31 Days to Improve Your Financial Life

I want you to improve your financial life in 2013 and beyond. Therefore, over the next 31 days I’ll be sharing my best tips to help you improve your financial life. Each post will contain a short, actionable tip, followed by some related resources.

Download a PDF of this post.
While I can’t promise you’ll be rich or completely debt free by the end of the 31 days, I can assure you that if you take action on the 31 tips, your financial life will be much better off this year than last.

Let’s do this!

Improve Your Financial Life in 31 Days

Day 1: Save $1,000

Everyone should have at least an extra $1,000 saved up. Having at least a $1,000 cushion in your finances can do a lot for your feelings of security. It’s also evidence that you are capable of living within your means, and (possibly more importantly) holding on to your savings.

Do this today: Open up a separate savings account and have $100 automatically deposited into the account each paycheck (or each month). After just ten deposits, you’ll have that $1,000 saved and you didn’t even have to think about it beyond that one time you setup the automatic deposit. You’ll be less likely to touch the money because it’s in a separate place. Out of sight, out of mind.

If $100 is too much. Try $50 and do it for 20 periods. Either way, pick a number, separate, and automate. This is the most guaranteed way that I’ve found to saving $1,000.

Want to get to $1,000 quicker? Consider selling some things you don’t use anymore and stashing that money in the account. Or, you could ask friends, family, or neighbors if there are any odd jobs you could do for them to earn quick cash for the savings account.

Resources:

Share Button

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31




Last Edited: March 8, 2014 @ 10:51 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

48 comments
Maria Tomblin
Maria Tomblin

Right now I'm feeling fairly financially secure, though all that could change in an instant. Ive got good skills and I network well, and I'm really working to pay off debt - so that I can make it through for longer than I would have been able to with the debt in the even of a catastrophe. I think that once I get married H and I will both feel pretty financially secure and can really start to focus on some long term goals.

seanhopcraft
seanhopcraft

Day 26 is a very important part of any financial strategy. Giving is not just giving something away to someone else but also you receive a sense of freedom for being controlled by your finances. JefferyCrews, I'll be honest, I don't know very much about car insurance companies, so maybe you could throw me a bone...What's a good site that you use for comparison? Thanks.

JeffreyCrews
JeffreyCrews

Step #25 is right down my alley. One way that you can save money on car insurance is by taking the time to compare companies. Everyone wants your business, so you should be able to get some of the better prices.

CultOfMoney
CultOfMoney

I really liked the most recent article on cutting out the junk mail. I don't know how much time I've spent over the years going through and opening and shredding credit card applications. I've even tried removing my name from the pre-screened offers. It really gets to be a bear.

debtblackhole
debtblackhole

I'm sad to say it took a major medical scare (my colon exploded/ruptured) for us to get serious about doing our wills & estate planning. We worked with Taylor Willingham, an attorney in North Texas, who specializes in the "walk-in will" (that's actually his website- http://www.walkinwill.com). He made the whole process extremely simple.

A basic will costs $199, plus you can add other estate planning documents if you want them. Or you can do what we did & get the entire Estate Plan package for both of us (around $600-$700). Well worth the investment to make sure our kids are taken care of and there are no questions about our wishes for our estate.

AverageJoeMoney
AverageJoeMoney

I'm a Roth IRA fan. When people ask me which is better, a Roth IRA or the 401k, I question the premise....they're usually better together! Because 401k funds exit completely taxable and Roth funds tax free, having both lets you work around tax bracket considerations during retirement.

Credit Solutions
Credit Solutions

Nice tips to be followed on 31 days! It will surely help to increase my monthly financial gain.

John at MarriedWithDebt
John at MarriedWithDebt

I definitely concur on having a list for grocery shopping. We plan a weeks' worth of meals out ahead, assess what we need, then make a list that applies only to that meal plan. Has saved us a lot of money.

Jeff Crews
Jeff Crews

Expense trimming has begun! I have found that looking over my expenses for the previous day gives great insight on what I really could have gone without.

Adaptu
Adaptu

Wow! What a great list of things to do! Great way to start of the New Year!

Mike Holman
Mike Holman

Thanks for the mention, Phil. Great series!

Kacie
Kacie

I'm a SAHM, but I have a term policy on myself anyway. If I go early, I'd want money to be available for my husband to hire in-home childcare and also a regular maid service. And whatever else.

Sort of a pain to get and it involved a medical exam and bloodwork, but whatever. The policy is complete.

My husband has a private term policy and additional coverage through work.

NCN
NCN

My wife and I have been having "money conversation dates" for more than 7 years now. The first one led to our decision to get out of debt - and each subsequent "date" allows us to track and celebrate our progress. I like the idea of talking "with" instead of talking "at", if that makes sense... Enjoyed the article! Rock on! -NCN

DebtEye
DebtEye

Philip, just got caught up on all 11 days haha. This is awesome stuff!

only1tcb
only1tcb

Great advice. My husband and I are taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course, I'm really hoping that it will help us to get on the page regarding our finances.

