Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start.
Those of you who grew up in the 80s playing the video game Contra (like I did) know that this was the ultimate cheat code. Rather than starting the game with a measly three lives, you started with thirty. Needless to say, it was a real game changer.
As you take a moment to reminisce on your video game playing days – and how long ago that was! – have you thought about the "cheat codes" available to you in your financial life?
(Note: What I'm calling "cheat codes" here won't magically fix all of your financial problems but they may help set you on a better financial path.)
Here are some of my favorites:
Use an online bank for your savings account.
If you’ve got your emergency fund parked in a traditional savings account, you’re probably earning very little interest. Check out some of the online bank savings accounts, like Ally and Capital One, that could offer a better interest rate on your emergency savings.
Lower your investment expenses by using low-cost index funds.
There are generally two ways to grow your investments – capture higher returns and/or pay less in fees – and only the latter is within your control. Depending on your investment goals and objectives, you may want to consider using low-cost index funds to help keep more of your money in your pocket.
Get your biggest expenses right.
Your biggest monthly expenses tend to include things like your mortgage, childcare, and car payments. Doing smaller things like negotiating your cable and internet bill or switching to a lower cost cell phone provider won’t make much of an impact if your big ticket items aren’t aligned with your family’s income. When you’re ready to get your cash flow right, start by looking at your biggest expenses. They are the secret to creating breathing room.
Now you know some of the "cheat codes" that could help you live a better financial life. But remember that meaningful change in your family’s well-being only happens if and when you take action.
Want help stacking the deck in your family’s favor? Ready to be held accountable to make it sure happens? Let’s talk.
Get blog posts like this one delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to receive my e-newsletter right here.