Are you looking for the ultimate list of personal finance tips for 2020?
No matter what your goal is, below you will find 120 personal finance tips broken down into 20 categories for all of your personal finance needs.
See how this list can help you:
- Pay off your debt,
- Save some money,
- Make money,
- Hack your finances, or
- Do some crazy stuff like pay off your mortgage early!
Caution: This post is full of tons of great material, but it is long, be sure to bookmark! As you read think of 1 or 2 overarching financial goals/questions you might have. Use the table of contents below to navigate the article and pin/bookmark for future use!
120 Personal Finance Tips for 2020
The first thing is first when it comes to money and your personal finances – 80% of self-made millionaires have a budget. So the #1 personal finance tip in the world is to start with a budget.
1. Have a Budget
Enough cannot be said about having a general working budget. Predicting life’s expenses is half the battle to staying ahead with regards to your finances. Make sure you factor every expense that can occur within a year and be sure to always be conservative with estimates.
2. Use Budget Apps & Calculators.
Don’t like spreadsheets? Budgeting apps like Mint, Personal Capital, and budgeting calculators can help you accurately predict, track and forecast spending. Roughly 6 in 10 households do not operate on a budget. Use budget tracking to manage and stay on top of finances.
3. Have Budget Meetings.
If you are in a relationship, consider having monthly meetings to discuss budgets and finances. Where did things go well, what can you adjust, and what are your goals for the next few months? No significant other, see about finding a trusted mentor or family member to discuss with. This will not only hold you accountable but create awareness about where your money goes each month.
4. Adjust Your Budget as Needed.
Make adjustments to your budget. As you track your spending habits and as bills decrease/increase you will want to adjust your budget. Overtime figure out how you can increase savings and decrease high spending areas.
5. Backward Budgeting.
Want a new car? Need to create an emergency fund, vacation fund, or budgeting for a kid's college? Use backward budgeting. Just like it sounds, start with the end goal and work backward. For example, if your goal is to save $3,000 in the next 6 months, that would mean each month you must contribute $500 per month.
If you are paid bi-weekly, that would mean you contribute $250 per check.
When it comes to personal finance tips pertaining to cars, remember the purpose of a car – to get from point A to point B. Transportation costs are just behind housing costs as the biggest expenses for most Americans. Check out these car tips:
6. Car Maintenance.
Prior to ever buying a car factor maintenance costs.
Tires, brakes, oil changes, premium or regular fuel, and so on can all add up. Buying luxurious cars will cost more maintenance annually. According to Your Mechanic, over a 10-year span a BMW will cost the average person $17,800 in maintenance, whereas a Honda owner should expect to spend just $7,2000.
7. Lease vs Own.
Is it better to own or should you
rent lease a car? A car on a lease can be a great asset if your a business owner with a fleet of vehicles, however, leasing is not ideal for the everyday person. Essentially the word lease is code for “rent.” At the end of the term if you decide to give it back you have no equity in your car some lease terms can be quite binding.
In most cases, owning a car is the way to go. While car is considered a depreciating asset, owning is the best of option. Consider buying 2-3 years used and certified pre-owned. See #10 below.
8. Gas Hacks.
This goes without saying, but have a gas credit card that gives you cash back at the pump. Use it only for gas and on average you should accrue enough cashback to get a free tank every 2-3 months. Check out apps like “Get Upside” or Shopkick that allow you to double down and create more cashback when purchasing at the pump.
9. 50% Net Income Car Purchasing Rule.
As a general rule of thumb, never purchase a car that’s price tag is above 50% of your annual net income. This will help you decide what you can and cannot afford, no matter what the salesman tells you. For example, if your annual take-home pay is $40,000 a year, you should never purchase a car with a price tag over $20,000.
10. Never by brand new.
General finance talk says buy 2 years certified pre-owned cars. Paying for a brand new car will cost 40% more than buying two years used. In fact, a brand new car will drop on average 11% just driving it off the lot.
Related Content: Here is 4 reasons to never buy a brand new car.
11. Pay Extra on Your Car.
Common wisdom says, “Well the interest on my car loan is only 2-6%, so it isn’t that bad.” Yes, true, but at the same time transportation accounts for more then ⅓ of most adult’s budget. Eliminating a car payment by paying extra, thus attacking the principal can free up cash to use in other places – savings, investing, student loans. Etc.
Personal finance tip when it comes to credit cards: Have discipline and awareness of spending. Plastic typically leads to 12-18% more spending.
See also, My 1st Credit Card Mistakes
12. Asset Only Credit Card Use.
This is a concept, not a credit card. Essentially, only uses credit cards for regular spending – not frivolous or careless spending. Use credit cards for necessary things like gas and groceries and then reap the rewards. Make sure you practice financial discipline and pay them off each month. Consider having a grocery card, a gas card, a travel card, as long as you have the financial discipline to pay them off monthly.
Note: If you have consumer debt skip these and go right to #16 “Cut Your Credit Cards Up.”
13. Miles Rewards Cards.
Use credit cards that give you miles in return for spending. Then flip the miles for family vacations and travel. Similar to asset only credit card use, here are some great miles rewards cards.
14. Credit Card Reward Points.
Personally, we use a points card on our groceries. We use the points to then buy gift cards to go out to eat. It helps us stay on budget by tracking our grocery expenses with a credit card instead of pulling from checking and we are able to eat out for free every two months.
15. Cashback Credit Cards.
When it comes to cash back cards read the fine print. Where will you get the most cash back? Usually it is at the pump, at the store, or entertainment. Bank of America offered a phenomenal cash back rate for gas purchases and after spending a certain amount you got $150 in addition to 3% on all purchases. Every three months we get a tank of gas for free.
16. Cut up Your Credit Cards.
Ok so if you can’t exhibit the discipline YET, cut them up.
Pay them off and cancel your credit cards. Don’t use credit cards if you can’t pay off the balance monthly. Something about handing over cash instead of plastic just makes spending harder. Fighting the finance world is hard enough, throw in consumer debt to the equation and it is much harder. If you have consumer debt pay it off as fast as possible.
