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5 must-know tips to managing your money wisely

There’s always time to learn more money tips, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Sponsored by Dave, an all-in-one mobile banking app with spending, saving, and budgeting features. Dave isn't a bank; Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC, provides all banking services and issues the Dave Debit Card, pursuant to a license from Mastercard®.
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It’s been a tough year for most of us, with 79% of US consumers this year reporting they’re stressed about their current financial situation. New tips for managing your money always seem to pop up, but sometimes, it’s better to get back to basics. And thanks to all-in-one modern banking apps, it’s never been easier to manage your money with extra features like high APYs, cashback rewards and budgeting.

1. Budget, budget, budget

If you don’t already have a budget, now is the time. There are quite a few approaches you can take, but a somewhat viral method is called zero-based budgeting. Simply translated, it means that every dollar you have has a job and a purpose. This ensures you’re putting every dollar you earn to work, by either allocating it toward your basic living expenses, savings or paying off debt.

If you need a little help keeping track of your budget, consider a banking app with budgeting features, such as Dave. This mobile banking app analyzes your income and expenses, and predicts recurring expenses to send you alerts so you can stay on top of your spending.

2. Automate your savings

No matter where you sit financially, everyone should have some type of savings for emergencies, retirement or a specific future goal. To make saving easier, set up automatic transfers to your savings account so you won’t forget to move money each month. You can start as small as you’d like and increase from there. Setting up automatic transfers that are too large may run the risk of overdrafting, or you may find yourself dipping into your savings if depositing large amounts stretches you too thin.

As for the money that you’re not moving into your savings, consider keeping it in a high-yield checking account. That way you can earn a nice return with the money that would have been sitting there anyway.

While most high-yield or rewards checking accounts make you jump through hoops to earn interest, there are some that won’t. For example, Dave’s Spending account offers a variable rate of up to 4% APY with no requirements. It also offers a savings feature that lets you create savings goals to help you stay on track. And with savings roundups, Dave helps you reach your goals sooner.

3. Monitor your accounts closely

When it comes to money, there isn’t anything worse than finding out someone stole it, or you overdrafted and got hit with overdraft fees. To avoid issues like that, be sure to comb through your transactions frequently. Most bank accounts offer a companion banking app and alert notifications, which makes it easier to check your pending transactions.

There are also bank accounts that either don’t allow overdrafts or offer overdraft protection, as well as features that can spot you in tough situations. For example, Dave offers qualified members the ability to get up to $500 in five minutes or less with its ExtraCash feature with no credit check, late fees or interest charges. And on top of that, Dave doesn’t allow you to overdraft with your Spending account, so you can say bye-bye to overdraft fees.

4. Look for easy side hustles

Finding a little extra cash doesn’t mean you have to babysit the neighbors’ kids. Between rideshare, food delivery and survey-taking services, there are many ways you can make a little extra cash on the side.

Dave offers the ability to take surveys and get paid. After submitting a survey, you’re paid immediately because the funds are deposited right into your Dave Spending account. You can also apply for jobs on Dave’s Side Hustle board in the app.

5. Take advantage of cashback and use it

Cashback can be a powerful savings and earnings tool — if used correctly. In many cases, credit cards that earn cashback aren’t worth the money if you don’t repay your balance on time, because the interest charges cancel out your cashback earnings. You may also have an annual fee to pay that costs more than your potential earnings for the year.

Debit cards that earn cashback aren’t as common as credit cards, but they can be more cost effective thanks to the lack of interest charges.

Just remember to put those cashback rewards to work after you earn it, or there’s no point! If you don’t want to spend your rewards, deposit it into a high-yield account like Dave to start earning even more.

Choosing the right account matters

Sometimes the difference between managing your money wisely comes down to having the right bank account for your lifestyle. Not all accounts offer cash advances, earnings on your balance or budgeting features — but Dave does. For $1 per month, you can start monitoring your external account balances, get overdraft protection and more.

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Alexa Serrano Cruz as part of our fact-checking process.
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Editor, Banking

Bethany Hickey is the banking editor and personal finance expert at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, GOBankingRates, SuperMoney, AOL and Newsweek. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. See full bio

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Bethany has written 392 Finder guides across topics including:
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