according to U.S. News data – a rate slightly higher than the averages for credit cards generally.”

The point is, it’s really up to you both to choose credit card offers wisely and to manage your usage responsibly in order to get the greatest financial benefits. 

8. Do Some Weekly Meal Planning

I’ve heard it said that 90% of marriage is discussing what you should have for dinner on any given night. That makes a lot of sense, especially considering how much the average household spends on delivery, take out and restaurant dining. And that’s ok to some extent. As human beings, we’ll sometimes go out for a work lunch or a dinner date just for the sheer pleasure and social engagement of the experience.

Other times, we do it because we’re super busy and the idea of coming up with something for dinner at the end of a long day is just exhausting. We’re sympathetic to this disposition. But if it happens too much, it may be costing you a small fortune every year. According to the article from CNBC, meal planning can help offset the impulse to purchase meals out of the house.

The article suggests that “Taking a few hours every weekend to grocery shop and meal plan for the week will definitely save you money, as dining out is the No. 1 expense for most households. By eating at home, you save money that would otherwise be spent on tax and tip—and you usually save calories, too.”

Take the nightly pressure out of coming up with lunches for the kids and dinner for the family by working together to build out a plan each Sunday night. You may even find that there are certain foods you can prep in advance. There’s nothing like coming home after a busy workday to find a fresh meal already halfway prepared in the fridge or freezer. The more meal planning and prep you do at the start of each week, the less stressful it will be to create healthy, fresh and affordable meals every day.

This, in turn, will significantly reduce your impulse to hit the drive thru window, order a pizza for delivery, or dine out on a random weeknight. If you’ve taken our advice about using a spending tracker app, you’ll probably start to notice pretty quickly that you’re saving money on food each and every month.

9. Automate Your Monthly Transactions

Speaking of saving money every month, you might be able to keep a few more dollars in your pocket by automating some of your more predictable monthly budget items. Fortunately, most of your debtors and service providers make this pretty easy to do by providing an online option for automating payments.

But why bother?

Sure, you’re good at paying your bills on time, but nobody’s perfect. Late fees happen, and they can build up over time. That alone is a good reason to automate your bill paying transactions. As the article from Go Banking Rates notes, “For payments, set up automatic transfers through your bank’s online bill pay service to send money out to pay bills at least three days ahead of the due dates. Automation is also great for the ‘paying yourself first’ habit. If you have a retirement account through work, set up automatic contributions. If you get regular paychecks in fixed amounts, set up automatic transfers to move money from your checking account to a savings account or retirement fund right after payday.”

It’s also worth noting that some of your creditors and vendors will actually offer modest financial incentives for both moving to paperless billing and for automating your monthly payments. You may be able to bypass certain monthly transaction fees or even receive a modestly discounted rate on your bill for automating repayment.

Of course, you always want to be sure that you can meet your automated payment responsibilities. If you experience a shortfall of funds on any given month, your automated payments could result in overdrafts and the fees that come with them. Obviously, this would put a pretty big dent in how much money you’re saving through automated payments.

So be sure that you know how to turn off automated payments if you anticipate coming up shy of the necessary funds. Most service providers will offer you this option through your online dashboard. This is another benefit of keeping a close eye on your finances at all times. If you need to switch off automated payments, it may also be a good idea to reach out to your service providers and let them know that funds are tight. It may be possible to receive extensions on your payment due dates so that you can avoid late fees.

Once you return to better financial standing, you may wish to once again set up automated payments, which can usually also be done online.

10. Improve Your Financial Literacy

We saved what may perhaps be the most important tip for last. Your financial literacy is a key to your financial health, both on an everyday basis and well into your future. The better you understand finances, the better able you will be to reign in bad habits, make smart decisions, and work toward a personal finance plan.

As the article from Go Banking Rates notes, “If you’re serious about building financial health and wealth, then you need to educate yourself. After all, you can’t make the best financial choices if you have no idea what your options are and how each decision will impact your life and money down the road. Start small by reading some personal finance books and spending a few minutes each day reading personal finance articles.”

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still seek the advice of professionals like a certified financial planning specialist or a financial advisor. But the better you understand finances, the better you can evaluate your own habits, improve your financial health, and secure your financial future.


Indeed, we agree that financial literacy is an absolutely critical part of improving your everyday financial health. With that in mind, we invite you to jump to our look at ten valuable tips for achieving financial literacy.