Smart financial moves you can make in under an hour

Smart financial moves you can make in under an hour

by the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance
August 02, 2016

Smart financial moves you can make in under an hour

Smart financial moves you can make in under an hour

by the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance
August 02, 2016


Hey, can you spare a few minutes? We know you're busy, but chances are you can set aside 15 or 30 minutes, or even an hour, to tackle some of these quickie tasks. Our collection of financial fixes--designed to save you money, get you on track to reach a goal or simplify your life--run the gamut from trimming your cable or phone bill (15 minutes or less) to applying for a more rewarding rewards card (30 minutes) to setting up an estate plan (one hour). Ready? Get started.

Set up online bill paying

With Mint Bills, you can track and pay bills and receive reminders of upcoming due dates. (Your bank may offer the same service.) Mint Bills is free if you pay bills directly from a bank account. To link each bill, search for the provider and enter either the account number or the username and password that you use to log into the account online.

Sell old gadgets

Brush the dust off old smartphones, tablets or other devices and head to,, or Amazon Trade-In to get an instant quote. Request a prepaid shipping kit or print a free shipping label. Before popping your device in the mail, back up your info to the cloud or save to a different device. To delete personal data from your smartphone, erase or remove the SD or SIM card, and restore the phone to its factory settings. Recent Apple products will automatically encrypt user data, but Android users should visit the Settings menu to manually encrypt their data. For computers, "deauthorize" any digital rights management software, such as iTunes, and disassociate your Apple ID or other accounts. You'll also need software that erases data, such as Active@KillDisk, which you can download free.

Create an estate plan

If your circumstances are straightforward--you plan to leave everything to your spouse, for example--sites such as LegalZoom, Honey scours the web for coupon and discount codes--before you buy, just click the icon the extension installs on your toolbar.

Test the refinancing waters

After the turmoil of Brexit in late June, the 30-year fixed rate fell to 3.5%, according to Freddie Mac. To see whether a refi makes sense for you, fill out an anonymous loan request with personal information and the type of mortgage you want. You'll get instant quotes on rates, fees and payments. Before you connect with lenders, use a refi calculator to see whether you can save enough to recoup the cost of a refi before you sell the home.

Lower your student loan payments

Go to and click on "Repayment Estimator" under "Managing Repayment." Enter the balance and interest rates of each of your federal loans and your income information to see what your payments would be for each repayment plan.

Set a college savings goal

Visit to use the World's Simplest College Cost Calculator. You can generate estimates based on the average cost of a private or in-state public college education or the cost of a specific school. Enter how much you have saved so far and what kind of investment return you expect for your college fund (or use the calculator's default settings). The calculator delivers an instant verdict on how much you should save each month.

Sign up for my social security

Want to see what you'll get when you claim benefits? Go to and click on "My Social Security." Enter your personal information and answer several security questions, then create a username and password. You'll see a preview of your benefits.

Make a date with a financial planner


Copyright 2016 The Kiplinger Washington Editors


This article was written by the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance from Kiplinger and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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