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Improve Your Finances with a Personal Money Day Checklist

Money Girl explains how to use a Personal Money Day checklist to save--and even make--more money.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
7-minute read
Episode #363

Task #4: Choose the Best Bank Account

Use your Personal Money Day to evaluate if your bank accounts are the best fit for you. Everyone needs a checking or payment account for day-to-day spending, paying bills, and depositing money. Make sure your checking account:

  • charges no monthly fees
  • requires no minimum balance
  • offers unlimited transactions
  • has online banking
  • has free online bill pay
  • reimburses you some amount for automatic teller machine (ATM) fees
  • is FDIC-insured

If it falls short, you need a better bank or credit union. Use sites like Checkingfinder.com and Bankrate.com to shop for better options. If you're worried about the logistics of switching, be sure to listen to my previous podcast, How to Switch to a Free Bank Account in 5 Simple Steps.

Additionally, you need a savings account for your emergency money that pays some amount of interest. Your checking and savings accounts can be at the same or different institutions

Task #5: Review Your Retirement Savings

If you're not already making regular, automated contributions to a retirement account, use your Money Day to get started. If your employer offers retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or 457, get enrolled now! 

If not, opening up a traditional or Roth IRA is really easy at sites like Betterment, Motif, and ETRADE.

Retirement accounts give you special tax breaks that allow you to pay less tax, save more, and grow your retirement nest egg as quickly as possible. You choose from a menu of investments, such as stock and bond mutual funds, and can reallocate your money at any time.

See also: Your Guide to the Roth IRA

Task #6: Shop Your Insurance

Most of us don't shop our insurance coverage nearly as often as we should. It's easy to make sure you're not overpaying by getting free quotes for car, home, life, and health insurance from sites like insuranceQuotes.com or Autoinsurancequotes.com.

Statistics show that most renters don't have renters insurance, even though it's very inexpensive (about $185 per year on average nationwide.)  If you rent a home or apartment, you need a renters policy to protect your personal belongings and legal liability. 

Term life insurance is another inexpensive product that most of need. For instance, if you have family who depend on your income--such as a spouse, partner, child, parent, or grandparent--you need life insurance to protect them if you aren't around. 

Having enough of the right kinds of insurance is critical to keeping you and your family safe from an unexpected catastrophe or hardship. But you should never overpay for too much insurance. If you're not sure what coverage you have, call your company or agent for a review.

How to Save More Money

Once you've completed these 6 major financial tasks, consider additional ways to save more money. Could you get a better deal on your internet, cable, or cell phone plans? Could you find a less expensive apartment? Call companies or do online research to see how you can cut your monthly expenses.

You might also think about making more money by selling unused items online, looking for a better-paying job, or starting a freelance side-hustle. You know better than anyone what important tasks you've been putting off that could make a big difference in your financial life. So open your calendar right now and schedule a Personal Money Day!

See also: Your Credit Score Survival Kit (a free video tutorial, ebook, and audiobook) 

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Photos of calendar, checklist, Piggy Bank with calculator, Piggy Bank with tape measure, retirement sign, and Young Man Holding Bill courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a trusted and frequent source for the national media. Her book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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