Jeff Crews
Jeff Crews

Specific goal setting is a great tip. Have you ever heard of BaseCamp? I feel like my strategies in goal setting for finances could be a lot like the way I set up goals for my employees in BaseCamp. I try not to never schedule ongoing type to do's or in this case goals (bc then technically I can never check it off as "done"). Set up specific goals that are longterm.

Watson Inc
Watson Inc

Wow, what a great resource! Compiling this must have been very time intensive. Thank you for creating this. I love how you made feeding your financial brain a tip for improving your financial life. That's so true and often overlooked!

Emily
Emily

The emergency fund was the hardest thing in the world for me to start doing because I felt that it was awfully counterintuitive. And then, well, the first disaster hit, then the second and ... well, it didn't take long before I realized that it was one of the best things in the world.

overcome-depression
overcome-depression

Excellent post -

I agree with you that if a personn has debt, the first thing that should be done is to build up an emergency fund..

Be a saver and debt reducer at the same time..

IAmDebtProject
IAmDebtProject

I'm excited that I am doing each and every one of these so far in 2012! One totally new thing I'm doing in January is tracking everything I spend, I always use a certain amount when it comes to food and gas, but I have no idea if I'm meeting that target every month. I read The Richest Man In Babylon last year as well as a few other books, and this month I am reading The Millionaire Next Door and I Will Teach You to be Rich!

Nick-SAFTM
Nick-SAFTM

Great series. I especially like the check your credit reminder. I rotate between my 3 main reports at annualcreditreport, one every four months. This way, I'm getting a new report every 4 months instead of getting all 3 and waiting a year. I have a reminder in my calendar that let's me know when it's time and which one to get this time. @saftmblog :)

tylerspraul
tylerspraul

Still working on the extra $1000, but I'm glad to say I'm putting my Mint app to good use so far in 2012! I've targeted my leftover student loans first, but this was the first I've heard of ReadyforZero.. thanks for the recommendation!

LadyA
LadyA

I'm happy to say that I've done 3 of the 5 things, so now to get the other two done(sell extra stuff and review credit report). A great way to help save $1,000 is to save all your $1 dollar bills. Last year I did this and had $397 at the end of the year!

Kathryn C
Kathryn C

Hey there. Great reminder on checking your credit. And I lock my credit reports too, each of them with transunion, experien, and equifax. That way nobody can take out a new line of credit in your name. So much identity theft these days. The only annoying thing is I have to remember to unfreeze them when I'm making a big purchase because they can't run my credit otherwise. Kind of a pain, but worth it to me.

My credit card number was stolen the other day, someone charged all sorts of stuff but as I was dealing with it I was kind of like "oh well, my credit reports are frozen so they can't steal my life." Anyway, completely agree. So important to stay on top of this. It's a life changer (one day)

shanendoah
shanendoah

I have my 403(b) set to auto adjust up 1% every April. That's the month that raises in my company go in to effect, which are usually in the 2-3% range. This way, I never see the extra that goes in to retirement savings, so I don't miss it. At the same time, I still get a little bit of a raise.

Jeb
Jeb

Dude, I would have taken that table saw off your hands.

 Family Money Values
Family Money Values

I haven't had much luck getting rid of my stuff for money - I tend to use it up and wear it out!

Tyler S
Tyler S

I've actually put together a nice little collection of items I can sell, and am getting close to that $1000! Looking forward to Day 3!

MyMoneyDesign
MyMoneyDesign

PT - I couldn't agree more that everyone should have at least an extra $1,000 saved up. Starting some type of automatic savings is a great way to start the new year.

Emily
Emily

When we were getting together our emergency fund (and when we have to renew it) it always goes in leaps and bounds - a little bit here, a lot there... You're right though, it was amazing how fast it built up.

InvestItWisely
InvestItWisely

Happy new year, PT! I now use automatic transfers which help to reduce the cognitive load of saving -- it's automatic, and it feels good to see the balances continually increasing.

JeffreyCrews
JeffreyCrews

@seanhopcraft If you simply type in "car insurance comparison" or "car insurance companies", you will have acces to some great website that are there to help you. Hope this helps.

Elle_CM
Elle_CM

@ptmoney Looks like a great topics; I imagine a lot of people will be checking it out http:\/\/t.co\/LS9nieEj

NealFrankle
NealFrankle

@Philip Taylor@InvestItWisely

I am a big believer in lists.

1. make a list of all the action items that must be completed

2. prioritize

3. hit one by one.

You have done a great service by making the list for us all. Well done sir!