by 

Senior Writer

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Remember overdrafting while you waited for your next paycheck to come — that was the worst, am I right?

There’s not enough money in your bank account — so your bank gets its revenge by helping itself to $35 of all that money you don’t have.

Ho ho ho, I just love overdraft fees, you say to yourself. What a fun game this is!Thanks a lot, BANK.

But you’ve moved past that. You’ve finally reached a point in your life where you have a real job and a grown-up income. It’s a sweet feeling and a serious win. You’ve achieved a level of financial stability, and you’re not getting hit with these ridiculous fees.

What to Do Now That You Don’t Have to Worry About Money So Much

Now that you’re not worried about running your bank account down every week, it’s time to think about what you want to achieve next with your money. Do you need to save more? Buy a home? Invest?

What’s the next step you should take? This is all part of adulting, you know. What are some specific things you can do you to take your finances to the next level?

We’ve got some ideas for you:

1. Invest in Real Estate — Even If You’re Not Rich

Now that the ground beneath your feet is stable, it’s time to spread your wings further.

Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.

Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be invested in portfolios that own real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

2. Get a Big Discount on Your Car Insurance

You’re probably overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

3. Secure $1 Million in Life Insurance for Just $25/Month

“The biggest mistake I see millennials making is being duped by insurance salesmen,” says Andy Yadro, a financial planner with Googins Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin. “Everyone needs insurance, but a very small subset of young people need the insurance that is sold by most ‘financial advisors.’”

You might still consider a basic life insurance policy, which can be useful if you have loved ones who rely on your income — a significant other, a child or even a relative you help out financially.

A company like Policygenius offers you an easy way to compare and buy life insurance. Unlike traditional providers, this online-only platform provides an easy way to apply, and it offers instant quotes from top carriers online to help you make a quicker decision.

To get your quotes, you’ll just enter some info about yourself and your health online. Once you choose a life insurance company, you can apply right online, and a Policygenius rep will give you a quick call to ask a few follow-up questions.

4. Opt in for Autopay to Save on Bills

PRO TIP

Opting in for autopay on some of your bills could earn you a discount.

Because the fear of overdrafting isn’t hanging over your head anymore, you have no reason to fear autopay now. ANOTHER ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Cell service providers, utilities and student loan companies all love it when you opt into a monthly autopay plan. That way, they can count on your payment rolling in like clockwork.

They love it so much, they might even give you a discount. For example, many student loan providers will give you a quarter-percent discount on your interest rate for using an autopay function, and that savings will really add up over time.

Lots of cell phone companies will kick in a monthly discount of around $5 if you use autopay.

This also helps with credit cards. If you make your payments automatically, they’re never late — so your credit cards won’t jack up your interest rates.

5. The Bank Might Loan You up to $100K

Now that you’re salary is higher, you have a better chance of qualifying for a personal loan up to $100K. This can be useful if you want to consolidate debt, take on some home renovation or to start a business.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. If your credit score is at least 620, its platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 3.84% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

6. Earn 23 Times More Interest

It’s time to move your money into the 21st century. An app called Varo Moneycombines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: With a Varo Savings Account you’ll earn 2.12%* Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

That’s 23 times — repeat, 23 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.09% average reported by the FDIC.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of the more than 55,000 Allpoint® ATMs in its affiliated network across the world, you won’t pay ATM fees.

Additionally, the minimum balance to open the account is just a penny; you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay any fees charged by out-of-network ATMs and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through the Green Dot® Network.

*Varo disclosure: APY is accurate as of January 29, 2019. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open account. Balance in savings must be at least $0.01 to earn interest. Deposits are FDIC insured to at least $250,000 through The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.