One tweak a week!

Here’s another idea for you to try!

Work on tackling just *one* thing a week relating to your money, and then enjoy the satisfaction of both improving your finances AND being able to check something off the to-do list ;)


// End of post


But it’s not my brilliant idea, here’s Suzanne who was inspired to do this and share it with us:

Good morning J.,

I listen to Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast, and she introduced me to the concept of One Tweak a Week. Essentially, you do one small thing each week to move yourself forward financially. They can be small things (like checking your credit score), or bigger things (like paying off your car – which I did last week!). I really, really like this idea because it keeps the momentum going, however small, and has some accountability built in if you share it with a spouse/friend.

So, I have an ongoing note written in my phone, with a list of “tweaks” to do. It helps to have a pre- thought out list so you can just do it instead of scratching your head each week. This week I’m going to a college planning workshop at my local library. After I complete the tweak, I move it to the “done” column and write the date…so I’ll be able to see my effort and progress over the year.

It’s not always easy to think of more tweaks. And of course it’s specific to one’s personal situation. But I was wondering if you and your readers could come up with a massive list of tweaks to help everyone consider what they might do next. What do you think?

– Suzanne G.

I think it’s beautiful! Especially the *tracking* of it all and putting down the dates of completion! What a thing to look back on over time!!

And I can literally think of a half dozen things right off the bat that would go on my list if I were forced to put one together… And I’m pretty sure you’re forcing me to, right? I hope?? :)

Here it is in all its embarrassing glory:

  1. Pay all my hospital bills that keep on piling up due to my wicked pneumonia that I finally kicked and now just too lazy/annoyed to deal with, haha…
  2. Call to get an improper charge waived on a different bill that had already been paid (why is it that errors never go in OUR favor?!)
  3. Look into flood insurance because the Mrs keeps having nightmares of floods in our place and I’m starting to wonder if they’re actually premonitions?
  4. Start looking for Minivan deals which I promised said Mrs I’d do months ago…
  5. Start really thinking about long-term plans for our newly acquired stack of cash…
  6. Up the contributions to the Mrs’ TSP plan now that our incomes are more solid than they have been in recent years… (And which motivation I owe to YOU guys for continuing to bring it up over the months/years! So thank you!! I always forget about that account for some reason?)

I could prob go on here, but I’ll stop there at the risk of losing my blogger card ;)

I gotta admit though – it feels damn good breaking it all down and putting it in writing like that! So much nicer dumping it out of my brain and ready for some action finally, haha… Especially if I only need to do ONE item each week vs saving up for a 5 hour window that will *never* come!

So I’m in!

Who’s with me???

What are your small annoying things you keep trying to do but for whatever reason haven’t yet??? What about dreams you’ve been missing out on because they seem way too big to tackle all at once? Could you break them down into smaller *weekly* tasks like these if you wanted to harness it in that way?!

I don’t know anyone who can’t do one thing a week, so might be an easy way to get the ball rolling again if you’ve recently fallen off the wagon… Just don’t try adding them all up if you miss a week or two!! That never works! Just start over from the beginning again and give it another college try…

Here’s the direct link to that podcast episode referred to if you want to take a listen: Episode #169: One Tweak a Week in 2019 — Easy Improvements to Your Financial Life

Then when you’re done with that, go back to episodes #1-#26 and see if there are any other gems you can squirrel away in your pockets…

I hear one of the co-hosts used to dish ’em out like candy ;)

candy cat gif

UPDATE: Just spent an hour this morning going through the hospital bills and paying them off!! Week one complete! Haha…

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  1. Donna Korzun September 26, 2019 at 6:12 AM

    What a great idea! Since my husband retired a few months ago to help me as my Parkinson’s disease progresses (I have to give J Money some kudos here for great and solid advice I got from following him and his blog that helped make his retirement at age 61 possible), we have had trouble adjusting a few areas of our budget:

    Our penchant to get food on the run

    Running into town every time we need something

    Forgetting to return items in time to get a refund

    So I am going to start tweaking one problem at a time. Thanks J. Money!

    1. J. Money September 26, 2019 at 7:04 AM

      I’m glad you liked this one :)

      And even more so your husband is able to be there for you more now! What a blessing!!

      For the return stuff – try keeping things *in the car* anytime you know you want to take it back later… That way it’s always with you whenever you remember to do so! (I do this all the time myself and has made my life 100x easier haha… Even the stuff you need to return online you still have to take to the post office or drop off center! And if you put it somewhere *noticeable* in the car there’s no way you won’t see it! ;))

  2. Libby September 26, 2019 at 7:50 AM

    Wash the Ziplock bags that are next to my sink so I can reuse them (I soak in a bleach solution first so don’t be too grossed out.)

    Return an overdue library book.

    Ask around to find some young muscle I can hire to help me with dump runs rather than hitting the easy button and hiring a company to haul stuff away.

    Take an inventory of my small chest freezer and plan meals around what I have rather than buying more.

    Take photos and post items up on Ebay. I’ve been putting “things” on top of a bureau in the spare bedroom for several months now. September and October are a great time to sell online. I just need to do it!!

    1. Financially Fit Mom September 26, 2019 at 8:20 AM

      Hard stretch, but you never know…if you happen to live in Boise, I’d be happy to help with your dump run!

      1. Libby September 26, 2019 at 9:54 AM

        THANK YOU so much!! But I’m in New England…a bit of a stretch ; )

    2. J. Money September 26, 2019 at 12:34 PM

      That last one is the hardest!!

      I’ve been just convincing myself lately that it’s not worth the hassle and instead end up just donating everything so a lucky thrifter can find a steal, haha, but boy if I had the energy I’d be listing stuff left and right!!

      So i’m rooting for you! Maybe start with the library book first and get some good momentum going ;)

  3. Financially Fit Mom September 26, 2019 at 8:26 AM

    I love this idea and actually do a version of it daily. Not just on financial stuff but home stuff and work stuff to. I have a list of everything I need or want to get done that day and mark it off as I go. It’s a little beyond your typical to do list because it includes things that don’t necessarily need to get done. I want to say I took it from a podcast with David Allen (Getting Things Done) that it takes up x amount of energy in your brain to hold all this information so by writing it all down you can free up that space for productivity and then you can literally prioritize and negotiate your own time with your own self throughout the day. There are many times that something goes on the list for 4-5 days in a row and then I realize it’s obviously not that important to me and gets scratched permanently (or it NEEDS to get done and just isn’t fun so it takes that long to become a priority).

    1. J. Money September 26, 2019 at 12:35 PM

      “It takes up x amount of energy in your brain to hold all this information so by writing it all down you can free up that space for productivity” — YES.

  4. Megan September 26, 2019 at 9:27 AM

    Oh I need to do this! Some things I can think of right away:

    – Finish changing my name on my credit cards
    – Add my husband as joint owner on our online savings account & change my name on this account
    – Make sure my husband is listed as beneficiary on my retirement accounts
    – Update our budget spread sheet and add/delete categories as needed to get a better sense of where the money’s going

    I took some time right after we got married to do the immediate name change things, and then I lost steam.

    1. J. Money September 26, 2019 at 12:37 PM

      Excellent list!! Because 75% of those are super annoying and take a little time, so stretching those out over the weeks should be no problem and probably help you feel better about things too :)

      Make it happen!

  5. Julia Burton September 26, 2019 at 9:43 AM

    Hi J!
    Just want to say that one of my side hustles is being a dreamworker…yes, that’s correct. I work with people’s dreams to help them realize what they mean. It’s not psychotherapy, I am not a trained therapist. I am a trained dreamworker! I help people stop having recurring nightmares or help the understand the strange and wonderful imagery and situations in dreams. So if you and your wife are curious as to what those recurring flood dreams mean, I can help you out. Send me an email!

    1. J. Money September 26, 2019 at 12:40 PM

      Wha????!!! Like those books you sometimes find to help interpret stuff? Only a real life human being? Haha… Does it pay well? How did you get into it?? Want to do a guest post for us where I can ask you a million more questions?? :) Sounds like a crazy fun gig!

      1. Julia October 2, 2019 at 6:26 PM

        Actually, it’s more like we are all our own dream encyclopedias! I just help you figure out what your symbols mean in any given dream. And the same symbol can mean different things in each of your different dreams. Like a snake in one dream could mean something evil to you, or represent someone sneaky and mean (but not necessarily to me), but in the next dream you have, a snake could be about shedding your old skin (ie taking on a new job, new chapter of your life). I got into it seriously when I met a bunch of people who also do this stuff and teach each other. It is really cool! And it can pay very well. People just are very curious about their dreams (especially big powerful wonderful ones or recurring nightmares). And not many people do this dreamworking in a careful, serious manner… in our Western society, anyway. I would love to do a guest post. Ask as many questions as you want, J!!

        1. J. Money October 3, 2019 at 7:06 AM

          We are curious souls!!! Haha…

          Will be shooting you a note very shortly here – thank you :) So many interesting gigs and passions out there – love it!

  6. Sarah D September 26, 2019 at 2:25 PM

    So in my mind this isn’t a “small” thing but rather a really big one (possibly why we’ve been married 16 years but haven’t done this yet) but I’d put on my list…get a will prepared.

    Other “tweaks” that I should do or have recently done include actually calculating net worth (rather than just guesstimating…the real number was better than the guess!!), close an un-used checking account at an old bank, shred unnecessary old paperwork, start researching “new” (refurbished) i-phones because mine is 7 years old and will die soon, buy some plane tickets I’ve been putting off dealing with, and increase my charitable monthly auto-donation to a local org helping my town’s homeless population.

    1. J. Money September 27, 2019 at 6:13 AM

      excellent list there at the bottom!

      the will one is SUPER hard to pull off but def. do-able :) we’re in the end stages of completing ours now too – taken us 7 years to finally get it done since having kids, prob the lamest thing I’ve done as a $$$ blogger haha…

      but as long as we get it done in the end that’s all that matters!! so get that process started over there! Maybe just break it into baby steps to knock off every week too? searching for good attorneys, deciding on who will be your executors, where you want all your stuff/money to go to, who you want taking care of the kids/pets if you have any, etc etc… Once you get into it there are a ton of decisions you’ll have to marinate on, haha…

      1. Sarah D September 27, 2019 at 1:06 PM

        I love that idea of breaking “will” into a bunch of mini-steps. That makes each one more do-able and hopefully we’ll actually get the darn thing done at long last! I was thinking after my first comment about how none of these things on my list actively “save” money but are really about overall “financial health”–and that is exactly what I’m aiming for in my life! Early retirement probably isn’t in my future, but financial health is something we’ve been working on our whole marriage and are still striving for, and it’s a nice frame for me to use when approaching tasks and decisions!

        1. J. Money September 27, 2019 at 2:43 PM

          Totally!! You mix that with physical health and that’ll get you a good life until the end of days!! When that will eventually kicks in! ;)

  7. Stephanie t September 26, 2019 at 7:09 PM

    I have a tiny list with mighty goals. Pay car off in 5 months-can I possibly make it happen in 4? If so, I can only do this scrubbing my acts for those extra $$$. Which means I have to sit down and CONCENTRATE!
    Do an October two-week no spend and use up stuff in the pantry.
    Turn in my coins for 3rd quarter.
    Return 1 stupid item to Costco that I have had forever. why is this so freaking hard?
    Mail a box to my niece. It’s full of awesome stuff she doesn’t know is coming. So she’ll be happy and surprised, and I fulfill a kindness-for-no-special-reason weekly goal of mine.
    As usual, I have a lot to do! Maybe my goal should be to finish this list before adding more tweaks?

    1. J. Money September 27, 2019 at 6:16 AM

      I like that no spend/pantry idea :) and the niece one! surprise gifts are the best kinds!! I vote on that one being completed this week, haha…

  8. Stephanie t September 26, 2019 at 7:10 PM

    Scrubbing my accts. Though my acts might need some clean up too.

  9. Tonya September 27, 2019 at 7:50 PM

    First read that title quickly as “One twerk a week” and thought what is this new side hustle? Hahaha! Then I read it again and it made more sense (but with you, one never knows). Not sure what would be on my list but now I’m thinking about it and know I have to make one.

    1. J. Money September 30, 2019 at 6:33 AM

      That would have been a much more fun post to write ;)

  10. Suzie September 29, 2019 at 1:28 PM

    This is a great idea! Love it. I’ve seen this idea (phrased a little differently) in other areas. In fact, I came across a book a number of years ago that suggested this idea (not in a financial sense) and it truly changed my life for the better.

  11. Peej October 25, 2019 at 3:41 PM

    Cancelling subscriptions I no longer use or don’t need. I always set reminders to do so right before they renew, and then forget.

    1. J. Money October 28, 2019 at 6:23 AM

      I guess you need a reminder for your reminder! ;)