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45 Smart Financial Moves You Can Make in an Hour or Less

Aug. 4, 2016 Kiplinger

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 in to the account online.

Lower Auto Insurance Premiums
Go to your state insurance website and find its car insurance buyer’s guide. Most guides show sample prices for auto insurers. Pick the six insurers with the lowest rates for the example closest to your situation, and call the insurers to get price quotes for identical coverage. If you find a better rate, your current insurer may offer to beat the quote. You can also get help from an independent agent (go to Or compare rates from several insurers at and

Save on Prescription Drugs
Use your insurer’s web tools to see how much money you can save by switching to generic medications or therapeutic equivalents that may cost a lot less under your insurance plan. (You’ll have to check with your doctors before you switch.) Also find out if your insurance plan has a preferred pharmacy with lower out-of-pocket costs or if you can save money by using a mail-order pharmacy. Compare costs by pharmacy and get coupons at

Set Up a Password Manager
A password manager such as Lastpass will tie all of your passwords together and store them in a file that’s secured by a single, ultra-secure master password. Download the program and type in a master password. The service gathers and encrypts passwords and other private information. It’s free for one device, but you’ll need the premium version ($12 per year) for multiple devices.

Share Financial Info with Your Family
Create a master list that lets your spouse know how to get into your accounts and where to find important documents if you become incapacitated or die first (you may want to share the list with adult children, too). Store the list online, using a document-storage account such as and give your spouse the user name and password to the account. Also keep a paper copy of your information.





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