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In this episode, Chelsea talks about super-useful money tools most people don’t know about, from a credit-building savings account to useful government programs.

This video is sponsored by SeedFi. Click here to open your SeedFi Credit Builder Plan and start saving money and building your credit today:

Tools and sources mentioned:

Tiller Money:

$500 emergency stat:

72-hour rule:


NYPL financial counseling:

Credit card insurance:

Personal Capital:


IRS refund status checker:

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here:

The Financial Diet site:

Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet, and this week's video is sponsored by SeedFi. And today, I want to talk about some of the lesser known financial tools that you should be adding to your arsenal in order to more easily and efficiently reach your financial goals.

As we often talk about here at TFD, one of the biggest keys to long-term financial success is to automate as much as possible and make decisions that can otherwise be sometimes difficult to make much easier on yourself. This can be everything from automating your savings and bill payments to siphoning off some of your cash to go toward long-term goals to finding the right software and digital tools that will help you understand your money more clearly and inform better decisions. The thing about money is that it's hard, but it's not complicated.

It's hard in a lot of the day-to-day moments of our lives to make better financial decisions, to transfer a little bit more to savings or to forgo a little short-term pleasure for longer-term goals. And these are some of the tools that will help make these things a lot easier. Number one is Tiller Money, a tool to customize and automate your budget spreadsheets.

There are tons of different budgeting apps out there, but one we often don't hear much about is called a Tiller Money. And this is different from other budgeting tools because it works directly with Excel or Google Sheets. It connects your various accounts to these sheets so that you don't have to manually enter any of the information.

And if you're someone who happens to work better with spreadsheets, this takes a ton of the heavy lifting out of that job. It's also totally customizable, and you can set your own rules for things like organization, categorization, et cetera. However, unlike some other budgeting apps, it isn't a totally free tool.

It does cost a little under $7 a month. But if you have been wanting to use the spreadsheet method, which is maybe effective in other areas of your life to help manage your money, this is a tool that will help make that a more effortless reality. Number two is a savings account that helps you build credit with SeedFi.

If you have been watching the TFD channel for a while, you're probably already familiar with the story of how I ruined my credit as a teenager, thanks to a pre-approved credit card that was offered to me at my high school and even came with a picture of Hello Kitty on it. I eventually did build my credit score back up over the course of several years and in part with the help of what is essentially a rehab credit card where you prepay the credit card and then use it like a regular one, and it reports to credit bureaus. But I felt the negative impact of my low credit score for years.

Having bad or even not optimal credit can affect you in tons of ways, like paying more in interest on things like a car loan or even having to offer a higher security deposit when you rent an apartment. Luckily, there are now even more helpful ways to build credit and have more options when it comes to your finances, such as SeedFi's Credit Builder Plan. SeedFi is a financial help startup helping Americans break the cycle of debt and realize their financial potential.

When you sign up, you commit to putting as little as $10 toward a free savings account from each paycheck or every two weeks. The plan is structured as a savings secured loan. So each time you contribute, it's treated as a payment and reported to the credit bureaus.

And once you've completed your plan, you can access your savings for whatever purpose you need. You have the option to contribute $10, $20, or $40. After a year of making $20 payments every two weeks, you'll have worked toward building your credit and also have $500 in your savings account you might not have saved otherwise, which is a huge accomplishment considering most Americans wouldn't be able to cover the cost of a $500 emergency.

This plan only costs $1 a month, and it's free if you refer someone to the program. Click the link in our description to start your SeedFi Credit Builder Plan, and start building your credit and saving more money today. Number three is follow the 72-hour rule.

Sometimes the easiest way to manage your spending is to simplify it. As Carl Richards wrote in the New York Times, "Most personal finance advice centers on making it painful to spend. Cut up your credit cards.

Use only cash. Track, review, and feel bad about your spending. It works until it doesn't anymore.

You can't ignore all the voices screaming at you to spend, and making spending painful increases the feelings of shame when we do something wrong. It only leads to more spending as a form of self-medicating." So instead of focusing on ways to shame yourself out of spending, he suggests something much simpler, waiting three days before you're allowed to make a purchase. "Before I started following the rule, I had stacks of unread books all over my office. Now if I hear of or see a book that sounds interesting, it goes on a list that I've created in my Amazon account called the 72-hour list.

If I still want the book when I return 72 hours later, I'll buy it. There's now a really long list of books I've never bought and fewer piles in my office." You might find that in your own life, reducing that window down to 48 or even 24 hours is sufficient, but in a lot of cases, our desire to make a given purchase at a given time is as much about emotions and context and things that are happening in the moment as they are about our actual desires. For example, right now, I have a picture on my computer, well, I have a page up, of a pair of espadrilles that I would like to buy.

