The January 2010 issue of the Sound Mind Investing Newsletter discussed something called a “fiscal health day” (a term they borrowed from a Ron Lieber article in the New York Times). I thought the concept was such a great idea that I’d like to introduce it to you today.
Take a Day Off Work and Focus on Your Finances
Inactivity is costly. If you’re like most people, when you get your house insurance renewal notice, you quickly glace at the price and renew it. You renew it because you don’t have the time to search around for better prices. Most people have a good sense of what needs to be done to improve their finances but they simply cannot find the time.
The solution? Take a day off work.
Many financial tasks cannot be completed in the evening or on the weekend. By taking a day off work, you can contact people who may only be available at regular business hours.
Possible tasks to consider accomplishing on your day off:
- Dump your savings account with a puny interest rate and open a high yield savings account.
- Shop around for cheaper insurance: health, life, auto, house, and any other insurance. Be sure to do a little calculating to determine how much you could save by changing your deductible.
- Complete any important (but not pressing) financial tasks like making a will.
- Call credit card companies and ask them to reduce your credit card interest rates. Take time to develop and formulate a good plan to get out of credit card debt. Find or prepare a debt reduction plan.
- Apply for a cash back debit card.
- Get more organized with your finances by shopping around for and using a good personal finance software program.
- Review your budget, get caught up on your budget, or learn how to budget.
- Shop around for the best online broker. Be sure you’re getting the best price for your stock trades.
- Make energy efficient changes to your home and lifestyle.
- Shop at a second hand store instead of the local department store.
- Set up automatic payments for your bills to be sure you avoid late payments.
- Create a FLOP – so that your loved ones will have all the financial information in one place if you leave earth earlier than expected.
- Google it. Use the phrase “how to save money, and then fill in the blank on groceries, on gasoline, on kitchen expenses, on babies …”
- Sell stuff on Ebay. Look for junk laying around the house and list it on Ebay.
How Maximize Your Day Savings
Step #1: Take a spreadsheet and list all of the possible activities.
Step #2: List an estimated completion time beside each task.
Step #3: List an estimated dollar savings for each task.
Step #4: Divide the estimated time by the estimated dollar saving to get an hourly dollar saving potential. Organize your list according to the items that have the most potential for profit.
If you focus on tasks that can save a hundred or more dollars a year, you can save hundreds of dollars on your one day off.
What other activities would you suggest focusing on?
Photo by David Cesarino