You’re not going to change your entire financial situation in one afternoon. Making changes in how you spend, save, earn, and give takes time and discipline.
But you can make small positive changes in just a few minutes. And those small changes pile up—especially when we do them repeatedly. Your first step in the right direction doesn’t need to be a big one.
If you want to change your financial circumstances, here are ten quick actions I encourage you to take today.
Ten 5-Minute Money Actions to Help Your Finances Today
1. Invest $50 in the Stock Market.
When I was younger, investing in the stock market was complicated. You needed a bunch of money, a stockbroker, and it cost a lot.
But now, with apps such as RobinHood, anybody can invest in the stock market, instantly, for free, with as little as $1. In fact, if you sign up through my link above, you can get a free stock just for signing up!
It’s become so easy to invest in stocks, I now encourage people who are struggling to save money, to buy stocks rather than open a Savings account. It’s more fun and exciting to watch your money grow in the market than a bank, and the interest earned tends to motivate people to save more.
Find $50 to deposit into RobinHood. If you don’t know much about investing, just buy $50 worth of the index fund VOO which tracks the S&P 500 index. Or, if you want to risk for higher returns, subscribe to Pete Nikolai’s Leveraged Momentum System (that’s what I do).
2. Open Your Most Recent Credit Card Statement.
I don’t know if you regularly read your credit card statement each month. Maybe you just pay the bill, or your spouse/partner handles sending in the payment.
Either way, take five minutes to log in to your credit card account and manually review your statement for the last two months. You may be surprised at the charges listed.
I did this just last week (in preparation for this article) and immediately found 3 recurring charges that I hadn’t cancelled previously.
3. Unsubscribe From Email Newsletters.
Email newsletters from retailers and companies are designed for virtually one purpose: to sell you something.
Take five minutes in your inbox to unsubscribe from the worst offenders. You may believe five minutes won’t make a difference, and to some extent you are correct, you likely won’t be able to unsubscribe from every retail newsletter in that time frame.
But it can make a dent. And another five minutes tomorrow, and the day after, will definitely result in an inbox that is less inclined to persuade you to spend.
4. Sell Something on FB Marketplace.
Locate one large item in your home that you can put up for sale for $25 or more. Take a picture, and post it for pick-up on your local Facebook Marketplace or neighborhood community app.
You might be surprised how quickly you can turn clutter into cash. If your first item doesn’t sell, don’t give it up. Just try something else. You’ll free up space in your home and add dollars to your bank account.
5. Run your Amazon Order History Report for the Last Year.
You may be surprised to see, all in one place, how many of your hard-earned dollars are being shipped to Amazon. Most people, after running their report, are shocked to see how much they spend on Amazon during a year.
6. Empty Cart on Amazon.
If you’re anything like a lot of families, your Amazon cart may have a few unordered items sitting inside it. Items were added that were of interest to you (or someone else in the family) and haven’t been ordered yet.
Do yourself a favor, go empty it.
What if you forget what was in there? That’s the point. If you didn’t need the item yesterday, you won’t need it tomorrow.
7. Pay $100 on your Highest Rate Debt.
There are plenty of different strategies for getting out of debt: pay off your highest interest debts first: pay off your smallest loans first; consolidate your loans; pay double your minimum payment; just to name a few.
Of course, the most important thing is to actually get started.
To do that, send $100 to your highest interest rate debt, right now. Your credit card, your car loan, or something else… don’t think twice, just send $100 to begin paying it down. See how it makes you feel to take that step.
I understand if you’re at the end of a pay period, you may need to wait until the next one. But as soon as you can, send the $100. Rather than spending it on unnecessary things, it will be out of your hands and already used to pay down debt.
As Albert Einstein once said,“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Those who understand it, earn it… those who don’t, pay it.“
8. Cancel One Subscription.
The average consumer spends over $3,000/year on subscription services—more than twice what they think they spend. In one survey, 89% of respondents underestimated how much money they spent on subscriptions services every month.
Cancel one or more:
- Which streaming service do you watch the least? Cancel it.
- Which magazine do you rarely read? Cancel it.
- Not keeping up with your audio book subscription? Cancel it.
- Which streaming music platform do you use the least? Cancel it.
- Got a cell phone? Cancel your landline.
- Meal services, subscription boxes, gaming platforms, apps. Find one to cancel.
9. Pack a Lunch For Tomorrow.
If you’re used to eating out every day at work, packing a lunch may seem a little unexciting. But it’s an important lifestyle change that you can make to better control your finances.
The cost of convenience adds up quickly.
Take your lunch to work tomorrow and save the money. You could also brew your own coffee (though I’d suggest waiting for the morning to do that).
10. Decide to Spend No Money Next Week.
Granted, actually going 7 days without spending takes longer than 5 minutes, but you can make that decision in less than 5 minutes.
I don’t think deciding on a whim to go one week without spending money is too extreme—you’ve probably got enough food in your fridge and pantry to last that long. But if it sounds too difficult, try the weekend or the weekdays instead. It will require some mindset changes, no doubt, but some people go an entire year without buying anything. Make it fun and a personal challenge.
Incremental small changes eventually amount to big changes. I didn’t write this list as all the exhaustive steps you need to take to get ahead financially. Like I mentioned, that takes more time and effort than 5 minutes.
However, each of these steps can be taken right now, before even putting down your phone or closing your computer. Go back through the list and pick one or two to complete. You’ll be glad you did.