Wallet Hacks

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Finances Right Now

If you only have a few minutes to focus on your money, it doesn't make sense to start a two hour process. You won't finish, the work will be wasted, and you'll have to start over.

Instead, if you have 15 minutes, do a 15 minute job. There are plenty of those, even if you don't know about them.

Today, I'm going to share seven things you can do in just 15 minutes each that will have a marked impact on your finances.

Look for Your Missing Cash

There are millions of dollars sitting in state unclaimed property accounts. If you've ever moved, you may have left a deposit check behind. A bill may have been refunded. A tax return unclaimed.

Find out if you're owed some money by visiting MissingMoney.com – endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

You, or someone you care about, might be very happy you did!

Answer Some Surveys

Want a few extra bucks in your pocket? Rewards sites, especially those with paid surveys, offer the opportunity to earn a little cash in your downtime.

Swagbucks and MyPoints are the two stalwarts of the industry (and both owned by Prodege, with a A+ rating by the BBB). Both offer a $5 bonus for new signups.

Another good survey site is Ipsos i-Say USA, run by Ipsos. Ipsos is based out of Paris, France but does a lot of market research, you may have seen them mentioned during the Presidential election because they partner with Reuters to do a ton of surveys. They've been in business since 1975!

Here's our list of all the legit paid survey sites available.

Shop Through Cashback Sites

If you joined Swagbucks to do surveys, you can always use their shopping portal to earn points on the dollars you spend.

Otherwise, another popular site that you've probably heard of already is eBates. New users can get $10 when they join through our link and make $25 in qualifying purchases within 90 days. You'll also get the cashback from making those purchases, effectively double dipping with the bonus.

Slash Your Investment Fees

You can't predict what the stock market will do in the future (hopefully keep going up!) but you can check how much you're paying. High fees are the secret investment killer because they invisibly erode your investments. Sometimes they're unavoidable… sometimes you're simply overpaying.

Personal Capital is the tool I use to track my net worth but they have a free retirement fee analyzer that will tell you if you're overpaying.

Fees matter a lot!

Get Paid Hundreds to Open a Bank Account

The days of toasters and t-shirts are long gone. Banks are now willing to pay hundreds of dollars for new accounts – a prime example is Chase.

Chase runs promotional offers of hundreds of dollars throughout the year. The latest is $350 for a checking and a savings account, available for a limited time. You can get $200 for a Chase Total Checking Account plus $150 for a Chase Savings Account, read the terms and conditions to avoid the fees.

Before you open any account, check online to find the best offers available.

Cancel Your Useless Subscriptions Automatically

A few years ago, I collected all the subscriptions I was paying for and realized I was wasting a ton of money on things I no longer cared about. $10 here, $15 there, it added up. I just didn't have the energy to call up each of these places and cancel – that's when I discovered Trim.

Trim is a free app that will cancel all this stuff for you. Absolutely free. (if you use Comcast, they even have a Comcast bill negotiator that will haggle with them for you!)

Just sign up, link up your accounts so it can find the subscriptions, then cancel the ones you don't want. So easy.

Check Your Credit Reports

One of the most important numbers in your adult life is your credit score. That's all based on your credit reports, which are held at three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

By law, they must give you a copy each year. You can use my Waterfall Method or just request all three at once through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Fix any error you find immediately, no matter how trivial, because the fix can take a few weeks.

Don't wait until you need a loan to do this!