In 9 years of writing Lazy Man and Money, I've covered every area of personal finance.
One question I get time and time again is, "What can I do to fix my money problems right now? Please make it quick and easy, because I'm lazy like you!"
I can't dig into through your financial statements and tell you what I would do. What I can do is tell you about some of the best tools around.
Save Money Every Month
Save Money on Subscriptions
It may seem like a few dollars each month but they add up. Here are three simple ways to save between $700 to $1300!
- Get Free Landline Service (save $240-480) - If you have a cable modem or other Internet service there's no reason to pay a monthly fee for a landline. Simply buy an Ooma Telo and you'll only pay the taxes and federal regulatory fees.
- Stop Renting a Cable Modem (save $100) - Comcast charged me $8 a month to rent a cable modem. By buying my own modem, I avoid this charge every month.
- Get Bargain Smartphone Service (save $400-750) - It seems like everyone is paying $100 a month for LTE smartphone service. Worse yet, they sign 2 year contracts and even a couple hundred for a phone itself. If you pay a little more up front, you can save a lot over the life of contract. This article tells you how I pay half that: Best Cell Phone/Plan Savings Today
Looking for more? I have written dozens of posts on how to save money on everything.
Budgeting is Work. Here's the Lazy Way.
As far as I'm concerned, there is only one game in town when it comes to budgeting. Sign up for Mint, a free service that helps you track your spending. Give it access to your bank and credit card accounts and it will analyze them and tell you where your money is going. If I see that I'm spending too much on restaurants, I try to cut back the next month.
Be Master of Your Credit Domain
- Get a Credit Card that Pays You Back - Some personal finance experts suggest you avoid credit cards and pay with cash. If that works for you, great. However, if you have the self-control when it comes to spending, you can make save a lot of money with a rewards card. The card I carry, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, gives you 50,000 points when you spend $3000 in the first three months. On Chase's site you can trade those points in for $500 in cash or get even more value by cashing in the points for airline tickets. If you are going to spend $3000 anyway, you might as well get $500 for your trouble right?
- Get a Free Credit Score and Reduce Your Debt - Credit Sesame will give you a free credit score from Experian that is commercially available to lenders. This is important because it allows Credit Sesame to suggest ways that you can reduce your debt.
- Learn How to Improve Your Credit Score - Credit Karma will give you a free credit score based from TransUnion's credit report. Unlike the one from Credit Sesame, it is "unofficial" and not used by lenders. Credit Karma has a credit simulator that allows you to test how various credit events (getting a credit card, paying off a mortgage, etc.) will effect your credit.
Decimate Your Debt
Not everyone has debt, but if you do, here are some helpful resources:
- Reduce the Interest on Your Credit Card Debt - Credit cards can carry a high interest rate. If you have credit card debt, look into getting a peer-to-peer loan from Lending Club and using that money to pay off credit card debt.
- Get a Debt Reduction Plan - The people from SavvyMoney have put together a service that promises to help pay off debt faster. My only debt is my mortgage, so I haven't signed up or tested it, but it looks reputable. (You'll be able to sign up in five minutes, but creating a plan will require a more time and effort).