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4 smart money moves to make this summer

Use a high-yield savings account to save toward financial goals at top rates. CAROL YEPES/Getty Images

Between current economic challenges related to inflation and high interest combined with the potential for a recession, you may be feeling more uncertain about your own financial situation.

But as a new season approaches, you can make the most of the current economic environment to secure your financial future. Below, we've outlined a few options to consider this summer, depending on your financial outlook and current situation.

If saving money is one of your financial goals, start by comparing today's top savings account to see how much more interest you could be earning.

4 money moves to make this summer

Here are four things you can do over the next few months to set yourself up for financial success.

Open a high-yield savings account

With interest rates higher than they've been in years, and savers benefiting from APYs of 4.5% and above, now is a great time to put some money in to a high-earning account. High-yield savings accounts, in particular, are very accessible, so they're ideal for saving your emergency fund or other short-term savings you may need to access at any time.

To find the right high-yield savings account, look for a competitive interest rate. Right now, many savings accounts offer upwards of 4% APY, though some are inching even closer to 5%. The interest rates on these accounts are usually variable, so they may fluctuate over time as federal rates change. By starting to save now, you can take advantage of these high rates for as long as possible.

Other account details to consider include fees, minimum balance or deposit requirements and options for making transfers and withdrawals. You should also confirm that any high-yield account you open is FDIC-insured, which will protect up to $250,000 in deposits you make (per depositor and per institution) against bank failure.

Compare the best savings account rates available now here.

Tap into your home equity

While the market may be evolving, home values are still high across the country. If you're a homeowner looking to preserve the value of your home against volatile real estate markets, consider whether a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be a good borrowing option for you.

While you can use the funds you borrow from your home equity for any purpose, you may get the most benefit from using them toward a home renovation or remodeling project. The interest accrued on these loans and lines of credit are tax-deductible, as long as "the borrowed funds are used to buy, build, or substantially improve the taxpayer's home that secures the loan," according to the IRS.

And long-term, the equity you put back into your home using the borrowed money can help maintain its value over time. Learn more about home improvements that can best boost your home equity here and compare today's top home equity rates here now.

Pay down existing debt

With today's high interest rates, one of the best things you can do to improve your finances is pay down any existing debt

Compounding interest can result in thousands of additional dollars on top of the principal you borrow, whether you owe money on a personal loan, auto loan, credit card or something else. High-interest credit card debt, especially, may be earning upwards of 20% APY, depending on your card's terms. 

Your savings may be one way to help reduce your existing debt. If you have a large amount saved it could be worth putting some toward your debt while leaving enough to stay protected against emergencies. 

A home equity loan or line of credit may be another option for homeowners. It's especially important to meet the repayment terms of these borrowing options, or you could risk losing your home. But because they're secured against the value of your home, you may also qualify for lower interest rates than other debt consolidation options.

Save with a travel rewards credit card

A travel rewards credit card with rewards categories that fit with where you spend most can help you maximize the money you spend to put back toward future purchases. Plus, a travel rewards card can help you save on today's expensive travel costs — whether you're still considering a summer vacation or saving toward a trip during the winter holiday season. 

Take the $95 annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example. You can earn points on the purchases you make today, then redeem those points toward travel at a value of 1.25 cents per point (when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards). That means 60,000 points earned with the card — the amount you'll get from the welcome bonus after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening — is equal to $750 worth of travel through Chase.

If you're planning to travel anytime in the near future, opening a travel credit card today can help you save. Just make sure you avoid taking on high-interest debt by spending only what you can afford and paying your balance in full and on time each month. Find the right travel card for you here.

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

The bottom line

To set yourself up for financial success in the future, it pays to start taking action today. Given steep interest rates, prioritizing paying down high-interest debt while earning money on savings with a high-yield savings account can help you make the most of the current rate environment

At the same time, taking advantage of still-high home prices to borrow from your home equity at relatively low rates can help you access funds for maintaining that value or working toward other goals. And maximizing your spending with a travel rewards credit card can help you save on trips you take this summer or in the future. 

Start working on your financial plan for the summer to make sure you're on the right path to meet your financial goals this year and beyond. 

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