5 Ways to Up Your Money Game in 2018

This article was developed as part of Till’s partnership with EVERFI, Inc.

It’s time for a mid-year check-in on new year resolutions for self-improvement. It’s never too late to prioritize your financial wellness or re-calibrate goals you set in January.

Ready to up your finances? Read on.

  1. Make a Budget and Stick to it. Budgeting is one of most effective ways to manage your money. Creating and monitoring a budget allows you to track your expenses, adapt to changes, and achieve your financial milestones. Budgeting can also help you save for emergencies and plan for the long run – including retirement.

Use an online budget building tool to break your budget down into simple, easy steps and get started: Click Here

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2. Build Your Emergency Savings. Unexpected expenses happen more often than we like to think. According to a 2018 Bankrate study, less than half of Americans are not financially prepared to cover the expenses that come with emergencies, such as illness, job loss, or even home and auto repairs.

Get more information on the immediate steps you can take this year to start and grow your savings: Learn More

 

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3. Plan for Your Retirement Now. Less than half of Americans take the steps needed to set themselves up for a secure retirement. While saving for the future is easy to put off in favor of more immediate needs, the earlier you start, the more opportunity you’ll have to grow your savings over time.

There’s no better time than now to start planning for retirement. Learn about options, like IRAs and 401(k) plans, with our free retirement education: Retirement 101
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  1. Get Ahead of Your Taxes. Taxes are confusing, and many people get bogged down by complex terms and lengthy paperwork. However, doing your taxes doesn’t need to be a source of anxiety. In fact, getting ahead of your taxes can reap many benefits, including lowering stress and having early access to a refund for year-long planning.

Make filing your taxes a breeze with tips from our 5 minute interactive learning module: Click Here
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5. Take Control of Your Credit. Your credit score can have significant impacts on your financial security and flexibility. Yet, many people have never had the opportunity to learn what a credit score is, what factors impact a credit score, and what actions they can take to make sure their score is healthy.

Take a few minutes to understand the factors that impact your credit score and you’ll be well on your way to building a more secure financial future: Take Control

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No matter the time of year, do a quick check of your financial health and progress towards goals and make adjustments as needed.

Registered users can access our entire library of financial education topics through the online dashboard at www.HelloTill.com.

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While You’re Away: Do’s and Don’ts for Home Security

It’s that time of year again; summer vacations and long weekends cannot come soon enough for most people. Before you pack your bags and leave your home, follow these safety tips to prevent break-ins or other issues when you’re gone.

 

  1. Avoid posting photos or check-ins on social media

    Although it’s tempting to share your latest status and induce FOMO on your friends, wait until you’re back home before telling the world that you and your entire family are 500 miles away.

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  2. Close blinds and curtains

    Deter would-be burglars by making it difficult to see inside your house. If they aren’t sure whether someone is home or not, the chances of breaking in greatly diminish.

  3. Turn on lights or use timers

    Plug-in timers are by far the best option, since they can be set to “random” on a time schedule. If you don’t have a timer, leave on a few small interior lights and perhaps one exterior.

  4. Leave on a radio or TV

    Choose your favorite channel and leave it on a medium-level volume.

  5. Ask a friend or neighbor to check in

    Find a trusted friend to check on your house or grab your mail while you’re gone. If you get newspapers delivered it’s a good idea to get them picked up rather than piling on the driveway like a neon “No One Is Home” sign.

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  6. Do a final walk before leaving

    Ensure everything is unplugged, the stove is off, and consider turning up your thermostat a bit to save energy and money!

Unfortunately break-ins happen everywhere, but following these tips will help make your home as safe as possible while you’re away vacationing.

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Real Talk: You Need Renter’s Insurance

Thinking of skipping or canceling renter’s insurance in order to save money? Think again!

Renter’s insurance is the #1 most important coverage for anyone who is not already covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Let’s say it again for the folks in the back: If you do not own your current living space, you need renter’s insurance.

“What’s the big deal?”

