Take a Moment to Tally Your Cash

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Saving money these days is de rigueur. So you might as well make the most of it -- literally. Here are some painless ways to make the money you already have go further.

Find your loose change
Review your current investments, including your work retirement plan, IRAs, and that change jar sitting on top of the dresser.

Start a scorecard
Note interest rates you're earning on your savings. If you own stocks or mutual funds, how do they stack up against the plain old vanilla S&P 500 Index Mutual Fund? Lastly, what are you paying to park your cash? Scrutinize any fees you pay (to your bank, brokerage, fund family). Your goal is to keep all fees below 2% of the value of your holdings.

Don't let your cash crash
Is your savings languishing in an account earning a pittance in interest? If you know you're not going to touch the money for the next six months or longer, stash it in an account that's worth your while. There are several savings options for your short-term cash, including money market accounts, money market funds, Certificates of Deposit, or inflation-indexed savings bonds. Not worth your bother? Remember, even just a few fractions of a percentage point can make a difference (use these online calculators to see how much), particularly on savings in the five-figure range and above.

Give your long-term investments a chance
Use the power of the stock market to make your money multiply faster. During the past century, the market has returned an annual average of around 10% to investors. Feeling daunted? A low-cost mutual fund makes for an easy way to enter the market. If you've got five years or longer before you need your investment reserves, a low-cost mutual fund may be the first, last, and even only investment you need.

Supersize it
The path to market-beating returns is paved with great company stocks. Once you have a sense of the basics, start evaluating businesses to see whether you have the Buffett touch. And remember, your goal when investing is to keep fees in check, by not overpaying to trade or trading in and out of stocks too often.

Take stock of your savings on a regular basis -- at least once a quarter, if not once a month.

Further frugal Foolishness:

This article was originally published on June 18, 2008. It has been updated.

Foolish personal finance expert Dayana Yochim is the author of The Motley Fool's Guide to Couples & Cash. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 970226, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 5/24/2016 11:56:35 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Dayana Yochim

Today's Market

updated 2 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,706.05 213.12 1.22%
S&P 500 2,076.06 28.02 1.37%
NASD 4,861.06 95.27 2.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes