TODAY | December 01, 2011
>>> this morning on "today's money" managing your finances in no time. whether you have 15 minutes or a couple hours there are things you can do right now to boost your credit score and your savings while trimming your expenses. sarah humphries is the executive editor of "real simple" magazine and donna rosato the senior writer for "money" magazine. good to see you both this morning. donna, you have some suggestions and these are based on the amount of time a person has to, you know, kind of contribute and take a look at their 401(k).
>> right. that's one of the things that "money" readers and "real simple" readers say. they feel they're not saving enough money for retirement. you can come up with a smart retirement plan in 15 minutes or less.
>> one of the things people say, if you even have a plan, you're going to save three times as much money as people who don't have a plan so it starts with figuring out how much you need for savings. go to a retirement calculator . we like t. rowe price.com. they'll tell you how much you should be saving and the next step is if you're falling short, you can add to your 401(k). you can put 1% more in your 401(k). you'll never feel you're missing it and you'll get ontrack for your goals.
>> okay. sarah , we're all using smart phones , with apps on them. you say there are these apps that can really help you save.
>> part of managing your finances is managing day-to-day spending. groceries and household goods can eat up about 25% of your monthly take-home pay which is a huge amount especially during the holidays. there are a million coupon apps we love. there are two particularly we love and they're both free which is great. one is coupon sure. it delivers coupon codes directly to your phone. you use it to scan and store. card star is also great because it gathers all of your loyalty merchant codes and cards that you have on to your phone so you never miss out on a good offer.
>> a lot of times you don't have a car -- don't have the keys.
>> drives you nuts. one thing people don't think about until after it happens is when there is a disaster. you say having plans can save you.
>> we have had an incredible year. earthquakes on the east coast , freak snowstorms in october. people think about saving their photos not their financial documents. an easy way to take care of this, you have an hour. gather your documents, your marriage certificate, will, scan them into your computer. put them on two cds. leave one at home and one in a safe place. if you have to leave your home quickly grab the cd.
>> this one was kind of interesting. it's about, if you've got an hour, you can increase your marital happiness.
>> right. so again, about being a great financial saver and smart person, is to communicate about your finances and no surprise 9 of 10 married americans say they avoid talking to their spouse about money. we suggested doing something called a dollar date. it's an hour-long thing. if that turn causes you to run away in horror change it to another term. that's what it is. the first down you want to sit down and register, upload your account information and in about 15 minutes it will spit out things like your balance sheets and cash flow so you can analyze that together and spend the rest of the time prioritizing your financial goals whether that is reducing debt or saving for vacation. it can help you track and make your progress.
>> and you also talk about sh shrinking your bills.
>> bill shrink.com. wireless bill, credit card bills, even how much you pay at your gas station . put in your usage information and it gives you alternate plans and providers that are less expensive.
>> you say if you have two to three hours you can boost your credit score and that can make a big difference at the bottom line.
>> it can make a huge difference. you can save hundreds of dollars if you've got a credit score say 740 or higher than someone who has them in the 600s. how do you juice up your credit score quickly? one way to do it, there are a lot of mistakes on credit reports . get a copy of your credit report . take a look at it. 9 of 10 have errors on them. get those fixed. that could boost your credit score . the other way to do it is call your credit card company and ask them to raise your credit card limit. don't spend the extra money but the more credit available to you the better you look to lenders and it's going to boost your score.
>> all right. sarah humphries, donna rosato, thank you so much.