I pulled it up this morning, and I will not be buying them until tomorrow if I decide I still want to buy them. You can even go further when it comes to things like wardrobe or home items and actually make mood boards about how you would integrate this item with what you already have. It's also important to remember that a lot of the aspiration when it comes to buying things is about the ability to project into a future where you have that item and are a slightly different person because of it.

Often, using your imagination and envisioning how you would use an item satisfies a lot of that need without actually having to clear checkout. Number four is Goodbudget, which is an app to help you follow the envelope system. We often recommend the cash envelope system for people who have a very hard time sticking to a budget and need to train themselves.

It's pretty simple. You start each month with actual cash that you take out and put into envelopes that are dedicated to certain expenses. The things that have to be automated, such as certain bills, you go ahead and automate them on a card or from an account, but every other spending choice goes into those envelopes that are categorized and have a limited set amount of cash to work with, and that is all you get for the month.

You can only spend in those envelopes. But unfortunately, in an increasingly cashless world, this is getting harder and harder to do. Goodbudget is an app that essentially takes this method and digitizes it, showing you exactly how you're stacking up against your envelopes and in your overall budget at any given time.

This app does have a free version, which has a limited amount of envelopes and linked accounts or a $7 a month version for unlimited envelopes and unlimited linked accounts. Number five is financial counseling through your local government. If you're not able to afford certain types of financial counseling, definitely check out what your local government has on offer in this regard.

For example, often your local library will offer resources on things like adult education, including financial education. For instance, our beloved NYPL partners with the Financial Coaching Corps of the Community Service Society of New York to offer 30-minute counseling sessions where they can talk to you about retirement planning, saving, banking, budgeting, general money management, investments, and more. So definitely start by checking out what your local government and local library offer, and if that's not turning up anything, you can also Google things like free financial counseling in your city or area.

Number six is insurance perks through your credit card. A lot of credit cards offer insurance benefits such as rental car insurance, which covers you enough to skip the collision damage waiver, which can often be almost as expensive as the basic cost of renting a car itself. Some offer travel protection such as covering lost luggage or trip cancellation in the cases of things like illness or family emergency.

And of course, this doesn't mean that you need to go out and get a bunch of credit cards just for these insurance perks, but it does mean you should check out what insurance perks your existing card already has on offer, of course in addition to all of the other perks you may not be taking advantage of. And it can also apply to the strategies with which you're using these cards. For example, if you have a card that offers really great travel insurance, you can start putting a lot of your travel purchases on that card specifically.

We'll link you in the description to an explanation of various credit card insurance coverage and benefits. Number seven is wealth tracking tools like Personal Capital. So there is no need to obsessively be checking on your net worth, but it is something that's good to check in on pretty regularly.

And Personal Capital is one that's actually pretty popular among PF nerds but may not be known to everyone who's not constantly obsessing about their net worth. It's simple. It links all of your accounts and gives you an overall financial picture for free.

It also has budgeting and spending tracking features so you can keep tabs on all of your money in one place. Number eight is various resources through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Founded in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a US government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly, but they also have many resources to help you with major financial decisions, and here are just a few.

Educational information on avoiding fraud schemes and financial scams and a place to report the scams that you come across, guides for contacting lenders when you can't pay outstanding debts, spending trackers and expense cutting tools, a debt action plan template, explanations of different types of student loans, and plenty more. Give them a look at the link in our description, and find out how you can help further protect yourself and your money with the CFPB. Number nine is the IRS Tax Refund Status Checker.

This is pretty straightforward. If you are waiting on money from the IRS, and I know many of you might be, you can use this tool simply to check on the status of that money. It gives you info on when you can plan to receive this money and therefore integrate it into your budgeting decisions.

And don't forget that our recommendation for any windfall money, whether that's things like a bonus or a tax return, is to dedicate a certain portion of it just for spending on fun things, usually maybe like 20% or 25%, and putting the rest to work, deciding how you're going to allocate it ideally before you even receive the money. But at minimum, this money from the IRS is yours, and you deserve to know when you can expect to receive it. And if one of the things you've been looking to work on financially is building or rebuilding your credit, click the link in our description to start your SeedFi Credit Builder Plan and start building your credit and saving more money today.

And as always, guys, thank you for watching, and do not forget to hit the Subscribe and Join buttons and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Goodbye.