Picture yourself being richer next year. Go on, picture it. Form an image of yourself in your mind, and then add more money.
What would being richer mean to you? Maybe nicer clothes, a better car or home or simply less stress.
Let’s focus. What are some actions you can take right now to make yourself a little richer by next year?
We’ve got four tips for you to up your investment game, pad your savings and make sure you’re not overpaying. If you do these things, it’s almost impossible not to be richer by this time next year.
1. Launch Your Real Estate Empire With Only $500
Right from the get-go, you could be more aggressive and imaginative in your investment strategy.
The stock market can be a scary place. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and who knows when the whole thing might crash?
It would be nice to diversify and invest some of your money in real estate, but don’t you have to be wealthy to do that?
Now you can invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in commercial real estate — specifically, in apartment complexes that it owns in California and Texas.
Real estate can potentially earn you more money than the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. Diversyfund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, it has earned an annual return of 17% to 18%.
So you don’t need a fortune to invest in real estate. With $500, you can play with the big boys.
2. Surprise Yourself with an Extra $1,857 in Savings This Year
We could all use some more money in our savings account, right? How about an extra $1,857? Yeah, right, you’re saying. Where am I supposed to get that kind of money?
You might already have it.
Yep. An app called Digit finds money you didn’t even know you had — and automatically tucks it away into your savings.
Using Digit, personal finance editor Matt Wiley was able to save $1,857 in a year without even thinking about it.
“It feels weird saying I saved, because I really didn’t do anything,” he says.
Digit takes a look at your spending patterns and tells you exactly how much you can afford to put away. It knows when to save and when to slow down so your funds don’t get too low. Have rent due soon? It’ll go easy on you. Just got paid? Sweet, let’s tuck some of that away.
To start, download Digit and connect your checking account. From there, it’ll get to work. Your first 30 days are free, then it’s $5 a month. Not bad, considering how much it’ll help you save.
Now all you have to do is sit back, relax and watch that savings account grow.
3. Turn Those Crumpled Receipts Into Free Gift Cards
What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt — you’ll be well on your way to your first gift card.
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
4. Make Sure You’re Not Overpaying
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around certain expenses — like car insurance.
But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year. Most of us don’t do that, according to numerous studies, although who wouldn’t want to lower their own rates and pay less?
So, just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?
The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.
We talked to Artie Januario, who found new insurance through The Zebra and managed to knock off $30 a month — or $360 a year — from his premium.
So, go ahead: Make a few smart moves, and picture yourself richer next year.
You can see it, can’t you?
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at Codetic. He’s picturing himself richer next year.