"Bikini Ready" for Summer—Exercises to Tone your Finances
March 24, 2010Posted by katydavissong |
Just like your body, your personal finances can be toned and shaped with some planning and steady work. In this guest article, Mill Valley mom and Certified Financial Planner™ Katy Song offers some workout tips to help you get your financial life in shape.
Okay, so I have never actually worn a bikini and probably won’t make it past wearing a tankini in this lifetime, which is fine with me. But I still continue to exercise and tone my body. Just because you feel like you may have no money these days does not mean that you can’t exercise to tone your family’s finances. Here are some simple toning exercises (for your money) that do not require a gym or personal trainer.
Focus on your larger muscle groups. By this I mean, take a look at your largest expenses and see how you can reduce them. For most people, this is your house, childcare, and food. Can you refinance to lower your monthly payment? Are there creative ways to lower your childcare expenses, like swapping with a fellow mom instead of paying a sitter? Is your pantry full of food you have never used or do you end up throwing away food that goes bad in your frig? Think creatively. By lowering your biggest expenses, you can make a significant impact on how much money goes out each month.
Do interval training. Getting your family’s finances in order is a big job. Break it into manageable pieces and dedicate an hour each week to getting on track.
For your first step, take a look at your current bank and investment accounts.
Interval 1: Look at the fees you are charged. In the age of free checking, make sure you don’t have a monthly service fee. These can be up to $20 a month, or $240 per year! If free checking isn’t an option, ask for the lowest fee possible or switch banks.
Interval 2: Check out what rates you earn on all accounts. Make sure you are earning at least 1% + interest on your savings account. This might mean that you transfer the funds from your local bank savings account to a high yield savings account available online. Check out www.bankrate.com for the best rates.
Interval 3: Update or add beneficiaries to all of your accounts. If you have a living trust, ensure that your accounts are properly titled.
Take a break to recuperate and recharge. Frugality is like exercise. If you don’t take a break every once and a while, you will likely pull a muscle or fall off the wagon and stop working out entirely. Decide on a special treat as a reward for your hard work, such as a picnic at the beach or dinner out. This way you will have incentive to stay on track, and by summer, your family finances will be in much better shape!
Finally, hire a personal trainer if you need professional assistance to get a workout that is customized for you. The longer you wait to get in shape, the harder it will be to get the bikini body you have always wanted.