The 52-week savings challenge
- Take a coffee and lunch break. Instead of going out, opt for homemade. Depending on your typical expenditure, this could be enough to meet some late-year savings goals.
- Save your change. Whenever you use cash, deposit the coins and bills you get back.
- Temporarily suspend streaming services. Your favorite shows will still be there to binge-watch when you rejoin. Need an escape? Spend time reading. An Economist/YouGov poll found that nearly half of Americans read zero books last year. If you can’t make it to a public library, you can download — free — e-books and audiobooks.
B.O.M. — The best of Michelle Singletary on personal finance
If you have a personal finance question for Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, please call 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).
My mortgage payoff story: My husband and I paid off the house in the spring of 2023 thanks to making extra payments and taking advantage of a mortgage recast. Even though it lowered my perfect 850 credit score and my column about it sparked some serious debate with readers, it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve made.
Credit card debt: If you’re in the habit of carrying credit card debt, stop. It’s just a myth that it will boost your credit score. For those looking to get out of credit card debt, see if a balance transfer is right for you.
Money moves for life: For a more sweeping overview of my timeless money advice, see Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones. The interactive package offers guidance for every life stage, whether you’re just starting out in your career or planning for retirement.
Test yourself: Do you know where you stand financially? Take our quiz and read more personal finance advice.