A big part of your finances is most likely going to some form of debt. Here are 6 personal finance tips for you when it comes to debt.
17. Student Loans.
Pay them off. One thing to keep in mind, while the interest rate is important, it is more so about the balance. If your monthly payment is barely covering interest charges, you need to attack the principal. For more student loan resources check out this guide. Additionally, is an option to check out.
My biggest recommendation when it comes to student loans – read up, pay more and get rid of them.
18. Consumer Debt.
Consumer debt, also known as credit card debt, furniture debt, oops I overspent on my engagement ring debt, is not good debt no matter how you slice it. Since this is a personal finance tips article, the best tip: pay them off. Use cash. Now, if you are in a predicament, one solution is to explore balance transfer credit cards (be careful of hidden fees) so long as you just pay them off before the free interest date expires. Some have used personal loans to swap debt in order to pay it off. For consumer debt strategies, read up on the simplest approach which is the “debt snowball.”
19. Auto Loan Debt.
Ranking debt, from worst to least worst, Consumer is worst, followed by student loans, then automobile debt. However, like the last point in “Cars Section” pay it off so you can free up the cash flow. Explore refinancing car loans if your loan is not under 5%.
20. Personal Loan Debt.
Not all debt is created equally. Auto loans and student loan debt typically will be the interest rate on most credit cards and personal loans.
If you have a high-interest rate personal loan, look into strategies to pay it off such as doubling payments. Refinancing is an option, just avoid loan consolidation.
Baruch Silvermann, Co-Founder of The Smart Investor puts it this way,
Consider your financial limitations if you want to borrow money. Apply for a personal loan based on how much you can afford to repay on a monthly basis.”
21. Have a Plan.
You might have waltzed into debt, but you are not going to waltz out of it. Take a look at the average household debt figures in the graphic below and you will quickly see, debt is a serious issue in most households.
In order to effectively get out of debt, have a plan and stick to it. Be willing to have a “no compromise” mentality and you will quickly pay off your debt.
22. No Compromise Mentality
Like #21 mentioned, when it comes to paying off debt, have a no-compromise mentality. Similar to the pay yourself first savings strategy, if you have a goal to pay off a certain amount of student loan, auto or consumer debt stick to it.
When you are paying off debt you can quickly create momentum and pay off loans quicker than you thought. So once you have have a game plan, stick to it relentlessly!
Entertainment & Food
Most of your variable spending will go to two categories throughout your life: food and entertainment. Here is a list of personal finance tips to help you with those variable expenses.
23. Reduce Entertainment Budget
The first thing is first, while entertainment budgets makeup on average less than 5% of our budgets, 5% is still quite a bit of money each year. By reducing entertainment expenses and limiting paid entertainment, an adult couple can save upwards of $500 a month.
The correlation between higher-income earners and higher consumer debt has a lot to do with entertainment and keeping up. Set a limit or budgeted amount for entertainment each month. Take out the cash that is all you have for the month. Like #22, have a no-compromise mentality.
24. Flask aka Bring Your Own Alcohol
Need to go out on the town? Bring a flask. $6 beverages add up really quickly. And the more inebriated some get the more they spend. Check out pocket flasks on Amazon and start being thrifty with your booze!
If you have to go out, make sure you limit your drink purchases to 1 or 2. Don’t be the hero and buy everyone a round and always use Uber or Lyft when going home after drinking.
25. Eating Out Hacks
Aside from using credit card points like #14, always be thrifty when eating out. Whether that means going to kids eat free night, avoiding the costly drinks, always signing up for the free app that gives you something for free, make sure you never pay full price.
Most restaurants want to promote their apps, which usually means free appetizers or a discount. Always take advantage of this. Also, research Groupons and other deals in your area before going out. Avoid impulsivity, aka always plan your expeditions when you go out to eat!
26. Grocery Hacks
The average adult in the United States will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $550 monthly, and over $2,500 annually, according to a Value Penguin study on food. Accounting for 10% of their yearly expenses, food is right behind housing, transportation, taxes, and annually utility costs as far as American budgets go.
In order to help curb the costs, here a few tips:
- Buy toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. in bulk
- Don’t buy things that spoil easily in bulk
- Go off brand – Lucky O’s vs Lucky Charms
- Use multiple stores – Wholesale Clubs, Dollar Stores, Grocery Stores
- Avoid shopping when you are starving
- Shop on Wednesday’s when most new sales start
- Perimeter shop & stay out of isles
Related Content: 7 Grocery & Meal Prep Hacks
27. Find Free Activities
Go to the park, join a group, or see what a local church might be doing. There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending money – especially in the summer months when the weather breaks.
Check your local area and see if a neighboring city has free concerts, free movie nights and other events of that nature. Simply hop on google and type in “Things to do in,” then just plug in the nearest city.
Having a movie marathon, going to a public library with your kids or finding something spontaneous can be free and fun!
28. Meatless Monday
Eliminating meat from your diet one day a week might not seem like much. But by eliminating meat 52 days of the year you can start to make a dent in your grocery budget.
Not only does eating less meat help with long term sustainability and your overall health, but it will also make your wallet fatter by avoiding meat 1 day per week. Meatless Mondays will also increase the likelihood of you finding new ways to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet!
29. Have a Cash Budget for Eating Out
Eating out is a variable expense that can quickly escalate. Two Chipotle burritos, a stop at Chik Fil A, and a few trips to Starbucks can quickly turn into $100+ spent.
Instead, at the beginning of the month, determine your “eating out budget” and withdraw the cash. Put it in your wallet, purse or safe place and use it next time you buy any food other than at the grocery store.
Once you are out, you are done eating out. If you have extra, roll it into your next month’s cash-based eating out the budget!
We all have a few vices. Some may burn a hole in our pockets. Here are a few “Financial Don'ts” when it comes to your money.
30. Don’t Gamble.
Sure FanDuel and online poker are fun. But for every winner, there are 1000’s of losers. Maybe millions.
Think about it from a logical sense, casinos wouldn’t be in business if they weren’t making money. The people who win big are typically experts in their gambling arena, so chances are if you’re not an expert blackjack player… just stay away from gambling.
