The One Hour Project: Thirty Ways To Use One Hour To Improve Your Finances – And Open The Door To More Riches

Over the last month, I’ve posted a series of “One Hour Projects” – posts intended to describe a task that will take one hour that will either directly improve your financial state or put you in the position to have financial rewards come to you. Here, in a nutshell, are all thirty one hour projects, divided up into several groups. If you’ve got an hour to spend on getting your finances in a better place, jump into any of these tasks – at the end, you’ll find yourself rewarded financially and perhaps in other ways as well.

Reduce Your Regular Bills

Cleanse Your Monthly Bills Go through your monthly bills in order to find and eliminate excess regular expenses.

Conserve Water Make a few simple changes around your house to trim your water bill considerably.
Reduce the Interest Rate On Your Credit Cards Take a proactive stance and contact your credit card company to get those rates reduced – and thus reduce the interest you’re paying them.
Go Christmas Shopping At Sale Time Take advantage of sales throughout the year to reduce the flood of expenses you’ll incur at Christmas – and at other gifting occasions as well.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Perform several simple one-time tasks to cut down immensely on your monthly energy bill.
Kill the Electricity Phantom Reduce the constant drain of your electrical devices by taking a few simple steps, further reducing your energy bill.

Switch Checking Accounts Eliminate excessive fees of all kinds – and maybe even earn an interest rate – by switching to a different checking account.
Price Compare The Things You Buy Regularly Reduce your monthly shopping bill with a clever technique that reveals the cheapest place for you to shop for the stuff you actually buy.

Make Better Use Of What You Have

Do Some Preventive Maintenance Extend the life span of items in your home by spending a bit of time on preventive maintenance tasks.

Enjoy What You Have Try some interesting ways to increase your enjoyment of the things you already have – and reduce frivolous spending on new things.

Clean Out Your Media Collection Get rid of the media items in your home that you don’t use – and turn them into cash in your pocket with ease.

Perform Basic Car Maintenance Increase the gas mileage of your car significantly with a few simple maintenance tasks anyone can do.

Reduce Your Food & Drink Expenses

Create a Water-Drinking Routine Discover the benefits of drinking water – and find ways to integrate it into your daily routine to decimate your beverage expenses.
Do Some Basic Diet Hacking Make a few very simple modifications to your daily routine to cut down greatly on your dining expenses.

Plan Your Meals For One Week In Advance Use meal planning to greatly reduce your food expenses for the week, both by eating at home and shopping in a cost-effective fashion.
Make a Quadruple Batch of a Casserole Take advantage of buying and preparing food in bulk to reduce the financial and temporal expense of home cooking.

Get Informed

Construct Your Debt Snowball (Or Something Like It) Organize your debts and develop a plan to tackle them directly.

Discover and Catalog Free Events In Your Community Find out about all the free activities in your community – and utilize them to reduce your entertainment costs.
Create A Visual Debt Reminder Give yourself some repeated encouragement for cleaning up your debt by making a debt reminder visual.
Dig Into Your Job Benefits Find out what financial benefits are really available to you through your job – it might be more than you think.

Dig Into A Personal Finance Blog Find out the thoughts and opinions of someone who is passionate about personal finance.

Take A Trip To The Library Discover the resources at your local library, both to reduce your entertainment expenses and to educate yourself about personal finance.

Go Through Your Important Papers Organize your most important documents – and perhaps utilize them to put yourself in better financial shape.

Thoroughly Research A Stock Learn how the stock market works and also find out whether a specific company is worth investing in.
Build Your Own Net Worth Calculator Build a tool to track your financial progress and motivate you to continue making positive steps.

Pave The Way To Greater Success

Touch Base With Professional And Local Acquaintances Connect with people who may be able to connect you with greater success.

Get Involved In Community Volunteering Improve the overall state of the community – and meet similarly-motivated people in the process.

Give Someone A Helping Hand Reach out and help someone – and maybe that help will improve the lives of a lot of people (including yourself).
Keep An Idea Notebook In Your Pocket Keep track of the important ideas that float into and out of your head during a day – one or two of them might be as good as gold.
Open A High-Yield Savings Account (Or An Investment Account) Find a financially lucrative place to put the money you’ve found during these projects.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.