This post is coming from Tonya at Budget and the Beach. Enjoy!
When I first picked up the ukulele about a month ago, I vowed that this would be the instrument I would finally conquer. You see the “uke” isn’t my first rodeo. Nope, I’ve tried learning piano, drums, and guitar as an adult, and it all eventually fell by the wayside, usually within a couple weeks.
But it has always been on my bucket list to learn a musical instrument. When I’d doubt this was really a goal I wanted to achieve, there was always some kind of experience that would make me change my mind…a particular song on the radio where I thought, “man that would be so cool to play,” or seeing someone play live and I think, “I could totally do that!” To me, music has always been a big stress reliever, and even though I don’t have the best voice, I love singing, and I love the idea of spreading the joy of music to other people (hopefully without making their ears bleed).
I always loved the sound of the ukulele…it just sounds happy, and seems like a nice little instrument to bring to a sing-a-long. It also seems easier to play than guitar, not to mention small enough to lug around.
So I came up with a plan, that come hell or high water, I would devote at least 15 minutes a day to practicing. You see, starting something new as a beginner…well quite frankly it sucks, especially I think as adults because we tend to gravitate towards doing things we know how to do, or that come easy to us. As kids everything is new, so I think they tend to be more patient with themselves, not to mention their brains are like little sponges.
So, 15 minutes was something I thought I could carve out each day to practice…enough time to get a tiny bit better, but not too long where I would get frustrated and give up. The “15-minute rule” was even further supported by my ukulele class instructor, who said just do “something” (practice a song, chord changes, strumming) for that amount of time each day, and one day you will look back and see how far you’ve come.
Even Geico’s ad slogan is, “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Because everyone can find 15 minutes in his or her day to do something, right?
So how in the hell is this related to personal finance? Easy!
Because spending just 15 minutes a day on focusing on your financial life can yield you some pretty big results.
What can you do in 15 minutes?
Check your credit score
Haven’t even bothered to check your credit score lately? Yeah, it’s easy to forget about, but not knowing your credit score can hurt your finances, for instance being able to take out a loan with a low interest rate if your credit score is too low. So now is a good time to check your number.
Check your overall net worth
Here’s another financial task that often falls by the wayside (unless you are a personal finance blogger of course). Using sites like Mint.com can keep track of all your accounts in one area so you can keep track of all your accounts, which shows you your assets minus liabilities. Again, it’s good to know so you can create and maintain a financial plan for yourself.
Update your budget
Check in with your budget, or if you don’t have one, start one! I’m a firm believer in budgets (or call them spending plans, whatever you like) to know where your money is going. Plug unnecessary spending leaks, shift funds from one category to another, add more to your monthly retirement contributions and emergency fund, etc.
Call your cell phone/cable/etc. company and lower your rates
OK granted, this may take a bit longer than 15 minutes, but it can’t hurt every once in awhile to call one of your service providers (especially cable), and see if you can get a better deal!
Clear out some clutter
Ever miss a payment because your electric bill was buried under a mound of other paperwork that was neglected? Or miss taking advantage of a coupon for an oil change that came in the mail? Take a little time to clear the paperwork clutter. We all have that one “catch-all” place where mail, knick-knacks, etc. get dropped each day, until one day you have a massive pile of stuff. Go through it!
So those are some of my ideas. What can you accomplish (financial or otherwise) today with setting aside 15 minutes?