Fantasy sports, while fun, can be thrown in as well. A $100 buy-in over ten years is $1,000 dollars. Statistically speaking you have a 1 in 10 chance of winning, so in order to “make money,” you would need to win your league 2x.
31. Don’t Drive Intoxicated.
Enough can not be said about the implications of the dangers of driving intoxicated. You can hurt people. But anti-impaired driving commercials always talk about the financial implications of a DUI’s… and they’re not joining.
The estimated DUI costs someone $10,000. You can’t afford to drive impaired, nor should you do it ever due to safety.
32. Don’t use credit without self-discipline.
The average adult is likely to spend 12-18% more when they use plastic instead of cash!
If you don’t have the ability to pay off your credit card statement (even if you're working on your credit score) monthly and exercise self-discipline it is best to stay away from credit cards like Ramsey says. If you decide to incorporate a credit card into your life, start small like a gas-only credit card that you pay off weekly!
33. Don’t Compare
The biggest of the don’ts… don’t compare yourself financially to others.
For starters, most people are not thinking about you as much as you think they are thinking about you.
^ Weird sentence, but read it again and it will make sense. We tend to think people are concerned about how we live, what we do with our money, etc. The classic keeping up with the Joneses family syndrome. Just make sure you don’t compare yourself financially so YOU can be happy.
The best personal finance tip like #1 said is to start with a budget. However, after that, there are some ways to leverage money and implement financial strategies, here is how.
34. 30 Day Challenges
12 months, 30 days per month, 12 money or financial challenges in one year. You ready?
Each month come up with a different 30-day challenge that helps you save money, pay off debt or invest. Other options include cutting out spending categories altogether, like a no eating out all month or something along those lines.
30 Day Challenge Ideas: No spend month, save $5 a day, payoff $5 a day, save $10 a day, no eating out, no vices for a month, no entertainment spending, no travel spending, and anything else you can think of!
35. Pay Yourself First
The quickest and easiest personal finance strategy is the pay yourself first strategy. Use the infographic below to help, but simply take your monthly cash flow (#83) and subtract your fixed and variable expenses.
Using the leftover positive cash flow, determine an amount you can then apply towards your personal finance goals. Whether saving, investing or paying off some credit card debt, every payday use that money to “pay yourself” first before anything else. Then bills and lastly spending.
Often referred to as the Pareto Principle, (80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) to 80/20 your finances simply means to take 20% of your income and save it – no compromises.
So if you make $4,000 a month hypothetically, $800 of that would do towards savings. The strategy teaches you to live off 80% of your income, by pretending 20% doesn’t even exist.
A similar concept is the 50/30/20 plan, which breaks down the 80/20 plan even further. Developed by Harvard economist Elizabeth Warren, after figuring out your take-home income, use the following break down:
- 50% towards necessities like housing, transportation, food and utilities
- 30% towards discretionary or variable items like clothes, eating out, entertainment.
- 20% towards savings or paying off debt.
You can flip flop 2 and 3 if you master saving 20% per month!
38. 10% Rule
What is the 10% rule you might be wondering? More of a life principle, the 10% rule can also be used to help with you personal finances as well.
Most people run into trouble when they try to go “All in” on something they have not been working towards. It is why you see people go to the gym every day in January then all of a sudden fall off.
By following the 10% rule, you are avoiding the chance of falling off so quickly. Simply pick any goal, let’s say to save more money. Look at what you got and set a goal to increase it by 10%. If you have $1,000 in savings, set a goal to save $100 in the next month.
Just improving by 10% each year you will ultimately reach the 100% threshold in 10 years, but it wont take an all in mentality.
Read more: Money and the 10% Rule
Here 3 financial tools that might help you out!
A commonly asked personal finance question is whether or not refinancing a good idea for you?
The answer: It depends on your situation!
Prior to ever refinancing your car, home, or student loans make sure to analyze the pros and cons. For example, extending the life of a loan can cost money depending on how far into a loan you currently are.
The most commonly refinanced loan is student loans. lenders. Lendkey is a great option to refinance student loans and personal loans as well.
Read more: Is refinancing a good idea for you?
40. Leverage Equity
Chances are you are wondering what leveraging equity even means.
Believe it or not most people’s number one asset is the equity in their home. However, what they don’t know is that their equity is considered a “dormant asset.” Essentially, while your equity is growing, it is not necessarily earning anything for you until it is time to sell.
Unconventional, some use their equity to invest. While that is risky, a very simple form of leveraging equity would be to take a HELOC to pay off student loans, cars, or credit cards (so long as you don’t run them back up).
Learn more about using a HELOC and how it has helped us pay off six figures in student loans here.
You can consolidate debt in order to get a more affordable payment and a better interest rate.
Consolidating credit card debt is the most form of consolidation, followed by consolidating student loans to refinance. In most cases, in the long run consolidating saves money monthly but not over the length of the loan terms.
By consolidating, you are increasing the term length of the loan and will pay more on the principal unless you pay it off quicker (Refer to #17-21).
Being frugal is essential. Really the entire concept of frugality when it comes to personal finance is to delay on the good to get the great later.
42. No Spend Days
This might not seem like a big deal, but most people spend money every single day. Whether it is a stop at the local grocery store or just a bill, almost everyday money is going out.
Consider having no spend days each month. Don’t spend a single dollar on anything by planning ahead. Once you can string together a few no spend days in a row, you are ready for #43 below!
43. No Spend Months
This is not as simple as a no-spend day. Once you can string together several no spend days in a row, then consider a no spend a month.
A no-spend month is simple – don’t spend any money. Only pay your bills. That being said, to have a no-spend month you would have to “gear up,” aka get ready.
Some benefits of a no spend month include using up items you already have at home, increasing awareness on monthly spending habits, and teaching you to live below your means.
44. Reuse stuff
Plastic bags make great lunch bags. Old t-shirts are great rags for cleaning. While reuse might only save you a $100 a year overall, the long term impact of reusing and less consumption not only helps your wallet but the environment as well.
