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Financial Planning

13 Smart Money Tips That Could Change Your Life

We did an office survey of our best money tips, and here's what Betterment insiders shared.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: August 11, 2014

Smart money isn't always about how much you're spending, but the value it brings to your life.

Always invest your money -- don't let it sit idle. If you are working hard for your money, your money should work hard for you.

Living as a married couple, saving for kids, buying a house, helping aging parents. Sound familiar? Many of our staff here at Betterment HQ are also Betterment customers trying to meet all these financial goals. And like you, they care about keeping costs low and doing the smart thing with their money for better peace of mind.


We did an office survey of our best money tips, and here’s what Betterment insiders shared:

1. A dollar is a dollar is a dollar. Why worry about spending $1,000 on coffee every year when you don’t even try to negotiate on things that could save you tens of thousands, like a home purchase or interest rate? — Alex Benke, CFP®, Product Manager

2. Adopt a rescue dog. Smart money isn’t always about how much you’re spending, but the value it brings to your life. For example, I still spend the same amount every month, but by cutting back on dining out to pay for dog care, I’ve created a more enriching experience for myself. — Catherine New, Content Manager

3. Routines, routines, routines. Everything is a subscription, so that when I do shop it’s an event and I can easily track it. — Jon Stein, Founder and CEO

4. A budget has changed my life. It’s always a work in progress, but holding myself accountable has made a huge difference. — Katherine Buck, Marketing and Community Manager

5. Create a ‘fun jar’ when you’re budgeting — and you have to spend it every month. Think of it as a good reward and counter-balance to budgeting elsewhere. –Yuriy Goldman, Lead Engineer

6. Always invest your money — don’t let it sit idle. If you are working hard for your money, your money should work hard for you. — Alfredo Zhou, Software Engineer

7. Learn the ins and outs of your miles and points programs. As long as you’re on top of it — and pay off the balance every month — you can make a profit. — Brandon McFadden, Product Associate

8. Know your market value. Ask for raises and network to keep your job options open. — Dan Egan, Director of Investing & Behavioral Finance

9. I have a budget of $24 per day for food, or $168 per week (hey, I don’t buy groceries). I usually spend less than that, so I keep a running total of my surplus and use it for fun expenses. — Adam Langsner, Software Engineer

10. Accept that you’re going to make mistakes. Even if you overspent today, simply decide that you’re going to do better tomorrow and stay on track. — Sarah Kaufman, Growth Manager

11. Mint’s graph of Net Worth Over Time is really helpful. I added all of my accounts into Mint, and now I try hard to keep that graph going up a little bit more each month. — Andrew Glenn, VP Core Systems

12. I track all our expenses every month in an old-school spreadsheet. I go through it with my wife every month so we’re both on the same page and we both have a good idea of where we stand. — AJ Kramer, Operations Associate

13. Pay your credit card every week. It’s easy to do online and protects you from spending money you don’t have. — Elizabeth Derby, Product Marketing Associate

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