smart spending

You found a $20 bill -- now what?

Buy a little peace of mind
9 of 9

Can $20 help you sleep better at night? Quite possibly, says Todd Mark, vice president of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas.

When you're trying to decide what to do with $20, listen to your "SWAN factor." The acronym stands for whatever helps you "sleep well at night," says Mark, who picked up the concept from late Atlanta radio money reporter Mike Kavanagh, CFP.

So figure out what fuels your SWAN factor. If it's paying down your debt, then throw that money at one of the bills. If it's building an emergency fund, stash it there.

Look at what you can start with it, too, Mark says. While $20 alone "is not going to solve any major financial problems," $20 each week is $1,000 per year -- "and it's suddenly very significant."

Mark says, "Things that are bite-sized may seem insignificant, but they can have a huge impact long term."




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