Now that you got your first job, you are probably finding that even though you're making a lot more money than in college, the bills have also increased, canceling out the money you've earned. Here are some tricks I've learned that will help keep more of your money without changing your spending habits.
Open an Account with ING
Having an account with ING will help earn you little bits of money between the time it direct deposits into your account and when you spend it. ING has a good online interface for moving money between your checkings and savings accounts, and both accounts earn interest. Also, there are no overdraft fees; if you withdraw too much, you will be charged interest on the money, but no additional fees. If you have a friend who already has an account, have them refer you by logging in online and clicking the "Refer a Friend" link at the bottom of the page. That way, if you deposit at least $250 when you open your account, you will get an additional $25 and your friend will get $10. Don't know anyone with an account? E-mail me and I'll give you a referral! Compared to a normal checking account, this account will help you gain bits of money that will add up, and save you on overdraft fees when you get in a crunch. By the end of the year, this may be enough to pay off that unexpected speeding ticket, or some other expense you did not plan on having.
Apply for a Chase Freedom Card
Applying for a Chase Freedom card will give you back 3% on your purchases in your top 3 "categories" (which includes your bills), and 1% back on all other purchases. Unlike many other credit cards, this one gives you back straight cash instead of different prize awards. Whenever you can, charge whatever you buy with this credit card instead of using cash. Make sure you pay your bill back 100% when it comes, but it won't come until a month later so during that month, your money will sit in your ING account earning interest. Another way you can capitalize on your rewards, is when you go out to dinner with a group of friends, offer to charge the full amount on your card if everyone else is paying cash. They can pay the cash directly to you, and you can earn money back on the money they paid as well. Chase also has a good online interface, so log on a few times a week to check how much you have been spending that month to make sure you aren't spending more than you can pay at the end of the month. Also, you can let your rewards get to $200 before you withdraw them and get an additional $50. You will also get $50 awarded to your account immediately after your first purchase. No referral necessary for this one!
So to review:
- Set-up your direct deposit to go into your ING account.
- Charge everything on your credit card, and let your money earn interest before your bill comes.
- Check your credit card statement online regularly, to make sure you aren't charging more than you can pay off.
- When the bill arrives, schedule your bill payment online through Chase to pull from your ING account on the day that the bill is due.
- Let your rewards balance get up to $200 before requesting the check, to get the $50 bonus.