Fiscal Health Hour – Spend One Hour Improving Your Financial Life

Earlier this week a friend forwarded me the popular New York Times article by Ron Lieber where he outlined a 10-12 hour day he spent improving his financial life.  10-12 hours is a big time commitment for all of us busy young folks, but the message he sent to us should not be lost.

In the spirit of Lieber’s “Fiscal Health Day” I will give you some examples of how to save money and how to earn more by spending only ONE hour thinking about your financial health.  Take your lunch break today or tomorrow and focus on these few things.

Time is ticking, so let’s go!

For the Just Getting Started:

  • Set up a High Yield Savings Account. I know a lot of friends that have been meaning to do this, but just never seem to get around it.  I wrote about setting up one of these accounts here.  It takes almost no time to set one of these accounts up.  If you go with ING Direct (where I am set up) send me a comment and I can send you a referral to net you an extra $25 bonus (the $10 bonus that I receive will be donated to a charity of your choice).  This should take no more than 15 minutes.
  • Head on over toBillShrink and let them optimize your life (credit cards, cell phone bill, etc.).  This service does the hard work for you.  You will be amazed at the kinds of savings you can find on this site.  It won’t take you anywhere near 30 minutes to take advantage of their free service, but you may enjoy their site and want to stick around.  Its also worth checking out their blog titled “Shrinkage is Good”.
  • While you have 15 minutes left in the Fiscal Health Hour, head on over to Vanguard and open up a Roth IRA.  I have outlined the benefits of opening a Roth IRA at a young age here, and since you have some extra time today, there is no excuse not to open yours up and start investing for your future.

For the Fiscally Healthy Looking For a Bit More Savings

  • If you are already fiscally healthy, I still have a way for you to spend your hour, however it won’t be as fun for you as it was for the “just getting started” people.  You need to call up Comcast (or whomever your cable provider is), and sit on hold until you get to someone in the Billing department and negotiate! Tell them, “My plan is just too expensive, I don’t know if I can afford it being this high, and XYZ company is coming into the area with promotions on internet, television, etc.  I would hate to have to cancel my subscription, is there anything you can do for me?”
    • It is likely that you will get forwarded to their retention department immediately.  They will work to knock your plan down $20 or more a month, saving you money.  Unfortunately, this may take a full hour to accomplish.  Don’t get frustrated; if it costs an hour of your time to save over a few hundred dollars a year, it was well worth it, right?

Spending just ONE hour doing each of these tasks will pay great dividends in your future.   Think of how much better you will feel once you are fiscally healthy!

Please also take a look at Ron Lieber’s mini-documentary on his Fiscal Health Day.

If you liked this article, please leave a comment and tell me how these methods worked for you.

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