Smart Money Tips

THURSDAY 5:48 p.m., FRIDAY 5:00 a.m.
  • Hosted by Amanda H. Christensen

50-second money tips from Amanda H. Christensen, an Accredited Financial Counselor and Associate Professor for USU Extension specializing in personal finance. As editor of the Utah Money Moms website and social media platforms, she partners with USU Extension colleagues to share real-life money smarts for women of all ages. Amanda is co-author of the PowerPay Money Mastery Online Course. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram @UtahMoneyMoms.

Smart Money Tip: Track Your Expenses

Apr 1, 2021


Simply setting spending limits in a variety of budget categories doesn’t really give you the complete picture. There are likely categories where you may be needing to cut back, trim or reallocate but you won’t know that’s the case unless you track your expenses.

Smart Money Tip: Save As A Family

Mar 25, 2021

Saving as a family starts with setting a goal and making a plan to reach it. Saving just for the sake of saving isn’t very motivating. Saving for a purpose, like a trip to the ice cream shop, can get kids of all ages interested and committed to the process!

Smart Money Tip: Plan To Use Your Tax Return

Mar 25, 2021

Plan now to use your tax return to your benefit. Pay down existing debt, build up your emergency fund, fund your IRA, start a vacation savings account, make home improvements, donate to a local charity, support a local small business.

Smart Money Tip: Know Your Money Personality

Mar 25, 2021

We often fall into the trap of thinking if we just made more money our money problems would go away. In reality, knowing your money personality makes the biggest difference when it comes to dealing with and improving money issues.

Smart Money Tip: Get Ready For Taxes

Mar 25, 2021

Whether you’re preparing to file your own taxes or paying a professional, being ahead of the curve and gathering all necessary documents now will help you avoid the last-minute scramble.

Smart Money Tip: Update Your Beneficiaries

Feb 8, 2021

Did your family status change recently? Even if not, have you taken a moment to review your current beneficiaries? It’s a good idea especially whenever you experience a life change such as marriage, birth, adoption, death, or divorce.

Smart Money Tip: Sign-up For Your MySocialSecurity Account

Feb 1, 2021

Having a MySocialSecurity account at makes it convenient to check your social security statements, change your address, request a replacement card, and manage your benefits online.

Smart Money Tips: Review The Basics

Jan 26, 2021

Knowledge is power. You are more powerful than your circumstances! Even the most basic personal finance principles can be forgotten.

Smart Money Tip: Plan Now To Save

Jan 26, 2021

Do you have a savings wish list? Can you think of things you wish you had saved money for? Whether it’s emergency savings, retirement savings, vacation savings, etc. Plan now to use your tax return to increase your savings.

Smart Money Tip: Get A Financial Checkup

Jan 26, 2021

Start the year off with a financial check-up! You’re probably familiar with a physical check-up at a doctor’s office. This is similar only you’re not at a doctor’s office. 

Smart Money Tip: Audit Your Subscriptions

Jan 7, 2021

Taking an audit of your recurring charges and current subscriptions can help you see where you might be leaking unexpected cash. If you’re looking for a little extra to throw at debt payments each month, this is a great place to start.

Smart Money Tips: Save on Auto Insurance

Dec 17, 2020

Car insurance can be one of your biggest monthly expenses. I’ve found you can usually save on auto insurance by doing one of two things: changing your coverage level or getting a new policy.

Smart Money Tip: Take On A Part Time Job

Dec 10, 2020

Consider a temporary, part-time job to help you achieve your financial goals much faster. If you’ve decided to get rid of debt or save more money for future expenses, then a part-time job can help you get there quicker. A part-time job could also be a way to break into a career or line of business that could end up meaning a bigger full time paycheck.

Smart Money Tip: Improve Your Credit Score

Dec 3, 2020

A good credit score can improve your chances of getting a loan, renting a house, getting good insurance rates, it also means you’ll qualify for better interest rates on a mortgage, saving you thousands over the life of the loan. So how do we improve our credit score? Some of the factors are pretty obvious: pay your bills on time, consistently, over the long-run. Other factors aren’t so obvious.

