Most of us pepper our bucket list with out-there ideas about experiences we want to have — from visiting the Galápagos Islands to starting a charity for foster kids. But no matter what’s on your list, almost every item has one thing in common: You need some cash to make it happen.
That’s why we propose you consider adding another category to your list this year — the “money bucket list.” Here are 19 items to check off throughout the year that can help make all those other dreams come true.
1. Open a Savings Plan Dedicated Exclusively to One Item
Are you hoping to take a summer rafting trip, buy an upgraded washer and dryer set or go through 2019 holiday season debt-free? Having a specific savings goal in mind can make it far easier to forgo the happy hour drinks.
2. Save $1,000 for Your Emergency Fund
Does that amount sound daunting? Breaking it down: It’s only $20 a week. Set aside that amount for unexpected expenses, like a car repair or medical bill.
3. Have a “Buy Nothing” Weekend
See how creative you can get and still have fun. Look online for free festivals (bring your own snacks!) or ride your bike to a park and have a picnic.
4. Downsize Your Splurges
It’s not healthy to give up every treat but see how you can maintain the idea while spending less money. If you usually get a monthly manicure and pedicure, skip the toes until it’s sandal weather. If live entertainment is your thing, check out local community productions and enjoy their more affordable admission.
5. Start a Side Hustle
Get paid for doing something you love anyway, whether it’s shopping for gifts or taking pictures. Advertise your services on your local Facebook or NextDoor page and on your own social media profiles.
6. Negotiate Your Salary
7. Sell Unused Items
8. Use Apps to Make Money
9. Pay off at Least One Outstanding Balance
Pick a small bill and vow to pay it off in full or allocate a certain percentage to a larger debt and watch it dwindle.
10. Make an Extra Payment on a Student Loan or Mortgage
Just for fun, find out how much you’ll be saving in interest over the life of the loan if you make an extra payment.
11. Check Your Credit Report to Make Sure There Are No Errors
The site Credit Karma offers free credit scores so you can see what creditors are seeing and dispute any errors.
12. Set Up Automatic Payments
Filling out the eforms can be onerous, but it will be worth it every month when you don’t have to write a check, make a bank transfer or worry that your payment will be late.
13. Research and Buy One Stock
Dabble in the stock market. Pick a company in a category that interests you — whether that’s fashion, ecofriendly products or restaurants — and track its trajectory for a year.
14. Increase Your Investment in Your 401(k)
One painless way to save more is to ask your human resources department to increase your investment in your 401(k) plan by an automatic 1% a month (you’ll never notice it!).
15. Research a New Investment Opportunity
16. Donate to a Cause You Care About
17. Start a Budget Notebook
Tracking your money means never again wondering where it has gone. Some people swear by the bullet journal trend that allows them to be creative while tracking goals and plans.
18. Set Aside “Fun” Money
Cut back on costly impromptu ATM visits by deciding how much cash you’re going to spend and keeping it in your wallet. When it’s gone, it’s gone!
19. Find One Area Where You Want to Cut Back
Lots of our spending is due to habit. Whether it’s that afternoon cookie or music subscription you don’t need, identify one small area and put the money you save in a jar. Use it for something more meaningful.
If you want to track your progress on your 2019 money bucket list, print out the PDF here and check it off as you accomplish each task. You can even add a few of your own bucket list items for the year.
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