Here is a money saving checklist to help you identify where you can improve with your finances, where you are doing great, and keep you on track during your goal to financial freedom.
Check out each category below and reflect on your situation to see how you are doing.
I have started to build my emergency fund with my initial goal being $500.
I’m earning the best interest rate possible on this money by taking advantage of an online savings account.
I don’t tap my emergency fund for “non emergencies".
I have enough cash saved in a separate savings account to get me through six months of living expenses in the event I lost my income. (This may be difficult one for most people, but something you can build towards).
Credit Card Debt
I understand my card’s due dates and fees.
I pay my credit cards on time each month.
If in debt, I have tried to lower my interest rate either by calling my card issuer or transferring the balance.
I am not going into new credit card debt. I am not paying down my cards and just adding new debt each month.
If in debt, I know each of my interest rates for every card.
I pay off my new balance in full every month.
If in debt, I have a plan to pay off this credit card debt before putting money to other goals.
If not in debt, I take advantage of credit card rewards.
I understand how much student loan debt I have. (This is a tough reality, but one you should try to know).
I know the interest rate, term, payment, and owner of each of my student loans.
I have my student loans set to automatic payment each month so I don’t miss a payment, or I pay on time each month, making sure to not go past 30 days and have it reported on my credit report.
I have thought about and written down how much I want to save.
After I have setup my emergency fund and paid down my debt, I know that one thing I’m saving for next.
I contribute at least enough to my employer’s 401(k) or other retirement plan to take advantage of any matching.
If eligible, I contribute up to $5,000 to a Roth IRA.
I have a certain amount of savings on “auto pilot”. I transfer or direct deposit money automatically to a savings account each day, week or pay period.
My money is invested in a mix of stocks and bonds appropriate for my age and risk tolerance.
I understand the fees associated with all of my investments and am comfortable with them.
I am taking advantage of tax advantaged accounts (IRAs, 529s, etc. before investing in taxable accounts).
I do not have idle cash that can be invested.
I have decided on an investing strategy that I will stick to even when the markets are volatile.
I know what I spend my money on each month.
I don’t have any unused subscriptions that I could have money on but haven't canceled.
My monthly housing payment is less than 30% of my gross income.
I know what my car payment is.
If a homeowner, I have investigated refinancing at lower interest rates to save money in the long term.
I make lists and look for coupons to save money on routine shopping trips.
I plan big purchases and wait for sales to buy.
I know my current credit score, at least an idea of what it really is.
I have checked my credit reports at least once in the last year for accuracy.
I auto-pay or otherwise have a system for paying all monthly bills on time.
I have some credit cards open for building good credit, even if I don’t use them every month.
I regularly have open conversations about money with my partner. (This might be unrealistic for some, but something you can try to work towards, and at least are planning your financial future.)
My partner and I know each other’s net worth and credit scores.
My partner and I have joint financial goals.
I have a second stream of income or a plan for diversifying my income.
I’m actively learning or increasing my skills and value to my employer.
I’m actively looking for ways to find more ways to bring income to me.
I have changed my thoughts on money to only positive thoughts.
I believe I deserve money, success and wealth.