Financial literacy month: 30-day money challenge

Financial literacy month: 30-day money challenge

Almost everyone wants to get better with money, whether that means earning more, spending less, or building generational wealth. And with April marking the beginning of Financial Literacy Month, it’s a great time to take stock of your personal finances and develop a plan to improve them.

To help get you started, CNBC Make It compiled a 30-day money challenge, with simple, actionable tips you can follow every day of the month to boost your savings, tackle your debt, and get smarter with your money.

Day 1: Identify your money goals and values

As part of its National Financial Literacy Month efforts, CNBC will be featuring stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.

Day 2: Find an accountability buddy

Day 3: Open a high-yield savings account

If your savings are sitting in a traditional savings account, you probably aren’t earning much interest. You could bring in around 1,600% more in interest by switching to a high-yield account, which currently boast rates around 4%, compared with just 0.23% for traditional accounts. That’s the difference between earning $400 in interest per year versus $23.

Day 4: Start saving for a short-term goal

Day 5: Figure out how long it will take you to get out of debt

Day 6: Start building an emergency fund

Day 7: Calculate your credit utilization ratio

You may be unfamiliar with your credit utilization ratio, but it accounts for up to 30% of your credit score. This ratio represents how much of your available credit you’re using at any given time. The lower you can keep it, the better, because it shows lenders that you’re able to pay back what you owe in a timely manner.

To determine your own credit utilization ratio, add up the credit limits for all of your credit cards, then divide your monthly spending by that figure. If it’s higher than 30%, you may want to find ways to bring it down.

Day 8: Audit your subscriptions

Day 9: Automate your savings

Day 10: Evaluate your car insurance coverage

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Day 11: Check your credit score

Day 12: Make the most of your subscriptions

Day 13: Fund your health savings account

Day 14: Sign up for a personal finance newsletter

Day 15: Start investing

Day 16: Update your income with your credit card company

Day 17: Try reverse budgeting

Day 18: Put your tax refund to good use

Day 19: Take a step toward eliminating your debt

Day 20: Re-evaluate your prescriptions

You may be overpaying for your prescriptions, especially if you order through a trendy online marketplace. Take a few minutes to compare prices online and see if you’re getting a good deal. Free coupons at sites such as GoodRx and ScriptSave WellRx can help cut down costs.

It’s worth seeing how much the same prescription would cost through your doctor, or if they’re able to recommend a cheaper alternative.

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Day 21: Diversify your income streams

It’s never been easier to boost your income through part-time work. A number of side hustles draw on skills you already have, can be done remotely, and pay as much as $100 per hour.

You may be able to earn passive income by renting out property you already own or monetizing your social media.

Day 22: Tackle a financial task you’ve been avoiding

Day 23: Review your rewards credit cards

Day 24: Re-assess the funds you own

Day 25: Calculate your savings rate

Here's how to calculate how much you should be saving each month

Day 26: Score discounts on things you’re already buying

Day 27: Increase your 401(k) contribution

Day 28: Look into dividend stocks

Day 29: Create a ‘conscious spending plan’

It’s important to know where your money is going, but it can be tedious to track every penny. Instead, create a “conscious spending plan,” which focuses on four numbers, as recommended by Ramit Sethi, author of the New York Times bestseller “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.”

  1. Fixed costs, such as your rent or student loan payments
  2. Savings, including your emergency fund and money for vacations
  3. Investments, such as your 401(k) or Roth IRA contributions
  4. “Guilt-free spending,” such as ordering food or shopping

Day 30: Pick up a personal finance book

How I turned this cash-only savings hack into an $850,000 business