Three Things to Do Right Now to Improve Your Finances

Hi! I’m Kathleen, and my corner of the internet is Frugal Portland. Thanks, Jenetta, for letting me write something!

improveDo you want to improve your finances? I think we all do. I mean, who doesn’t want a better handle on their money this year? I’d like to suggest 3 things you can do to improve your finances. That’s all, just 3. Follow these and I promise, this year will be better for your finances than last year!

1. Stop Using Your Credit Card (If You’re in Debt)
According to, Americans have over *100 million dollars* in credit card debt. Holy smokes, you guys! This is a crazy number, and if you’re one of those, make this the year you stop getting deeper into credit card debt. It’s okay if you can’t pay it all back this year, but if you carry a balance, just stop using those cards. Switch to debit.

2. Make Savings Automatic
The savings rate of the average American is abysmally low. Did you know that before the advent of the 30-year fixed mortgage in the 1950s, a family had to save up enough money to pay cash for a house if they wanted to fulfill the dream of home ownership? And now, we’re all so financed that we’re basically tied to our jobs. If you want to increase your savings, you’ll have to change your mindset. My household is saving 50% of our pre-tax earnings in 2014. You don’t have to save that much, but if you want to save anything, you’ll need to do it first, at the beginning of the month. The mentality that ends with, “and anything left at the end of the month goes to savings” will ensure that you do not end up saving enough.

You might also be interesting in these Money Saving posts by Frugal Living Mom:

frugal-living 20ways budget shoppera1b
15 Ways to Save
Money Every Day
20 Ways to Save
Up to $20,000 a Year
“Basic Steps for
Setting Up a Budget
What’s on Sale
This Month


3. Start Downsizing!
Did you know that the 80/20 rule applies to things at home, too? We use 20% of the things we own 80% of the time. The logic that follows is that there’s a fairly high percentage of things we own that *we never use*. Start with your closet. I recently wrote about how to start a minimalist wardrobe. There are great tips there, and once you start paring down your closet, you’ll find that the old “I have nothing to wear!” comment doesn’t apply since you’ll only keep the items you love.

That’s it. Do those 3 things, and you’ll improve your finances this year. No new debt, save more money, and get rid of some of your stuff. It’ll change you, for the better!

**About the author:** Kathleen O’Malley writes at Frugal Portland about living simply, increasing productivity, and saving money. Join the conversation by signing up for her newsletter or learn more here.

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  1. Richard Buse says

    Kathleen, these tips are great. Thanks for sharing them. Putting savings/investing on autopilot is crucial because we can all find reasons to spend that money otherwise. Also, downsizing not only saves money, but alleviates clutter and other problems associated with having too much stuff.

  2. Jen Tarrant says

    Thank you for these tips. I’m about ready to start downsizing everything but it is an overwhelming thought to me.. But… I’m going to do it!

  3. says

    thats great advice! We keep our credit cards out of our wallets most of the time and hidden in a drawer to stop the temptation of buying things we can’t immediately afford! Also, we just started something new with my paycheck: 50% to credit card and 50% to savings hope that works! His pays all the other bills. Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep working at it and using your tips as well :) xoxo, Sam

  4. Learning to Live w/ Less says

    I am totally overwhelmed financial and looking for solutions. Thanks for the suggestions!


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