If you are someone who is crafty, you can use things like paper towel rolls to make decorations or DIY crafts.
45. Take Advantage of Free Food
Free pancakes at iHop, a free appetizer for downloading an app, BOGO coupons. Take advantage of free food because it is all around you.
Most places have kids eat free night, some chains have a free item once a year. Either way, just planning ahead can result in lot’s of free food for you and your family. Never eat out anywhere unless you are getting something for free!
46. Be a Condiment Collector
This is the ultimate definition of frugal, but every time you do go to your local food establishment if you use two ketch-ups for your fries… take 2 more home with you.
Don’t throw away the extra straws, forks or napkins either. Just designated a drawer at home for all your extra condiments (And fortune cookies) and you will never have to buy a condiment again.
47. Price Match Everything
The beauty of large online retailers like Amazon is that you can instantly check prices, especially for things like car air filters and service work that is done, but also things at the store.
Target and other retailers price match Amazon, so always look online at the price of an item next time you are in the store. Here is a list of retailers that price match.
Housing Financial Tips
Personal finance tip: Housing costs will be your largest expense every month. Here are some tips to helping you better manage your home costs!
48. 25% Gross Rule
The American dream is to own a home with a white fence and a yard. However, homeownership is expensive, so how do you know what you can afford?
Using the 25% gross rule you can accurately find the right house that fits your personal budget. The accumulation of your annual house payments should not exceed 25% of your gross income.
For example, if you make $60,000 a year, your house payments should not exceed $15,000 for the year, or $1,250 per month.
49. Mortgage Acceleration
The average person will save $100,000 on a $250,000 15 year loan vs a 30-year loan!
Whether you have a 30-year loan or a 15-year loan, buy paying extra towards your principal you can save $1,000’s in interest over the life of a loan. Additional benefits of paying off your mortgage quicker include quickly building equity and paying your home off in less time!
A way to quickly accelerate your mortgage is to actually use a HELOC and make large principal payments. This concept is scrutinized but works for any debt, especially mortgage debt.
In the article below, look at the amortization charts when you leverage the equity in your home to pay off your home: Read how to leverage a HELOC to pay off your home in 7-8 years.
51. Payoff Home Gameplan
Have a gameplan and goal to pay off your house. Most people you meet have never thought of paying their home off quicker, nor do they consider this possibility. But, once you are debt free aside from your mortgage, you should consider paying off your house.
Like #49 said above, paying off your mortgage quickly saves you money. However, when you start crunching numbers you might be surprised to find out that you can contribute more money towards your mortgage principal. Thus, paying off your home in a 4-7 year timeframe!
52. Home Improvements ROI
Be sure to know the return on investment of your home improvements.
Are the new entry doors and remodeled kitchen going to have a higher ROI than the crown molding in the dining room? Probably so. Prior to remodeling or making home improvements, be aware of any possible moves and what the return on investment will be.
Things like new siding, doors, windows, kitchen counters and roofs are expensive, but typically have a high return on investment, especially when they are recent improvements.
Just like most companies like to keep work in house, keep your projects in house as much as possible.
If you are looking to do some home improvements, first do a skills assessment and see what you are capable of doing on your own, such as painting. While replacing the roof and redoing the kitchen might be more challenging, YouTube is a game-changer for DIY projects.
Ideas to do at home include: Refinishing hardwoods, painting deck or fence, painting rooms, painting cabinets, replacing appliances, cleaning carpet, new light fixtures and adding hardware are simple to do projects.
54. Rental Properties
A commonly talked about form of passive income is rental properties. While finding great tenants and the capital to make it happen is 90% of the battle, rental properties are a great form of passive income.
Consider using a property management company to ease the burden of finding good tenants. Be sure to thoroughly spend several months or years in learning the ropes before jumping into real estate.
Bonus read: 11 Ways to Invest in Real Estate
You got your first car at 16 and you started paying car insurance. Drive until your 86 and 70 years is a lot of driving and lots of insurance. Knowing how to make all insurances work for you is a key component of your overall personal finances, here is how to leverage insurance for you!
55. Bundle Insurance
When it comes to insurance, bundling your insurance will save you tons of money. A go-to personal finance tip to save a few hundred dollars every year is to call up your agent and make sure your home insurance (or renters), auto insurance, personal property insurance, or other insurances you may have been bundled.
For example, between our home, umbrella and auto insurance, when we threw in a term life insurance plan and bundled all 4 together we saved more money then the term policy. So we saved money and got free term life insurance.
56. Shop Around Every 1-2 Years
Every 12 to 24 months shop around for insurance. Leverage this with your current company or new companies. Most people will stick with the same company for years not realizing they should actually see their premiums decreasing with loyalty.
Just make sure when shop around that by saving money your coverage isn’t less. For example you might save on auto insurance with another company, but they may only insure you for $25,000 when before you were insured for up to $75,000.
57. Life Insurance
Term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance… the list goes on?
There are many types of life insurance and while the list goes on, the biggest pros behind universal and whole life insurance is they build cash value – which can actually be used or “withdrawn.”
When it comes to life insurance, a general rule of thumb is to gather lots of data and advice from people who know about personal finance. With so many options it is important to consider how life insurance investing (see below) may benefit you as well.
58. LIRP – Life Insurance Retirement Plan
Most people have never even heard of a LIRP (Life insurance retirement plan) let alone even knew there was such a thing as insurance retirement plans.
The beauty behind a LIRP is they are tax-free and they avoid potential higher rates down the road. Here is a fun fact to consider whether a LIRP is good or not – ⅔ of congress use LIRP’s.
Best personal finance tip ever – invest in what congress invests in. Which leads to the next section below… investing!
90% of people lose money with stock investing. So a personal finance tip when it comes to investing – know what the heck you are doing. Here are 7 ways to invest your money in 2019:
59. M1 Finance
You may have never even heard of M1 Finance but in one year they became the 5th highest ranked investing app, passing the big four brokerages of Fidelity, Schwab, Ameritrade, and E*Trade.
