Spring is here! With the weather FINALLY warm enough to open the windows and enjoy some fresh air, also comes the urge to spring clean. While cleaning out your house and closet may be top on the list, it’s also not a bad idea to freshen up your finances. Here’s a few tips to de-clutter, reorganize and keep those finances in check.
1. Organize a Filing System
Is your collection of papers, bills and receipts on your desk looking more like a mountain? Get a filing cabinet or even some cheap plastic drawers to start a filing system and organize papers by categories. Get a separate basket to put important mail/bills in right away, so they don’t get lost in the stack. Create a folder/bin for each person in your home to help keep each person’s paperwork separate and easy to find (a must have for large families!). You could also try turning an unused Mason jar into a jar to store receipts in, so they are easier to find and not stuffed in your wallet or purse.
2. Shred it
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as clearing out excess clutter. As you go through your papers, create digital copies of all important documents (and back up to your external hard drive!). Then feed those papers to the shredder. Sign up for eStatements for any bills or accounts that offer it. Clearing your desk of piles will be good for both your mind and your finances.
3. Review Regular Expenses and Purge
Do you really need all those online subscriptions? Do you eat out more often than you need to? Go through your regular monthly expenses to see where you can save on things you don’t really use or can do without – like that daily $4.00 coffee or $20 monthly cosmetics subscription box. Set a goal to make more coffee at home, and cancel or reduce unnecessary subscription services.
4. Clean up your credit
Get a free annual credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting companies through annualcreditreport.com. This will help ensure you know where your overall credit score stands should you need to apply for a loan. It will also give you the opportunity to make sure your credit information is accurate, and give you a better insight to what actions hurt and help your credit score.
5. Update Beneficiaries
Have there been changes to your family in the past year? Make sure all of your retirement and insurance accounts are up to date and also review your will.
6. Evaluate and pay off your debt
Evaluate how much you owe, and how much you are paying in interest. Consider consolidating multiple debts into a single loan to simplify payments (ask about a low rate home equity loan!). Refinancing the loan you are paying the most interest on (such as an auto, mortgage or student loan) might also help pay off debt faster and save you money.
Once you have your paperwork and your bills in order, your personal finances will be easier to manage. So as your opening your windows to clean and switching out your wardrobe for warmer weather – don’t forget to take a little time to tackle your finances. Your wallet will thank you later.