For many of us, the idea of finally getting our finances in order sounds equivalent to winning the lottery—nice in theory, unrooted in reality, and based solely on a stroke of luck. And yet it’s something we all want, because if nothing else, it would definitely help us sleep better at night. The problem is that most of us don’t know where to turn for guidance when it comes to all things money, and a recent NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults further confirmed this sentiment: Just 30% of Americans know where to find reputable information and answers to their questions about financial products and topics.
That being said, getting your finances in order isn’t something that should be shied away from. In fact, with the proper knowledge, tools, tips, and tricks, 2023 can be the year you finally get your money right.
Allow me to introduce you to NerdWallet’s Best-Of Awards. NerdWallet is a personal finance company whose mission is to bring clarity to all of life’s financial decisions, and their annual Best-Of Awards can help you make smart, confident money decisions for the year ahead.
Everything you need to know about NerdWallet and the Best-Of Awards
NerdWallet is essentially a one-stop shop for all things finance for consumers and small and mid-sized businesses. Through its website and app, you can compare various financial products, find articles and tools to help you make smart financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances and credit score. Each year, the Nerds over at NerdWallet—a team of writers and editors with years of experience—spend hundreds of hours researching over 1,000 personal finance products across a variety of categories—such as banking, credit cards, mortgages, student loans and more—to determine the best of what the year has to offer.
Enter: NerdWallet’s Best-Of Awards. These awards launch annually in the first week of January and recognize the top personal finance products across multiple categories; they provide us with the right tools and information needed to make informed financial decisions for the year ahead. So regardless of your money goals this year—whether you’re trying to build your savings, visit a bucket list destination, find the right credit card, or buy your own place—NerdWallet and NerdWallet’s Best-Of Awards can help your money goals come to fruition. This is everything you need to finally get your finances right in 2023 with the help of NerdWallet’s Best-Of Awards:
1. Upgrade your credit card
You probably use your credit card without much thought, but have you ever stopped to consider whether or not it’s actually doing anything for you? The truth is, every card has its own perks and bonuses, and there’s no better time than the present to upgrade to one that can do the most for you based on your spending habits, financial needs, and goals.
If you want to build or improve your credit, a student or secured credit card may be right for you. Likewise, if you want to save on interest, you can look into securing a low-interest, 0% APR, or balance transfer card. And if you want to earn rewards for purchases, a cash back or travel rewards card can be beneficial. This is just the tip of the iceberg, which is why NerdWallet has rounded up the top cards of 2023 to help you make an informed decision on how to upgrade.
2. Save more with a cash back credit card
If your credit’s in good standing and you’re able to pay off your bills and balances in full every month, consider upgrading to a cash back credit card. These cards essentially pay you to shop; every time you use your card, you earn a certain percentage of cash that accumulates over time and can then be used however you wish (think: towards a credit card bill, deposited into your bank account, etc.). The percentage you earn will depend on what card you have and where you use it, but typically, you’ll earn anywhere from 1-6%.
What’s more, a lot of these rewards come from simple, everyday purchases—like gas, food, and so on—so you don’t have to splurge or spend unnecessarily to reap the benefits. All in all, a cash back credit card can be a great way to reward yourself and passively make extra income that you can use in the future, and NerdWallet’s list can help you find the right one for you.
3. Take advantage of increased interest rates with a high-yield savings account
The Federal Reserve (AKA “The Fed’) has gradually increased interest rates over the last year to try and combat inflation. While this means borrowing money costs more, it isn’t all bad. In fact, the one silver lining is that money stored in savings and checking accounts, as well as certificates of deposit (CDs), will likely earn more interest. This is a huge financial opportunity everyone can take advantage of, so this year, consider storing your money in a high-yield savings account. After all, having an emergency fund is vital, and NerdWallet has the low-down on the accounts that can help you grow your wealth and reach your financial goals—all without having to lift a finger. Plus, having extra money set aside will help you ward off debt as inflation and interest rates rise.
4. Fund your next vacation with a travel rewards credit card
If you’re itching to travel, don’t wait—start funding your next vacation with a travel rewards credit card. These cards reward you with points or airline miles that can be redeemed for travel expenses such as flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. This is a great way to go on a getaway without pulling from your savings to float the entire trip.
In general, a good travel rewards card helps you earn free trips, can be used overseas without any additional fees, and can cover you in travel-related emergencies (hopefully unlike the ones in The White Lotus). However, that said, it’s important to keep your own wanderlust needs and desires in mind when choosing a card. If you travel often, you might want to get a card with all-purpose travel rewards (think: hotel credits, rental car coverage, airport lounge access, etc.). On the other hand, if you don’t travel frequently, you’ll probably want a card where points don’t expire. Likewise, if there’s an airline or hotel you always use, you might want to consider getting their company’s branded credit card. No matter what you’re looking for, NerdWallet has the breakdown to help make your decision flawless.
5. If you’re in the market, call the shots with your mortgage lender
If your goal this year is to own your own place or move somewhere new, don’t let increased interest rates scare you off. Admittedly, there’s a lot that goes into buying a home, which is why understanding your mortgage options is so vital. The last thing you want is to be unaware of what’s really going on with as big a financial decision as this one, so it’s crucial that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Thanks to NerdWallet, calling the shots with your mortgage lender is easier than ever. Check out this list to learn more about your different mortgage options and more. It may sound like a lot, but arming yourself with this information can help guide you in the right direction and give you the confidence needed to take charge and put yourself in the driver’s seat. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to choose your mortgage wisely, and will trust yourself enough to feel confident in the decision.
*NerdWallet Compare, Inc. NMLS ID# 1617539
*NerdWallet Survey methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from November 10-14, 2022 among 2,064 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].
This post is sponsored by NerdWallet but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.