Because they are simple to use, they make their money when you make money, NO FEES and they love pie charts. Robo investing is the new wave, check out M1 Invest here.
60. Rule of 72
Investopedia explains the “Rule of 72” well right here, but in general, the rule of 72 is a way to determine how long it will take an investment to double. In other words, how long will it take $1 to be worth $2?
For example, the Rule of 72 states that $1 invested at 10% would take 7.2 years ((72/10) = 7.2) to grow to $2. In reality, a 10% investment will take 7.3 years to double ((1.10^7.3 = 2).
Robinhood is a way to invest for free, and they give you free stocks every time you refer someone. The best thing about Robinhood is it’s free. Another feature is the ability to track stocks (Bookmark or Favorite) and keep an eye on them with ease.
Cons behind Robinhood include they offer bare bone charts and their news is third party links. Overall, the company is great for new investors.
62. 401 K
When it comes to personal finance tips and 401 K’s here is the best advice you can ever get, employee matching is FREE money. If your company or corporation matches any amount of what you contribute, that is FREE money so max it out.
For more on 401 K’s, here are 8 tips to maximize your 401 K.
63. Roth IRA
Simply put, a Roth IRA is a special retirement account that you fund with post-tax income. AKA, after you get your paycheck’s taxes taken out, then the money is contributed to your Roth IRA.
What you see is what you get, because when it is time to withdraw and retire all contributions are tax-free.
Pros include you are locked in at your current tax rate and you can still have a 401K through your employer to list a few. Cons include there is no immediate tax deduction and pre-tax contributions can result in higher investment totals over time.
64. Stock Index Funds
A stock is a slice of a company that you own. The volatility of the stock market will go up and down, which is why stock index funds are often recognized as best bet.
Here is a simple guide to using stock index funds.
Lifestyle & Personal Finance
Personal finance tip – you might have to alter some of your lifestyle in order to create financial security and options. Here are 7 ways, from simple to more complex, to consider within your lifestyle in order to make money work for you.
65. Unsubscribe from Emails to Save Money
Why would unsubscribing from emails save you money?
E-mail’s don’t magically make their way to your inbox for no reason. They are marketing messages designed to get you to visit a website and in hopes for you to purchase a product.
Common marketing emails, whether it is Bestbuy or Victoria's Secret, or even your bank’s promotion of their new “cash back card” is a marketing message.
Just have a rule – when an a promotional email hits your inbox unsubscribe.
66. Cut Up Mail
Similar to unsubscribing from your emails to save money, cut up or throw away your junk mail too.
Besides the decluttering effect it provides, you won’t be enticed to justify spending because you got a coupon or deal. Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t place the coupons on your fridge.
67. Skip Vacations
This may seem somewhat extreme for some, but like #68 says below, you will have to find ways to delay gratification in order to save money and payoff debt.
According to Creditdonkey, the annual vacation costs $1,145 per person. Even on the conservative side, $1,000 per person for a family 4 is $4,000. Compounded over time that can be a lot of money.
Consider only taking trips using rewards cards (#13 & #14) and find free activities instead for the time being (#27). Skip vacations for 3-4 years and you will be surprised as to what you can accomplish financially.
68. Delay Gratification
If there were a top 3 personal finance tips of all time, delaying gratification would be in those top 3. Along with not comparing and paying yourself first, delayed gratification is vital to making financial gains in life.
Is this a short term or long term decision? For more on how to delay your gratification, read below! Just remember, the best things always come to those who are patient and wait it out, which can be harder and harder in the digital age.
Read More: 6 Steps to Delay Gratification
69. Skip Weddings & Bachelor Parties
The title of this section is lifestyle and personal finance. Very easily, it could have been titled “Lifestyle Adjustments.”
For millennials skipping a few weddings and bachelor parties might seem like the end of the world, but when it comes to saving money it’s almost a no brainer. Think of your sphere of influence.
Now realize that most millennials will most likely spend $14,000 plus to attend weddings and bachelor parties. That’s a lot of money to attend a few parties. In fact, bachelor parties are even standing in the way of homeownership!
70. Get Healthier
Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t just have the potential for you to live longer and accomplish more, you can fatten your wallet too.
Even though health is a vague term, eating less, working out more, and focusing on mental health can help you get healthier and wealthier.
Some of the benefits of being healthy to include eliminating vices, saving more on annual medical costs, save money on food and even cutting down on transportation costs if you walk more places. All of this saves you money too!
71. Less is More
At the end of the day the idea of minimalism or “less is more,” isn’t such a bad idea when it comes to your personal finances.
The more you can emphasize memories and experiences, the fewer money problems you will have. Minimalists consider the idea of minimalism as living with less than 100 things. The concept of less is more focused on your health, mental health, time, creating more and consuming less.
Money problems can be solved by having less need for it!
Personal finance tip: You will need to make more money to hit your goals. You can fill out surveys, drive your car around or even walk dogs.
Either way making money can typically solve most problems for you, but that doesn't always mean it is easy. Here are 10 ways to make more money in 2019!
72. Side Hustles
The word side hustle is the 2018/2019 term equivalent to the frequently used words tipsy and crunk in the early 2000’s.
Everywhere you go you hear people talking about their side hustles which are essentially ways to make extra money while providing flexibility. The difference between a side hustle and a primary income source – flexibility and the ability to pursue a passion.
73. Start a Blog
In my first full 12 months, I was able to make $5,300 blogging. While blogging does require work and effort, blogging can become a source of income if you're looking to make some money from home.
Find a niche, find a voice and stay steady. To start your own Bluehost blog start here.
74. Passive Income
Passive income refers to the ability to make money while you sleep. Or as Warren Buffett says, “If you don’t make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
Now truth be told, passive income is challenging to earn (more so than active income) but there are ways to earn passive income:
- Real estate
- Dividend income
- Rent a room
- Affiliate Income
- Blogging (#73 once grown)
- Create a course
- Create an online store
- Vending businesses
75. Ask for a raise
If you are a teacher, cop or public service employee asking for a raise won’t work since you are on a printed pay scale. However, everyone else, for the most part, can do this:
Ask for a raise!
