There are days when staying on top of your finances might seem like a full-time job.
Fortunately, not everything you do to help your money situation needs to be hard or take a long time. There are many little things you can do that have big results.
Here are three very easy financial moves that can pay big dividends for years:
1. Start Tracking Your Spending
If you already budget, that’s fantastic. Skip this one.
If you don’t budget, but also don’t want to, let me try to convince you to at least start tracking your spending. Knowing where your money goes, even if you don’t expect yourself to start budgeting, can pay off in the long run.
It’s great if you can take tracking your expenses to the next level and start budgeting, but you don’t have to. Just tracking it will be valuable and when you do decide you want to budget, you’ll be thankful you have all this data.
2. Pay More Than the Minimum on Debt
Debt, especially high interest credit card debt, is like stealing from your future self.
If you have a $10,000 balance on a credit card with an 18.9% interest rate, making just the minimum payments of $400 will have you paid off in “just” 14 years and pay a total of over$16,000. That’s an extra six thousand bucks you’ll end up paying.
Pay down that debt. Start by making more than the minimum payments and you’ll pay it off far sooner and with less interest.
3. Increase Your Retirement Contributions
Saving for retirement is crucial, but nearly a third of all non-retired adults have no retirement savings according to the 2015 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. Do not become a retirement statistic.
Try to increase your saving by 10%. If you contribute $100 per pay period, try to contribute $110. It’s not a ton. But it can make a big difference in your retirement.
If you contribute $100 each month into an account that earns 8% a year, after 40 years you’ll have $349,100.
If you contribute $110 each month into an account that earns 8% a year, after 40 years you’ll have $384,010. By kicking in an extra $10 a month, which amounts to $4800 over 40 years, you will come out ahead by over thirty thousand dollars.
Will you miss $10 a month? Probably not.
Will you notice what amounts to an extra car in your retirement account? Probably.
What other small adjustments could you make to see a big financial return down the road? Let us know what small money tweaks you’re working on in the comments below!
Jim Wang is the founder of Wallet Hacks. Jim is a thirty-something father of two who has been featured in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money. He can show you the philosophies, strategies, and methods he used to become financially independent and free to pursue what was important.