It’s 2010! Get Off Your Butt and Do Something Quick and Easy to Improve Your Finances!

by Darwin on January 5, 2010

Rather than write another long post on New Year’s Resolutions, how great my last year was and “yeah! pump it up in 2010”, here are 6 simple steps you can take in under and hour each to dramatically improve your financial situation.  If you haven’t already completed/attempted these, why not make today the day?

  • Get Your Credit Score – Free. The benefits of having a strong credit score are enormous – from lower mortgage and credit card rates to ensuring you’re not booted during your next employer screening (low credit scores are viewed as a potential threat of corporate theft).  You never know when you’re going to need it and as I highlighted here you can get your real FICO score for free within minutes.  Knowing where you stand is the first step!
  • Substantially Reduce your Utility Costs – In this step-by-step chat session with Comcast, you can see the tactics and talking points I utilized to reduce my cable/phone/internet bill by 44% (over $1,000 per year!!!).  You can do the same – with your sanitation company or your landlord or whoever.  All it takes is some competition and some effort.
  • Optimize Your Savings Accounts – By idly sitting by earning 0.05% in a savings account, you’re leaving valuable money on the table.  Why not spend a few minutes to at least establish an account with the best in class online savings companies to ensure you’re optimizing your interest payments?
  • Credit Card Rewards – The tally’s in and last year, we received a total of $810 in cash reward credit cards. By simply charging everything and paying it off at the end of the month with the best cards, it’s tax-free income for no effort.  If you carry a balance, this shouldn’t be your priority, but rather, you should be focusing on a balance transfer card offering 0% Transfers like SlateSM from Chase, or browse a full list of balance transfer credit cards, but keep this in mind for tackling the next phase of financial success once you’re credit card debt-free.
  • Dramatically Reduce Trading Costs – Aside from relying on index funds and ETFs instead of actively managed mutual funds, for the active trading I do, I rely on low-cost online brokers.  This saves hundreds per year in useless commissions for the same exact service.  If you feel you need the tools and existing positions in your current high cost account, just open a new one for future trades.  Either way, you’ll notice a difference immediately!  This stock options post includes reviews of the best deals and commissions online and there’s also a $100 signup bonus from OptionsXpress ongoing now.  $100 today for simply signing up and starting!
  • Reduce Your Energy Costs – With some simple actions, you can easily save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year by either a) employing energy saving tips b) taking advantage of new government programs like Cash for Caulkers and Cash for Appliances c) hedging your energy prices yourself and d) Saving Money with Gas Efficiency Auto moves.

I could list 20, but then you might do zero.  These are quick wins – simple and high impact.

Which of these did you do today?  Come back and let us know and tell us your estimated savings!

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January 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm


1 Craig January 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

I have just started using a rewards credit card from Amex. Figure if I use and pay in full each month anyways, might as well get some points from it at least.

2 pennystocks January 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Similar to craigs response, last year i stepped up and began using an amex rewards card, I was using my debit card and never had a bill. So now I pay off amex monthly and have accumulated about 1200 cash for my next trip.

3 BadBoysDriveAudi January 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I have chosen to retain my current mileage awards card rather than switch to a monetary based rewards program. Each year, I evaluate the existing deals and compare it to the price of a round trip ticket. My existing card always comes out ahead in terms of represented dollars per ticket vs what I’d receive as a cash back reward.

No matter what is spent, I pay off the card at the end of the month. No exceptions!

4 Earn Cash Now May 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I also have a few Amex cards and they are great if you actually pay them off each and every week. But if you don’t pay them off you will be in for a big surprise.

5 شات April 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm

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