One of the quickest and simplest ways to make more money is to simply ask for a raise. Now, it starts with being good at what you do. Some tips for asking for a raise include:
- Ask “What can I do to earn a raise”
- Go in with confidence, but make sure you are self-aware
- Share your goals and ask for feedback
- Prime first – do the right things and hint around prior to asking
Side Note: The number of people getting “promoted” without increased competition is becoming increasingly common and workers have to choose whether or not to accept these offers. Don’t take on more work without compensation.
See also: How to ask for raise.
76. Commission Based Part-Time Jobs
Notice none of these say get a traditional part-time job. While things like catering, bartending, ride-sharing and walking dogs can make some quick cash, for the most part, they aren’t that fun. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
In this post, I wrote about my $1,000 side hustle and how to go about getting one for yourself.
It is commission-based. Here is the benefit of a commission-based side hustle or part-time job – you can make way more money in one hour then you ever good picking up dog poop or driving your car around.
Pros: More money, less time, get to interact with people
Cons: Get over fear of talking to people, have to hustle, need to know business owners to implement
77. Make $hit
With e-commerce and online stores like Etsy and Amazon, making stuff and selling it has never been easier.
From cornhole boards to decorations, people are making stuff in their garage and selling it more than ever. If you have a hobby or like making stuff, check out Etsy.
78. Sell Stuff
If you want to make some quick money, or even make an extremely lucrative side hustle, sell stuff from your garage, house, thrift stores, or old wedding stuff.
“Flipping” has become the new thing to do for stay at home mom’s and dad’s and is a great way to make some side money. Go through your garage and start by selling old stuff you never plan to use.
Hop on Craigslist and post some furniture, old mowers and the baby clothes. $15 here and there adds up. If you want to learn how to be furniture flipper, here is an awesome guide.
79. SEO Check Up
An idea to make extra income is to offer consulting services if you have a particular skill set. One of those is to do SEO or “Search engine optimization” work. Everyone in the business world, big or small, is looking to expand their online presence.
Search engine optimization and ranking high on Google is vital to a business and bloggers. However, you can also line your pockets if you know what you are doing. Start with reaching out to some friends who own businesses and help them with their websites. As you build your client book, work your way up!
Read more about SEO: If you’re serious, here is course to learn how to do SEO from A-Z.
80. Freelance Gigs
If you consider yourself to be freelance photographer, graphic designer, digital marketer, designer – you name it – landing freelance gigs allows you to make extra money on your own time.
For freelance gigs, checkout Fiverr where you can advertise your freelance services.
81. Tutor & Music Lessons
Teachers don’t make lots of money. How about making money on your own time tutoring online? Use VIPKID to make money tutoring. The flexibility and pay is great. Tutors also state that the students on the other side of the computer screen are really easy to work with. However, tutors do notice that peak times because most students are overseas is early morning hours.
Similar to tutoring, if you can teach music, find ways to create a part time income with it. Music lessons and tutoring as a whole are great ways to make an extra $50 per hour several times per week.
See also: 22 Ways to Make $500 Fast
Networth & Tracking Income
Why do people with fitness goals count calories and weigh themselves? So they know how they're progressing towards their goals. When it comes to personal finance, knowing your net worth and tracking is key, here is how to track your income:
82. Track Your Net Worth – Personal Capital
Track your networth using Personal Capital. In the last 90 days, my networth has increased $33,000 and one of my investment accounts lost $542 today.
How do I know that?
Because all of my assets, liabilities, and accounts are housed in one place with Personal capital. Always be sure to always track your net worth. We can tell ourselves we are doing well, but having a free program do it for you… well, that’s another story!
83. Monthly Income
Everything rises and falls on
leadership your monthly income. If you don’t have an accurate understanding of your monthly cash flow that chances of you wandering into a nice savings cushion, let alone a fully funded retirement account, are less likely.
All of your fixed expenses, variable expenses, debt payments and monthly investments will hinge on your monthly take home. Similar to Personal Capital, the best tracking app, in my opinion, is Mint (Which is free too!)
Saving, debt payoff, and investing payoff strategies are easier when you have a full understanding of your monthly cash flow!
84. Annual Income
Track your net annual income. Most people when you ask them what they make will tell you their gross income. Don’t fool yourself.
Distinguishing between the two is vital when you want to invest and plan for the future. Track your annual net income on a simple spreadsheet. Here are three reasons to track your income:
- You will be more motivated to take action if it is not where you want it.
- By tracking, you might ask for a raise if you notice a trend.
- Tracking keeps your financial goals in perspective based on your income.
85. Know Your Net Worth
Maybe you don’t want to track every penny of your net worth like # 82 said… but at the very least – be aware of your net worth.
Knowing your net worth will increase the likelihood of you taking action to improve it. A negative net worth does not make you a better or worse person. But being aware is half the battle when it comes to financial decisions and money in general.
Savings & Saving More Money
A huge component of personal finance is saving money. “No one get's rich saving money” … says only someone who doesn't save their money. Learn ways to save more and how to go about saving your money with these below.
86. Emergency Fund.
As a general rule of thumb, most personal finance experts recommend having 6 months in a savings account that is for emergencies only. Dave Ramsey says, “Have $1,000 in a jar somewhere,” in case of an emergency. Work from $1,000 to 3 months, then 3 months to 6 months so you can cover bare bone living expenses. I recommend using a seperate savings account from your checking to prevent tapping into your savings, start with Ally.com
87. Certified Deposit.
Got money saved that doesn’t necessarily need to be liquefiable? Consider a certified deposit. While not what they used to be, a certified deposit can have a larger return than a traditional savings account.
Certified deposits are “timed deposits,” so most early withdrawals have a penalty. The longer the timeline and the larger amount you can use towards a CD does increase the chances of a better interest rate.
88. Ally Saving
I am in love with Ally Savings. So much so I gave it is own spot on the top 102 personal finance strategies of 2019. Here is why I like Ally…
They have the highest savings rate of any bank I have seen online. Right now they are at 2.20%. While that isn’t going to allow you to quit your day job of your capital gains, some is better than none.
