7 Tips for Financial Spring Cleaning
Spring’s arrival is the perfect time to tackle ambitious spring cleaning projects like purging closets and pantries. But spring cleaning should go beyond living spaces—your finances can likely use some attention, too. Here are several ways you can review and refresh your financial life:
Refresh your budget – A realistic and balanced budget is the #1 tool in your financial arsenal. Take a close look at what you spend now, how much you make and your financial goals. How can you adapt spending patterns to free up more money? Is your budget filled with wants or needs? Document your budget on a simple worksheet or online, and review monthly to ensure you’re on track.
Try out a mobile app — Mobile apps like Mint, PocketGuard or Level make it easy and convenient to improve your personal finance habits. Each has different features based on your needs—some help with budgeting and bill pay, while others assist with paying off debts or monitoring your credit score.
Establish a bill-paying process – Enlist in auto-bill pay programs or create a calendar to track bills and due dates. An established process is especially important for families, couples or roommates who may need to split bills. Define each person’s role and set reminders to help ensure bills get paid on time.
Create a plan to pay off your debt – Don’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of a debt-free life. Adjust your budget and make a commitment to paying off credit cards and student loans. If you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, we can help. Our Credit Counseling is free, confidential and can help you create an action plan for paying off debt.
Review your insurance policies – As your life changes, your insurance needs change, too. When was the last time you took a look at all your insurance policies? Chat with your insurance providers about the possibility of securing lower rates on auto, life or home insurance. A lower monthly payment frees up more money in the rest of your budget.
Shred old financial documents – The IRS recommends keeping tax returns and other important documents for at least seven years after you file the return. Go through your tax files, shred older files and create a system that keeps your paperwork organized so it is easily accessible. Check out Bankrate’s reference sheet to determine how long you should keep various types of financial documents.
Stop clutter before it starts – If you thought it was impossible to avoid credit card and loan solicitations, think again. You can opt out of most by visiting optoutprescreen.com or calling the national credit bureau’s hotline at 1-888-5-OPTOUT (67-8688).