Unless you personally have homeowner’s insurance or are legally married (not just engaged) to someone with homeowner’s insurance, your personal items are not covered by an insurance policy. Meaning, if there is a flood, fire, tornado, accident, or Act of God of any kind, your items are gone forever and you’ll pay out of pocket to replace them.

Your landlord’s insurance policy only covers the actual building and any appliances/features owned by the landlord in your rental space.

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“Doesn’t it cost a lot?”

No. The average policy is around $15 per month ($180 per year), and now there are new companies like Lemonade boasting rates as low as $5 per month. Even if you underestimate the value of ALL your personal belongings in your living space, the cost is no comparison (Think: Computer, phone, clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, etc.).

Your car insurance company usually also has renter’s insurance, which can help you save money by bundling policies.

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“Doesn’t it just cover my stuff?”

No. If your policy includes liability coverage (and you should definitely have it), you are covered if a guest gets injured in your apartment or if you accidentally burn half of your kitchen down attempting your own cooking show. Your out-of-pocket costs can escalate quickly if you have to repay any medical bills, legal expenses, and/or repair costs.

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Bite the bullet and get renter’s insurance now. Tree falls through your roof? Covered. Pipe bursts in the winter? Covered. Break-in? Covered.

Your future self and wallet with thank you!

5 Quick Home Fixes Anyone Can Do

Whether you’re an apartment renter, homeowner, or even living with family, there are a few basic maintenance tricks that everyone should know.

 

  1. Unclog hair in seconds

    No one wants to stand in a tub with slow-draining water or use a sink that won’t drain. Enter Zip It, your new secret weapon. For under $3, this handy single-use tool is more convenient than putting in a maintenance request and is available at Home Depot, Amazon, and other retailers. Simply push it down all the way, pull up, and throw away!

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  2. Reset a circuit breaker

    If your residence was built after 1960, chances are there’s a magical black box (electrical panel) that supplies power to appliances, lighting, and outlets. When you overload a circuit (say, plug in a hair dryer and straightener at the same time), the designated breaker “trips” and shuts off power to that section.

    Open the panel cover, look for one switch that is flipped off (usually different direction than the rest), and switch it back on. When in doubt, try switching each one on and off in turn until power is restored. If you don’t know the location of your electrical panel, be sure to ask your landlord.

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  3. Shut off water in an emergency

    A pipe bursts in the middle of the night or you find a leak in your kitchen coming from under the sink; what do you do? Waiting for a plumber or maintenance tech can leave your personal items in danger, so shut off the water supply quickly to minimize damage. If you’re in an apartment or the leak is limited to one area, shut off the water supply at the source.

    Locate the oval knob and turn until water shuts off. If there’s major leaking or a pipe burst, find the main water supply (usually in basement or crawl space) where the water comes in from the street line. The shut off valve will either look like a spigot knob or a lever. Just make sure to restore water once the repair has been done!

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  4. Change the AC filter

    Did you know replacing your AC filter monthly or quarterly improves the HVAC system function and cuts down energy bills? Locate your filter by looking behind the main cooling vent near the thermostat or in a slot in the furnace. Make sure the unit is off before you unscrew or remove the filter. Make sure your replacement is the same size/type (or better yet, take the old filter with you to the store).

    Slide your new filter into place, making sure to use the arrow on the filter for guidance. Set a reminder on your phone’s calendar to replace regularly according to manufacturer’s directions.

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  5. Reset the garbage disposal

    Garbage disposals also have their own automatic shut off function if it is clogged, runs for a long time, overheats, or breaks. If you flip the switch and do not hear anything, a reset may be needed. Make sure the disposal is set to “off” and locate the small red button on the disposal box under the sink. If the button pops right back out when pushed, wait 10 minutes and try again. If it stays in, turn the cold water back on in the sink and turn your switch to the “on” position.

    You can also try carefully removing any debris while the switch is set to the “off” position. If the disposal still doesn’t run, call your maintenance team or consider replacement.

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    Easy, quick repairs that can zap frustrations in minutes so you can get back to your life. What are your easy maintenance tips?