One other reason I prefer Ally for savings: Keep your savings and checking separate. Savings means to save, not spend. Having your savings and checking tied together gives most a backdoor to spend more money then they should by quickly accessing their savings.
What the heck to taxes have to do with your finances? Lots. In fact most large corporations are successful because of their ability to navigate the tax maze. Here are some personal finance tax tips for you!
89. Tax-Free Days.
Make sure you do back to school shopping, cloth shopping and other shopping on tax-free days when applicable. By large appliances on these days too.
90. Use Tax Return Wisely.
Don’t be like most people and use your tax return on a vacation or something silly. Read how to use your tax return wisely with these 11 tips here. Consider paying off debt or saving it to start an emergency fund. Got a fat emergency fund? Invest with a robo advisor like M1.
91. Tax Savings Account.
Own a company or have a 1099? Make sure you are saving enough each month in a “Tax Savings Account.” For example, if you make $1,000 a month Ubering, save 30% to cover the end of the year taxes from the 1099. What happens if you don’t own? Well now you have the allotted money sitting there!
92. Asset Creation.
Consider creating an asset to help with tax benefits. Always consult a CPA but small start-up’s, starting a blog like this one, and a business entity in general can be an asset. Your small home office and cell phone become a business asset instead of a personal liability. Also, long term an asset will create more options down the road.
Personal Finance “Mindset” Tips:
Lastly, here are some personal finance tips that fall into the “Other” category. The most important one is below – HAVE FUN!
93. Have Fun.
Whether you are paying off debt, saving more money, or just looking to knock out a few personal finance goals – HAVE FUN. See the next point about making everything a game, but remember, in anything you do have fun to make it last.
94. Make a Game of Finances.
Make a game of your personal finances. Include family, spouses, kids when applicable and use games to help you reach your goals. When mom and dad hit a goal, the kids get a sticker on a chart. A certain amount of stickers equals a family reward.
Adding competition to the element will force you to focus and stay disciplined. Consider having some sort of chart or thermometer on a wall to track progress, with rewards along the way… which is #95.
95. Reward Yourself
You can’t work hard and never reward yourself. To keep you going, sorta like a stepping stone, when you reach goals be sure to celebrate. Reward yourself. Don’t go crazy, but every 60-90-120 days have a reward planned out to keep you moving forward!
Consider making travel and vacations a big reward for big milestones. Paid off a car, save for the next three months and take a trip.
96. Personalize Finances.
Remember personal finance is personal. Cliche, possible, true, YES. Personalize finances so that it helps you. This also means not always listening to random advice or comparing yourself. If you are focused on paying off student loans and someone is investing – well that is their “Personal Finance,” not yours.
Keep it personalized so you stay focused on what you need to do for your needs. Everyone’s needs are different, which means what works for one person might not work for you. Sticking with staying personal, #97 – limiting social media is key to helping you stay personalized.
97. Set Social Media Limits
Per a recent CNBC Money article, 40% of millennials are willing to go into debt just to keep up with their peers. Social media is not real life. Limit social media usage to avoid the temptation to spend more or compare yourself to others.
If you are paying off student loans, watching friends travel to remote locations around the world all of sudden makes your delaying gratification not as fun. Keep in mind,
98. Read More
Read more?? Yes, read more about personal finance. Read more books, read more articles, read more blogs. Figure out what works for you and apply it. And here is another great thing about reading. Reading will expose chinks in the armor so to speak. By reading, you will see your flaws or areas of improvement and you will then
99. Live below your means.
Timeless advice that will never change – live below your means. You can read only this one personal finance tip and you have the answer to almost 99% of your financial woes. Keep in mind – at some point in your life you have lived below your means, and you will have to again. When you retire, you will have to live below your means. So why not get good at it now, when you're young. By living below your means you also realize what is truly important in life.
100. Slowly Alter Your Lifestyle.
While a lot of personal finance tips revolve around behavior like Dave Ramsey always says, my tweak is to slowly alter your lifestyle. Going all in usually ends up working against us. Think about all the New Year’s resolutions that are given up on by February. Slowly make tweaks to your lifestyle that over time will add up.
Related Content: Money & The 10% Rule.
In fact, improving 1% daily results in a 365% improvement. On a personal note, we took about 12 months to go from driving my financed truck to being all-in on paying off our student loan debt. We took baby steps, and you should too!
101. Be Honest About Your Personal Finances.
Treat your finances like a business, which starts with being honest. If you are plus $50 every month after bills and spending, that is a $600 business. That is not good. By looking at your finances honestly, you will stop creating justifications for bad habits. You can’t lie to yourself if you are honest at the same time. We have a natural tendency to make excuses and trick ourselves into doing something.
But admitting certain areas need improvement – savings, debt, investing – will make you take more action towards that area.
102. Think of money in percentages
The $3 or $4 coffee, it's only a $1 more, right?
Actually its a 33% increase. Not just a $1. And while this might seem simple, it makes a huge difference when you use this approach for all of your finances!
That brand new $1,000 cell phone isn't just a $1,000 – it's 25% of your $4,000 gross income (for example). The same goes for your house payment, car payment, gym payment, and every other expense!
103. Know how much “Car” you can afford
You need to know how much car you can afford.
Transportation costs are the second most expensive item for most households after housing. Keeping that in mind and the percentage rule from number 102 above, your rule for buying a car should be this:
Only buy cars that are valued at 25% of your gross income.
104. Check your credit score annually
Your credit score is important, just look at personal finance tip # 111 from Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks.
105. Be aware of phantom debts
Similar to #104, one reason to check your credit score is to make sure you don't have any phantom debts. Debts that you either forgot about OR even worse…
Debts that you never incurred in the first place. While rare, it's smart to make sure you don't have any phantom debts!
106. Purge 1-2x per year!
Every spring and late fall/early winter, purge your room, office, and garage!
You can donate like #107 below, or even sell some of your stuff. But the feeling of being clutter-free will make you feel fresh and less stressed!
