BUSINESS

Our Daily Guide To The More Money, Less Stress Challenge

All month long, we'll be here to demystify your financial life.

Our More Money, Less Stress Challenge is in full swing and we’re on a journey to improve our relationship with money. Each day we’re sending out quick challenges, tips and hacks to help demystify your financial life and break down everything you need to know about money.

In case you’ve missed any of the daily newsletters or challenges, we’ve listed them all here for quick and easy reference.

Still want to sign up? Do it here!

Day 1

What to do: Face your credit score. Use a site like annualcreditreport.com to look up your score (the site is government-sanctioned and you're entitled by law to one free credit report every year) and learn what you can do to bolster yours.

Day 2

What to do: Review the ATM fees you’ve been paying over the past year. Set some goals to get those numbers down!

Day 3

What to do: Reevaluate your student loan repayment plan. If an income-based payment plan is right for you, get in touch with your loan provider and head over to the Education Department’s website to estimate what your payments will be based on your financial situation.

Day 4

What to do: Review your paperwork and determine whether you need a professional to do your taxes. If you’ve had any big changes in your life — like starting a business or getting married — you might want to consider hiring someone.

Day 5

What to do: Learn what your money personality is! Are you a hoarder, an avoider or a spender? It's important to face up to your habits so you can start making real changes.

Day 6

What to do: Get acquainted with your flex spending account, or FSA. In addition to paying for prescriptions and copays, some FSAs will even cover mass transit and child care costs, so you could be saving thousands of dollars a year! 

Day 7

What to do: Develop smarter shopping habits. Don't reach for that pre-washed salad and buy your own lettuce instead. Ask for a rain check for sale items at the grocery store.

Day 8

What to do: Take a hard look at your rent. Should you find a cheaper apartment and put that extra money toward your savings instead? Conventional wisdom recommends spending no more than 30 percent of your income on rent; use that as a starting point and figure out what works best for you.

Day 9

What to do: Start an emergency fund for yourself if you don't have one. Don't make only minimum payments on your credit card and don't let yourself fall behind on bills. Set aside money each month so you build up enough to live half a year without anyone’s help.

Day 10

What to do: Check your 401(k). Are you increasing your contribution every year? Are you maximizing it to get a dollar match from your company, if it's offered? (It’s free money after all!) 

Day 11

What to do: Set aside time to have some important conversations about money with the different people in your life: your partner, your friends, your financial advisor and even your boss

Day 12

What to do: Reflect on how fulfilled you are by your purchases. Are those impulse buys are truly making you happy, or are they just short-term fixes for something else you’re looking for? The more your purchases match your personality, the happier you’ll be.

Day 13

What to do: Start planning what could be the cheapest and best trip of your life. Check out our tip son how to snag the cheapest plane tickets, book a multi-city trip, and get the most out of travel rewards cards.

Day 14

What to do: When you're going out with friends who make more than you, be honest about what you're comfortable spending. It'll help make your friendship stronger — and you won't feel like you've overstretched your budget.

Day 15

What to do: Understand where your taxes go. You've got until the 18th to file your taxes!

Important reading: Here's Where Your Taxes Go

Day 16

What to do: Read up on how travel can do wonders for your mood and your productivity at work. Hunt around for cheap trips — it's a great way to use that tax refund!

Day 17

What to do: Stop over paying for basic necessities like toilet paper and trash bags. Know when you should be buying in bulk, and plan your purchases ahead to save money.

Day 18

What to do: Learn how to be smart about investing. You don't need to make bank to do it, and there are many cost-effective ways to get the most out of the money you're able to put down.

Day 19

What to do: Determine what to prioritize if you want to buy a home. Do you need to boost your credit score? Do you have enough for a down payment? That dream home doesn't have to be a dream anymore.

Day 20

What to do: Try a spending fast over the weekend, during which you only buy the things you really need and build up savings to free yourself from debt and loans. Once you're comfortable, extend to a month-long or even year-long fast!

Day 21

What to do: There are times when it's smarter to not use the plastic. Learn when to use a credit card and when you should opt for cash instead.

Day 22

What to do: Stop burning money with your smartphone. Figure out when to turn on WiFi, which apps are sucking up your data and how you can reduce your phone bill.

Day 23

What to do: Pull up your bank statements and check that you can account for every purchase and transaction. Keep an eye out for any activity that you don't recognize. 

Day 24

What to do: Stop paying those pesky fees on Venmo, or another payment app. That means linking the app to a debit card or your bank account, rather than a credit card.

Day 25

What to do: Start a money diary or download a money tracker app. Take note of your spending habits over the next few weeks and decide which ones have got to go!

Day 26

What to do: Calculate what your bar tabs add up to. Are you spending too much every month on partying?

Day 27

What to do: Identify the aspects of your finances that are making you stressed. See if there are programs from your employer or your bank that could help alleviate some of those burdens.

Day 28

What to do: Open the bathroom cabinet and calculate how much you and your partner are each spending each month. If there’s a big difference, consider balancing costs out in another aspect of your shared life, like groceries.

Day 29

What to do: Set a target for how much you want to save, and increase it next month. Saving doesn't have to be a chore!

Important reading: 11 Easy Ways To Save Money

Day 30

What to do: Understand where your money is really going, especially when it comes to your major expenses. Budgeting can help knock off $400 from your balance, but the biggest strains on your wallet are things like housing, college and health care. Make sure you've got those covered!

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
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