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Personal Finance

4 ways to get your finances in order this season, according to a financial expert

Financial advisor and CNBC Select contributor Kristin Merrick's tips for spring cleaning your money.

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Thomas Barwick

Welcome back to Money Made Easy, where we focus on simple ways to manage your finances and save money. In the latest installment of the series, CNBC Select Contributor and financial advisor Kristin Merrick walks us through her best tips for rethinking how you manage your money in 2023. 

Check out the full interview featured on TODAY in the video below and read on to see some of Merrick's best strategies. 

Review your accounts, and how they're growing

Reviewing your savings accounts early in the year can help you make sure that they're growing as much as possible.

Not only should you make sure you're meeting your savings goals, but you also want your money to grow as much as possible. Merrick suggests keeping your cash in a high-yield savings account. "You can actually earn some money," she says.

CNBC Select's top picks for high-yield savings accounts include LendingClub's High-Yield Savings account, which earns a strong APY with no minimum balance requirements. To avoid fees, there's also Marcus by Goldman Sachs' High-Yield Online Savings account, which offers all the perks of a high-yield savings account without any monthly fees.

LendingClub High-Yield Savings

LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    5.00%

  • Minimum balance

    No minimum balance requirement after $100.00 to open the account

  • Monthly fee

    None

  • Maximum transactions

    None

  • Excessive transactions fee

    None

  • Overdraft fees

    N/A

  • Offer checking account?

    Yes

  • Offer ATM card?

    Yes

Terms apply.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    4.40% APY

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Monthly fee

    None

  • Maximum transactions

    At this time, there is no limit to the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make from your online savings account

  • Excessive transactions fee

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    None

  • Offer checking account?

    No

  • Offer ATM card?

    No

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Strong APY
  • No minimum balance or deposit
  • No monthly fees
  • No limit on withdrawals or transfers
  • Easy-to-use mobile banking app
  • Offers no-fee personal loans

Cons

  • Higher APYs offered elsewhere
  • No option to add a checking account
  • No ATM access

Take a closer look at your spending

Review your subscriptions and expenses to free up extra money for saving and investing.

Start by taking a look at your credit card statements and your bank accounts. "If you're getting charged for something you don't understand, look into it," Merrick says.

For a more automated approach, using a budgeting app could help you trim your subscriptions. One of CNBC Select's best budgeting apps, PocketGuard, can find subscriptions you didn't know you had and help you cancel them.

You can also enlist the help of a bill negotiation service to negotiate down fees and subscription charges.

Check up on your credit

Having a good credit score can help you unlock the best credit cards, the best auto loans, and even help you save money on car insurance. You can track your credit score using different tools, including Experian's free credit monitoring, and CreditWise® from Capital One. Both of these services can help you understand where your score is, and help you find ways to work towards raising your credit score.

Experian Dark Web Scan + Credit Monitoring

On Experian's secure site
  • Cost

    Free

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO®

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, one-time only

  • Identity insurance

    No

Terms apply.

Your credit report is equally important to stay on top of. A credit report is a statement with all the information about the credit you're using, your payment history, and all of your personal information. "Maybe somebody took out credit in your name, and you don't know," Merrick says. "This is how you know."

While there are a number of ways to get a copy of your credit report, annualcreditreport.com is authorized by federal law to provide your report for free.

Plan your summer travels and save

Prepping for the summer travel season ahead of time can help prevent stress and save you money.

Booking travel early could make your summer adventures cheaper. "Don't wait until the last minute," Merrick says. When booking, don't forget to use any travel credit card points, airline miles, or hotel perks you have to make the summer travel season more affordable. With airline prices on the rise, it might make sense to use the miles you've accumulated to save on your 2023 travels.

If you don't have one of the best cards for travel, looking into opening a new card to take advantage of welcome bonuses could help make your next flight or hotel stay more affordable. Two of CNBC Select's top picks include the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees), which offers no foreign transaction fees, and The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers up to $200 annually in airline fee credits, Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

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Bottom line

A new season means yet another reason to take a step back and check in on your finances. Merrick recommends checking in on your savings accounts to make sure they're earning and growing as much as possible. Next, take a look at your credit report and trim any unnecessary subscriptions. Finally, book your summer travel in advance, and take advantage of credit card rewards as you plan.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Information about PocketGuard has been collected independently by CNBC Select and has not been reviewed or provided by PocketGuard prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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