Smart Money Tip: Mark Your Calendar For December 31

Nov 24, 2020

Mark your calendar for Dec, 31. That’s the last day before Uncle Sam starts collecting federal student loan payments (and charging interest) again. If you or a loved-one have federal student loans, make the most of the next month.

Smart Money Tip: Shop Smart—Lists & Coupons

Nov 12, 2020

Let’s talk spending on household goods, groceries, and clothes. This type of spending can vary greatly from month to month depending on the types of products you buy and strategies you use to plan. Simple strategies of list making and using coupons can help you stick to your budget.

Smart Money Tip: Reduce Your Interest Rates

Oct 28, 2020

It’s wise to get your interest rates as low as possible, reducing the amount you ultimately end up paying. Mortgage and credit card debt are common places to start. Mortgage rates can be reduced by refinancing. Credit card rates can be reduced simply by calling and asking for a lower rate.

Smart Money Tip: Make A Will

Oct 22, 2020

Talking about making a will is a lot like talking about life insurance. It’s necessary, but it might make you uncomfortable. A will is important if you have minor children because it designates where your children will go in the event of you and your spouse’s deaths. A will is also important because it dictates how your assets are divided up among your family when you die.

Smart Tip: Consider A Roth IRA

Oct 22, 2020

Whether you have a 401K at work or not, you can contribute to a Roth IRA each year as long as you meet the income limits. The Roth IRA is great because it allows you to contribute after tax dollars and allows those contributions to grow tax free. If you think your tax rate will be higher in retirement, this is a smart move.

Smart Money Tip: Create A Simple Budget

Oct 8, 2020

We all have expected expenses that vary from month to month. Groceries, household goods, clothes, dining out, entertainment, etc. What I do when I feel like I’m spending too much in these categories is create a simple, selective budget to get this spending back under control.

Smart Money Tip: Trim Your Expenses

Oct 1, 2020

One of the fastest ways to improve your financial situation is to review your list of expenses and look for ways you can eliminate and reduce. This process isn’t about becoming a scrooge, it’s about spending wisely and within your means so you can achieve financial goals faster.

Smart Money Tip: Organize Your Financial Records

Sep 25, 2020

Having your financial records organized and in one spot brings clarity and allows you to quickly find documents for reference. Properly protecting important documents means you won’t have to start over in the event of a fire or other incident.

Smart Money Tip: Evaluate Life Insurance

Sep 25, 2020

If you earn an income and someone else depends on that steady stream of income to survive, then you should probably evaluate your life insurance. Because if you’re gone, your dependents will be left without that income source.

Smart Money Tip: Set A Money Date

Sep 4, 2020

Whether you have joint finances or separate, it’s still important to sit down with your spouse or partner and get on the same page. Similarly, if you’re single, you don’t have a default accountability buddy to discuss your money issues with. You must check in with yourself or a trusted friend or family member from time to time.

Create A SMART Money Goal

Sep 4, 2020

Let’s talk goal-setting. I think written, SMART goals are the way to go versus the more arbitrary goals like “save more” and “have less debt”.

Smart Money Tip: Save For The Short-Term

Sep 4, 2020

Proper money management is a language you never stop learning. It’s important to regularly consume information to keep you motivated and intentional.

Smart Money Tip: Know Your Assets (and Net Worth)

Aug 13, 2020

Knowing your assets will allow you to calculate your personal net worth (assets minus liabilities). It will also give you a sense of what you need to insure, secure, or include in your last will and testament.

Smart Money Tip: Reduce Your Debt

Aug 13, 2020

Whether it’s debt on a credit card, a car loan, student loans, or your mortgage, making an efficient plan to tackle debt doesn’t happen on it’s own. It takes self-discipline and a game plan!

Smart Money Tip: Get To Know Your Monthly Expenses

Aug 13, 2020

No matter the income level, financial success comes from consistently living below one’s means. A review of your monthly expenses will give you a sense of part of the "big picture." It will also give you the information needed to create an emergency fund, a simple budget, and automate your bill paying.

Smart Money Tip: Review Your Credit Report

Aug 13, 2020

It’s not uncommon for your credit reports to contain errors, and these issues can pop up at any time. So it’s a good idea to review your credit reports at least annually, of only for this purpose.