6 ways you can start improving your finances today

The mind-money connection

These actions can help give your financial confidence an immediate boost—and build momentum for even bigger wins down the road.

Small actions can have a big positive impact on your current financial situation. Here are some tips and exercises that can help you make a difference now—while helping you find more happiness over time.

Tip #1: Set a tiny goal (or two).

Taking a complex challenge—like changing a money habit—and approaching it one step at a time can help keep you motivated and moving forward. What are one or two small financial wins you want to accomplish?

Here are some ideas: 

  • Pay off your smallest debt.
  • Cut one small, unnecessary expense or service.
  • Check your credit score and credit report.
  • Set up automatic alerts and transfers for your accounts.
  • Track your expenses for one week.

Tip #2: Review your automatic spending.

Autopay can help make life a little easier, giving you one less thing to think about. Following these steps now and on a regular basis can help you use autopay with intention.

Step 1: Gather your bank account and credit card statements.

Step 2: Highlight, circle, or list every autopay charge, service, or subscription.

Step 3: For each, ask yourself: 

— Do I use this regularly?

— Does it fit into my budget?

— Does this bring me joy? 

— Did I even know I had this? 

Step 4: If you answer “no” to any question, commit to pausing, canceling, or finding a less expensive alternative to the service. 

Tip #3: Challenge your money beliefs.

Think about your earliest memories involving money. These memories—whether they were positive, negative, or some combination—can have subconscious impacts on your current relationship with money. Here’s an exercise to make sure your money beliefs are helping you build financial confidence.

  • Identify beliefs that may influence your financial behavior for the worse, such as:
    —“Money makes me anxious.”
    —“I’m not good with money.”
  • Ask yourself whether these ideas are serving you and your finances.
  • Replace those negative thoughts with positive—and true—ideas that can lead to better habits. For example:
    —“Money can help create a better life.”
    —“I can grow my financial knowledge.”

Tip #4: Follow your money.

Knowing where your money is going is key to deciding where you want your money to be going. If you make tracking your spending a regular habit, building a budget could become much easier. If you’re new to this, you don’t have to jump into the deep end. Get started with these three steps.

Step 1: Choose a method to track every time you spend money, such as a digital worksheet, an app, or even pen and paper.

Step 2: Create categories to group your expenses: groceries, car payments, entertainment, and so on. Think about how much you would like to spend in each category.

Step 3: After a few days, review your spending. Any surprises? If you feel you’re overspending in any category, look for opportunities to save.

Tip #5: Map out your next career move.

When you think about a career that checks all the right boxes, what does that look like? Maybe you’re already there—or maybe you’re still looking for a job that aligns with your strengths and values and gives you the salary you want. While working on your career can be a long-term process, here are a few ways you can start mapping out a path to get where you want to be. 

  • Look up job descriptions and salaries.
    Use online searches and websites to find details on jobs you’re interested in. This can motivate your next move and help you prepare for future negotiations.
  • Connect with people who can help.
    Consider working with a free or low-cost career counselor. Start conversations with professionals and look to establish a relationship with a mentor in your desired field.
  • Set mini-milestones for your career journey.
    Identify a couple short-term goals to keep you moving, like attending a networking event or starting a class for a new skill or certification.

Tip #6: First reflect, then think about what’s next.

Acknowledging your progress can help you think of your next goal—or maybe decide to revisit a few. Take a moment to reflect while also getting inspiration for what’s next. 

Here are a few resources to consider exploring next:

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, or mental health advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, or mental health professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.