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5 Things You Can do in Your 30s to Improve Your Finances

You want to make more money. Unfortunately, you’re close to being tapped out with your existing bills and lifestyle expenses.

Sound familiar?

The good news is you don’t need tons of dough to reap tons of financial benefits. Here are five things you can do in your 30s, for $50 or less, to improve your financial outlook each month.

1: Put an extra $40 per month toward unsecured debt. If you have a credit card balance hanging over your head, you’re probably getting by with paying the minimum. Unfortunately, the longer you take to pay it off, the more interest you will end up paying over time. While you don’t want to commit too much money to making payments at the expense of other needs (like health-related expenses, or emergency savings contributions), scaling down on one or two extravagances (such as eating out) to put $40 more (per month) toward your unsecured debt could cut years off your debt payments.

2: Contribute $50 more each month to your IRA or 401(K). The more, and earlier, you contribute money into a retirement fund, the richer you’ll be — and not just by $600 a year. That’s because retirement savings accounts benefit from compound interest, the term used to define the principle whereupon your money “makes” money. So if, at age 30, you start with $100 and put away $100 a month, you’ll have more than $52K by age 50 (a lot more than if you simply multiplied $1,200 by 20!).

3: Boost your coverage. Even if you feel great, your chances of getting a disability or dying are pretty much the same as anyone else’s. If you’re employed by a large organization, you’re probably already enrolled in a disability insurance plan, but if you’re self-employed, this should be the first kind of coverage you seek, as a seemingly small accident or mishap can hinder your ability to work and sustain your livelihood. A two-year individual policy can cost less than $20 a month, and cover you for two years or more, and the peace of mind is worth giving up one or two nice lunches. When it comes to finding the right life insurance policy, consider your needs as well as your family’s needs: Do you have a spouse who will be able to generate enough income to pay your bills in the event of your passing? If not, make sure your policy is ample enough to cover your family’s needs.

4: Join a gym. It sounds counterintuitive that spending money on spin classes and yoga will save you thousands of dollars, but it’s true. A recent analysis of 26,239 men and women, published in September in the Journal of the American Heart Association, reveals that exercise can save $2,500 per year in medical costs. Since the average membership costs less than $50 per year, giving a little dough toward building muscle and endurance goes a long way! And while you don’t technically have to pay for the gym to reap rewards (just walking 30 minutes or more, five times per week, will do), getting out of the house and into an exercise class is good for morale. And that’s a reward that’ll reap multiple benefits and make you feel good indefinitely!