The weekend is a great time to relax, but also to find a moment to take care of your finances. Here are 8 ways you can improve your finances in just 5 minutes. Some of these are big ones, some are just small steps. But taking even the smallest step towards your financial goals can make a huge difference over time.
1. Start or refresh your budget
Having a budget is a crucial step in getting your financial life under control. There are multiple reasons for that:
– without a budget, you don’t know how much can you spend.
You walk down the street and you see a pair of shoes. These are no normal shoes, these are the best looking shoes you have ever seen. They cost “only” $200.
Can you afford it? You have the money, but how is it going to influence your financial situation. Are you still going to be on the best way towards your financial goals?
Without a budget, you can not really tell.
– without a budget, you don’t know where your money goes to and if it should be spent this way
A well-made budget is going to tell you in a few seconds how much have you planned for spending on groceries, how much on clothes and how much on entertainment.
Once you analyze your spending after the month’s end you will see how much did you spend in every category. Only then can you realize where is your money going to and if those amounts are reasonable.
Maybe you spend too much on entertainment this month?
Without a budget, you will never know.
2. Automate your finances
If it takes you a couple of hours per month to get your finances together, then you are probably doing it wrong.
If you have an emergency money, a budget, you are consistently saving money and you have your financial goals, you will probably want to automate your finances.
Why? The answer is simple – to save time.
If you know what kind of bills you are going to pay during the following months, there is no reason to spend more time than you need on managing those payments.
Log into your banking account and prepare your payments for a couple of months ahead. Just take a look once a week or once a month if everything is doing well.
That’s it, you just found more time to spend with your family, or to earn more money.
3. Negotiate your contracts
Most of my friends and colleagues forget about it. Some even say that it’s not appropriate.
I don’t care is it is nice or not. I do contact the companies which services I use to ask them if they could reduce the price.
No one is going to reduce your price if you don’t ask. Nothing will just happen, you have to make it happen.
I don’t like to pay for a service more than I have to and you shouldn’t either.
Take 5 min to make a list of companies you will contact next week and do try to negotiate the deals. Eventually, you will succeed.
4. Start a side hustle
Starting a side hustle may be really rewarding. Once you find something you like doing, you may spend a part of your weekend doing something that you enjoy and earn some money while doing that.
We live in a crazy 21st century where you can earn some additional money by:
– doing online surveys
– driving your car (for example Uber)
– blogging (see how I’m doing)
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If you start with Bluehost, you can get a domain name for FREE!
5. No-spend weekend
People tend to spend most of their money on weekends. Simply because they have time to go out to a shopping center and buy something.
A weekend can be the worst enemy of your budget!
Stay focused on your financial goals, try not to spend money on the weekend.
There are millions of ideas what to do during the weekend. You can go for a walk, talk with friends, or read a book.
To help you out I have prepared a list of 57 ideas of frugal activities for a no-spend weekend.
6. Make a money jar
This might sound funny, but if you just start out with saving money creating money jar might be the best thing you can do if automating your finances did not work for you.
Just look at the numbers: if you dedicate to put a single dollar every day aside you will have $30 after a month. It does not sound like much, but you have to start somewhere.
I think the biggest problem is to stay consistent and save regularly. That is the reason why saving one dollar every day may bring you much more value over time.
Saing money is something you have to train.
On the second month save $2 every day.
On the 3rd month save $3 every day.
Look how far you can be in a year time:
The sum of all the monthly saving: $2340!
You just have to be really consistent. Once you see that it’s working and you are saving money, you will probably go back to the 2nd point and automate your finance.
7. Find some gigs
Finding a gig might be the fastest way to earn some cash over the weekend. There is a whole variety of small jobs that you can find on the internet. A great free resource for finding a gig is Craigslist. Within 2 minutes you can find someone that needs your help and is willing to pay some money for it.
As this may improve your finances immediately, I would still try to think in a long term. Once you help someone out just go ahead and ask them if they need any more help. Maybe next weekend? Maybe they need someone more regularly? Keep your mind open, you may spot some business/job/gig opportunities.
8. Set up your financial goals, or check your progress
This is what I regularly do on the weekends. I just check my bank accounts to determine how much have I spent in the current month and I compare it with my budget.
This is a really simple activity that can give you the feeling how are you doing and it is crucial to achieving your financial goals.
In my case, this only takes 5 minutes but gives me so much information about my “saving performance”. Based on this info I can decide if I can afford to spend money during the rest of the weekend, or should I rather have a no-spend weekend.
If you don’t have any financial goals yet, you should define those. There is a simple reason for that – you will have more motivation to save money and live more frugally. For some, the goal is to save for their kids’ education, for some is their retirement, but some can even afford an early retirement!
If you don’t have any financial goals and don’t really know where to start, I’d recommend to build up an emergency fund first.
What do you do during weekends to improve your finances?