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Not all of us are born to be organizational wizards, but if you want to get ahead with your money, you’ve got to get it under your control. It’s the only way you’ll get any of the big stuff done, such as paying off debt, taking a real vacation, buying a house or saving for retirement.
We get it, though. Not all of us keep everything neatly filed, color-coded, alphabetized and prioritized. And you don’t have to be.
Here are seven things you can do — in seven days — to get your finances under control:
Day 1: Create an Emergency Fund
We know, we know. None of us have a lot of extra money right now, so creating an emergency fund is not exactly easy.
Just start small.
Can you put $10 in a savings account today? We recommend using an account that’s not tied to your main checking account so that you’re not tempted to withdraw the money.
There are lots of good accounts these days, but we like Aspiration. They offer an interest rate that is 100x better than anyone else, there’s no fees and they give you up free cash every time you swipe your card.
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
Day 2: Withdraw $5 and Buy a Piece of Amazon, Google or Other Companies
Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company.
But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach. That’s why a lot of people use the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $1.
That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1.**
The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.***
Day 3: Add up to 300 Points to Your Credit Score
When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car.
So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.
Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.* “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
Day 4: The Easiest Day of the Challenge — Give Your Family up to $1M
A million bucks? Easy? Those probably aren’t two thoughts you normally put together. But seriously, today is the easiest day of our challenge.
It sounds too good to be true, but a company called Bestow could help you do this using something called term life insurance. This is something you can check off your list in minutes.
You can get a free quote from Bestow until you’re 54 years old, but the sooner you take care of this, the cheaper it will be. (We hear some people are getting it for as little as $8 a month.)
Today was meant to be simple, so go ahead and take the rest of the day off.
Day 5: Cancel Your Car Insurance
When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago? If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.
Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either.
A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $825 a year.
You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s license, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.
Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.
Day 6: Put an Extra $225 in Your Pocket Every Month
It’s been a historic year in news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching.You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with Swagbucks.
They’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them.You just have to answer honestly, and Swagbucks will continue to pay you every month.
This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $429 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.
Day 7: Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
Your credit card is getting rich by ripping you off with insane rates, but a company called Fiona could help you pay them off tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it..