Sometimes when you're working the ol' 9 to 5, it feels like you're just working for the weekend. So, holy Toledo, when that payday comes you're going to make the most if it! Before you order a round for you and your friends, take a step back and think: Are there better things I could be doing with my paycheque?
The answer is a resounding YES!
If you're working your butt off, then isn't it time to make your money work just as hard? Without further delay, let's dive right into how to use your next paycheque to have Future You tipping the hat right back at you.
Investing seems complicated — but you really don't have to be a finance major to do it! The same technology that has given us Kimojis can now make investing that much easier. Apps such as Stash allow you to invest with automatic deductions from your paycheque every two weeks, and all it takes is setting it up on the phone you carry everywhere with you.
You won't miss the $5 or $20 from your account, and you'll immediately begin steadily building your net worth. You can choose individual stocks in companies that you think are important and that align with your own values. Want to invest in space travel or saving the ocean? Find a company whose goals align with yours and you'll not only be growing your money but using it to make the future happen. Plus, Stash is offering a great $5 bonus if you're just starting to use the app. That's 5 reasons right there to start saving!
2. Open a high-interest (high-yield) checking account
If you're like most people, you have a checking account for your paycheques and expenses and that's about it. This is a bit of an issue because none of your money is collecting any interest — no better than stuffing it under your mattress. If you put your money in a high-interest (high-yield) checking account, it could earn you more interest than a high-interest savings account! This interest rate is called the "annual percentage yield," or APY, and this is what you want to be comparing when looking for your new account. Lots of physical and online banks are now offering great interest rates, especially for new customers.
In Canada, Tangerine and PC Financial are good options, as well as credit unions. In the U.S., smaller banks, community banks, and credit unions all tend to offer much higher interest rates than megabanks. These smaller banks are federally insured by FDIC so your money is just as safe with them.
Much like when you're shopping for a cell phone plan, there are lots of options out there for high-interest checking accounts. Do some window shopping and compare accounts online. It's your money so you'd better get the most out of it!
If you're getting roughly 1% annual interest on the account and unlimited transactions, you're doing well. We've seen some banks offer a crazy high interest rate of 4%; however, they allow fewer transactions.
3. Keep closer tabs on your spending habits
We all love to treat ourselves occasionally, but when you're looking to get the most out of your paycheque, keeping close tabs on your spending habits is the way to go. A daily Starbucks habit can add up to $30 per week, which works out to $120 per month, which further multiplies to $1,560 per year. That's a whole lot of gold stars that could have gone into your savings account instead!
There are many amazing apps that will help you track your spending and simplify your approach to saving.
If apps aren't for you, spend thirty minutes at the end of each month with your bank statement and a spreadsheet. Your bank's website may even have a feature that allows you to export your bank statement as a xls or csv file. Categorize, sort, sum and compute each category as a percentage of your total spend.
Once you train your wallet and your brain on where (or where not) to spend your money, you'll be enjoying a little (or a lot of) extra at the end of each month.
4. Maintain your credit score
Like a leprechaun, your credit score can seem like little more than a magical creature that has the power to either make you rich or kill you (see the '93 film for a disturbingly good time).
In fact, your credit score is simply a number that allows lenders to know the risk they take to lend you money, whether that be for a mobile phone or a credit card or a car or a house.
At present, you might not care whether you qualify for a mortage, but Future You will be upset with Present You if you don't qualify for the mortage you're after.
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your credit score as high as possible is to pay off your credit card every month. Companies like Credit Karma will allow you to check your score for free. Experian offers a free report and a comprehensive FICO credit report for $1.
5. Get rebate apps. Every single one of them.
When it comes to rebates, don't get stuck thinking about “Extreme Couponing.” The online realm allows anyone with a smartphone to take advantage of amazing rebates using a simple picture of a receipt. You could be saving thousands of dollars every year, and all it takes is being in-the-know. Companies such as Ebates, Ibotta, Paribus and My Points offer you thousands of deals and money back coupons just for everyday shopping.
Money doesn't grow on trees — it grows as a result of smart decision-making.
Smart money moves don't have to be huge to make a big impact over time. Money gained in the form of cash back, coupons, and high interest rates are exactly what they sound like: free money. We would be crazy to pass that up! So, the next time you get a paycheque, do something smart with it! Put your money to work.