Only Have 15 Minutes? Here’s What You Can Do to Burn the Fat Off Your Finances

by Jessica Sommerfield · 5 comments

stopwatchStudies show you can get an effective workout in half the time by increasing the intensity: a 10-minute high-intensity circuit can potentially burn as many calories as a slow-paced 30-minute workout. As it turns out, we can apply this concept to finances as well. Few of us have hours to spend on money management (or working out), but we might have 15 minutes. What can you do to streamline and burn the fat off your financial physique in that short amount of time? Here are some ideas.

  • Automate your bills

Setting up automatic payments (and reminders) through your bank or services like Mint Bills doesn’t take much time. You will end up saving time by not needing to manually pay bills. You will also waste less money on late fees every month.

  • Automate your savings

It only takes a few minutes to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a high-yield savings account or other investment portfolios you already have, but it can make the difference in gaining serious ground on your debt repayment, short-term savings, or retirement funding goals.

  • Consolidate your financial accounts

Most people have multiple banks, investments, credit cards, and savings accounts. Personal Capital and similar services bring all your accounts and cards into one slim, organized space. Many links directly to your accounts for easy management as well.

  • Consolidate your loyalty cards

Slim down your wallet and never miss out on a discount by loading all your loyalty cards into your phone — Android Pay, Apple Pay’s Wallet, and Samsung Pay all make it easier to shop lighter and still save big (be sure to set a security passcode).

  • Ditch paper receipts

Eliminate even more paper clutter with apps like Shoeboxed, Certify, and OneReceipt that enable you to scan, store, categorize and take action with your receipts (such as requesting reimbursement).

  • Evaluate your cell phone plan

I’ve used Ting as a service provider to save our family a ton of money over the years. I’ve recently switched to Mint Mobile and it’s even cheaper. I’m often surprised that this isn’t a more common tactic because I’ve already saved a few thousand dollars over the past few years. Are you still with Verizon or AT&T? Why would you throw money away?

  • Track your subscriptions

One downside of automatic payment options is that it’s easier to lose sight of monthly services you don’t use or want anymore. Take a few minutes to install an app like Rocket Money that will track them for you, inform you of rate hikes or additional fees, and make cancellations as easy as one click.

  • Estimate and compare your energy usage

Just a few minutes of filling out your information at the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver tool can help you get ahead of the home heating season. The service calculates and compares your overall energy usage and then recommends specific energy (and money-saving) upgrades.

  • Check your credit report and score

Your credit report contains clues about your financial fitness, and some of it can be embarrassing — especially if you weren’t aware of it. Taking a few minutes to request a free credit report from a reputable service can mean the difference between fixing inaccurate information and reacting to those embarrassing mistakes. Getting your credit score isn’t free, but it’s also quick and worth checking.

None of these simple tasks should take more than 15 minutes, but all of them can improve your financial fitness by streamlining your money management and burning wasteful spending from your lifestyle.

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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  • Beau W. says:

    How does Rocket Money work? I don’t need my bills reduced in any way. So what’s the catch? Is it a good service any opinion on the app? I’m curious.

    • says:

      I hear good things. Apparently, they will look for ways to get you sign up bonuses or ask for discounts on your behalf and take a cut if they are able to find you savings. They charge a subscription fee and I guess the catch is that they might get a cut if they re-book you into the same service (don’t quote me on this, as I’m just guessing that it MIGHT be the case). Either way, I don’t think it hurts the consumer.

      Also, I heard that in some areas, they will ask the provider for outage fee credits automatically for you. For example, many internet providers offer service credits when they are down but no one really knows about them (or is willing to call them to take advantage). Rocket Money will do this for you automatically.

      It seems like a good service. You can always try it out, pay monthly and then stop the subscription after a month. If you use it that way I don’t see much downside.

  • Joseph says:

    Automation is the name of the game. It literally takes 10 minutes and removes the stress of having to individually review and charge each transaction every month.

  • Latoya says:

    I love automating my savings and Bill payments. makes life much easier this way. And credit monitoring eases the chore of manually requesting a credit report each year too.

    • David @ says:

      I love credit monitoring, and it’s gotten even better because more and more institutions are offering the service for free.

      Financial innovation and competition really is awesome!

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