Saving money is practical, sure, but having cash stashed away can also empower you to design the life of your dreams. For Nicole Lapin — New York Times bestselling author of Rich Bitch and host of The CW’s business reality competition show Hatched — saving is about freeing life from unnecessary stress. “Saving money when you can is essential, even if it’s a minimal amount,” she asserts. “You need to have funds available if something unexpected happens, you’re not making money, and still need to cover expenses. This should be your focus before anything else — including investing or even putting money into retirement.” To prove that a little can go a long way in helping you live your best life, Lapin gave us her short list of five smart things you can do with just a hundred dollars.

Nicole Lapin

1. Make an extra credit card payment. Ditching debt is a pro move when it comes to managing your money. “If you’ve got an additional $100 on hand, put it towards lowering your overall balance,” Lapin advises. “And to stay on track after that, tap into digital tools; I love using Eno from Capital One. Once you’ve signed up, it can help you avoid missing payments by reaching out if you haven’t paid your bill the day before it’s due. It’ll also let you know if there’s something unusual happening in your account, like a double charge.”

2. Brush up on a skill (or learn a new one). Learning something new can help you feel personally fulfilled or make your work life easier. And investing in yourself is an idea that money pros consistently recommend. “Whether it’s something you’re passionate about or extra training that will make you even more valuable in your profession, educating yourself is one of the best things you can do,” agrees Lapin. Sign up for something local, or try an online class that piques your interest; nowadays, the sky’s the limit!

3. Invest in your personal brand. A hundred bucks may be all it takes to give your personal brand a real boost — which can mean growing your business or side hustle, or even getting hired for your dream job. “Purchase your personal URL and create a website (even if it’s just a simple landing page), invest in updating your résumé, and order (or re-order) a new round of business cards,” Lapin suggests.

4. Give your savings account some love.Some financial rules are good to break, but others — like having a solid emergency fund — are guidelines that are essential to pay attention to. “Ideally, you should be working toward having six to nine months of savings in the bank; closer to 12 months if you have a more unpredictable job, such as real estate agent,” Lapin tells us.

5. Treat yourself. Having an extra hundred dollars at your disposal definitely might warrant a well-deserved treat. Lapin agrees: “Let yourself get that sweater, pair of shoes, or whatever it is you’ve been wanting — without the guilt.” Echoing Fiscal Femme Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, who schooled us on why banishing your budget is a good idea, Lapin reminds that a financial “diet” is much like a healthy eating plan. “Small indulgences along the way ensure you won’t binge when you’re feeling money hangry.”

What would you do with an extra hundred dollars? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photo via Nicole Lapin, featured photo via Getty)

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