Fifteen 5-Minute Tasks to Improve Your Finances

Most of us complain about not having enough time in the day to get to everything. Often, important financial considerations are left undone because they seem distant and unimportant.

The issue is not always a lack of time. Sometimes, it’s simply not having the momentum to get started. There are simple tasks we can accomplish in a very short period of time that have an enormous impact.

Here are 15 examples of such tasks. Each can be easily done in five minutes or less. Each is full of density and richness, providing valuable information or accomplishing a long-overdue item.

Some of these may seem like they should take longer. On the contrary – I encourage you to keep to a short deadline. Time pressure often brings out priorities in our life like nothing else can.

Fifteen Tasks Under Five Minutes

  1. Draw a financial flow chart, detailing how your accounts are connected and how money flows through your system. Are there inefficiencies or extra accounts, or are additional accounts needed?
  2. Write down one financial goal you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months. What are the first four tasks you need to complete to make headway on your goal? Commit to doing them as soon as possible.
  3. Think of what you value and what causes you’d like to support. Find potential charities by searching the web, or if you have one in mind, go directly to their site. Bookmark them for later research.
  4. Visualize your ideal financial life. What does financial freedom mean to you? In your mind’s eye, experience how that makes you feel – relieved, empowered, safe? Consider what it will take to get there.
  5. Find your latest insurance paperwork – car, homeowners, life, etc. Quickly evaluate if the coverages still seem correct. If you feel something’s off, make an appointment with yourself to review it in detail.
  6. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account and automatic debits for a few of your bills. You’ll have the peace of mind of not worrying about late payments and save time, too.
  7. Pull out or download your latest account statements. Review them for strange fees, account terms changes, spending trends, interest rates on savings and credit accounts, and anything else out of ordinary.
  8. Determine what it would be like to live on 75% of your income. How about 50%? Be quick and generalize. What would your priorities become, and how would your life change as a result? What would you cut?
  9. Start a financial journal. Find an empty notebook or start a text file and keep notes about your money experiences – how you feel after buying something, reaching a money goal, or even failing. Write your first entry today.
  10. Set up a spreadsheet or sub-accounts to earmark savings for the various unexpected expenses you’re likely to encounter. Determine how much you can fund today for each purpose and do so.
  11. Request your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s the only place to get a free credit report without any strings attached, and it’s quick and easy to do. Review your report for anomalies.
  12. Close a bank account you haven’t used in a while to simplify your finances. Hopefully, you won’t be on hold for longer than five minutes. Online customer service chat is a good alternative.
  13. Think about quick things that will save money around your house – replace your A/C filter, change out light bulbs to fluorescents, or turn up the thermostat by a few degrees.
  14. Take out the contents of your wallet and determine what you really need to have. Carrying around too much is not only annoying, but an identity or wallet thief’s dream.
  15. Find a new personal finance blog or website you’ve never visited, and read a few posts. Consider my list of links for suggestions. Think about ways of implementing what you’ve learned.

The Challenge

I challenge you to set aside five minutes right now! Do it immediately after reading this post, or schedule it for this evening. Pick an item and just do it.

You may get more ideas, it may take longer than expected, you might get frustrated, or…it may just be a very fulfilling experience. You won’t know until you try it!

Photo by laffy4k

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6 thoughts on “Fifteen 5-Minute Tasks to Improve Your Finances

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  3. My wallet is currently the size of a brick, I think that cleaning it out is an excellent idea. There are certainly a lot of things we can do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that will affect our financial outcome more than we think. This list is a great place to start, although I don’t know how many people can actually find their most recent insurance statement in under 5 minutes.

    1. I guess having them online helps. I can download mine in the time it takes to log in. But you’re absolutely right – for some things, I would spend hours sorting through papers.

      My wallet used to be a brick, too. I didn’t even realize how uncomfortable it was to sit on until I emptied it out!

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