107. Give & Donate
Perhaps it isn't a personal finance tip, but giving and donating either through tithing, donations, charity – you name it, are great ways to help you appreciate your money better!
108. Look for free college options
If you're considering going back to college or sending kids to college – see how you can do it for free! It's possible, or at the very least, it can be affordable.
Related: Jobs that Pay For College
109. Read personal finance books annually!
The list of personal finance books is endless. But in addition to reading some of the top personal finance blogs, read books on the topic of money and finance.
Here are some to start with:
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Automatic Millionaire
- The Millionaire Next Door
- Your Money or Your Life
- Financial Freedom
- Think And Grow Rich
Personal Finance Tips from Pros!
110. Take Advantage of Meal Delivery Service Promo Offers
According to John and Sam from How To Fire, you can save money and still use meal delivery services! Here is what they said:
If you want to save money on eating out, but still want to make cooking at home easier, take advantage of the cheapest meal delivery services.-John, How to Fire
John went on to say, “You can bounce around between new customer offers and return offers to make this a great alternative. They take the hassle out of grocery shopping and cooking by sending the pre-portioned ingredients right to your door. Enjoy the easy meal prep and budget decrease!”
111. Find Ways to Work Out For Free
Find ways to workout for free according to Nathan from Millionaire Dojo. He put it this way,
You don’t have to pay for an expensive gym membership to get a good workout in. You can do something as simple as going for a hike, or a full-body workout at a local park playground. “-Nathan, Millionaire Dojo
If you’ve got the space, you can create your own home gym over time by shopping the used market to get equipment for cheap. Don’t underestimate how much fat can be burned with a heavy bag and some boxing gloves! There are even some ideas out there to potentially earn money from exercising.
112. Automate Your (Wedding) Savings
According to Jessica from Budget Savvy Bride, be sure to automate your savings!
Sign up for a high-yield savings account with an online bank like Ally or Capital One 360. They pay higher-than-average interest rates, and give you the option to set up automatic savings deposits from your checking to savings.
You can easily create multiple accounts for different financial goals and automate the savings. This is great for big or small goals, from saving for a wedding to funding a downpayment on a home.-Jessica, Budget Savvy Bride
113. Include Your Children in Money Talks!
Include your children in your Money discussion. As Brian from Debt Discipline put it,
It helps teach them about money, and that it's okay to talk about these things.-Brian, Debt Discpline
It will also give them a better understanding of how money is being spent in the house, and why you have to say “yes or “no” to some budget items. Teaching them the difference between wants and needs is a great foundation to build future financial success.
114. Spend Less Than You Make
Andrew Schrage the Founder of Money Crashers offered some simple advice when it comes to personal finance tips:
One of the best money goals someone should have is to spend less than you make.-Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers
111. Get Your Credit Score to 800!
According to Wallet Hacks founder Jim Wang, he offered this personal finance tip:
Good credit score makes so many aspects of your life easier!”-Jim Wang, Wallet Hacks
We all know about credit cards, mortgages, and other loans… but credit scores are used by;
- Landlords to decide who to rent to,
- Cell phone companies to pick who gets a phone,
- Car insurance companies,
- And even some employers hire based on credit scores.
115. Build a “Zombie Proof” Emergency Fund
As far as Your Money Geek founder Michael Dinich is concerned, one personal finance tip you need to have is to build a “Zombie Proof” emergency fund:
You should build a real, let the zombies come at me bro emergency fund. Once you think you have a fund in place keep adding to it every month.– Michael Dinich, Your Money Geek
116. Time = Money, So Spend Them Both Wisely
Robin from Mastering the Side Jam had this personal finance to add when it came to your time:
Focus on the things, activities and people who will bring the most joy to your world. Maintain a life balance, so you're not pulled too far in an unhealthy direction.-Robin, Mastering the Side Jam
Her advice – “Work hard, but don't make that all you do. Play hard, but know there is an appropriate time for fun, and necessary time for reality. And love hard, but make sure you're receiving an equal amount in return.”
117. Generate multiple income streams using your talents!
According to Amanda Mason from Recipes Worth Repeating, be sure to:
Find a way to generate multiple income stream(s) using your skill sets and talents. ”– Amanda Mason, Recipes Worth Repeating
A lot of people have many talents they don't tap into. While most people work full time, they have other interests and desires that can lead to additional revenue. If you're well versed in sports and know the official rules, consider being a referee or coach for a local team.
If you love to write and are passionate about a topic, consider starting a blog.
118. Create a 3 Fund Portfolio
As Kevin from Just Start Investing writes an investment portfolio made up of three investment vehicles or funds, or the “Lazy” way for investing.
A 3 Fund Portfolio is exactly what it sounds like: an investment portfolio made up of three investment vehicles or funds. Specifically, the investment vehicles are:
- US Equity Fund
- International Equity Fund
- Bond Fund
Final 2 Personal Finance Tip for 2020:
119. Know your hourly worth!
At the end of the day, none of the previous 118 personal finance tips matter if you don't understand these last two.
- Know your hourly wage
- Write down your 5 biggest wants/desires
Contrary to what most think, we don't spend money, we spend time. We use our time to make money, to then take that money to pay bills, buy things, save, invest or whatever else we can do with money.
The average adult will spend 80,000 hours of their life working. When you start looking at your money in terms of hours, everything changes.
Here is a great article to read on your Real Hourly Wage!
120. Write Down 5 Biggest Wants/Importance in Your Life.
Personal finance tip #120, the final tip – write down your 5 biggest wants or things of importance in your life. What are your biggest desires?
Kids, spouse, safety, security, wealth, travel, family, friends – whatever it may be, write it down, preferably in order. Put it on the fridge. Put it on the mirror in your bathroom. Look at it. Here is why: it will motivate you to improve and do just a little bit better every day. You will make long term choices, instead of short term choices.
And long term choices will always make a better, well rounded, financially set person. Here is to an awesome 2020 with you crushing all of your financial goals!
Q: What is your favorite personal finance tip?
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and many more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their newborn son, their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! In case you were wondering, Josh uses Personal Capital to track his net worth and his first investment account ever was an Acorns account 😎