Just like you may take extra time to clean your house each spring, it’s also important to: clean, organize, and refresh your finances so your financial well-being can flourish.
Financial Spring Cleaning Tips:
- Request a free credit report. Every 12 months, you can obtain a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax®, ExperianTM, and TransUnion®. Review the report(s) to check for and correct any errors. Just one negative item that doesn’t belong can significantly impact your score. Dispute any errors and allow 30-45 days for the investigation to be completed. By maintaining a healthy credit score, it’ll be much easier to make any big and important purchases, such as buying a home.
- Tidy up your debt. Get back on track by analyzing your spending and budgeting, paying bills on time, and using your credit wisely. Begin by catching up on late payments and paying down credit card debt and loans; pay those with the highest interest rates first. Or, consider transferring high balances to a lower-rate credit card. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk strategy with a debt management consultant to help get you back on track.
- Plan ahead for big purchases. Map out any big purchases you foresee for yourself or your family in the future. With these goals in mind, it’ll help keep your savings on track, so you aren’t left with mountains of debt later on.
- Dust off spending habits. Are you spending more than you can afford? Start by looking at monthly recurring charges and re-assess what’s working and what isn’t working for you, financially. People can often find at least one or two items to eliminate, such as: a home phone line, cable, that second tv streaming service, or a sock of the month club subscription.
- Purge clutter. Shred old financial papers and documents you don’t need anymore. Items such as: ATM receipts, bank deposits, and pay stubs can be shredded after they appear on your bank statement. You can also throw away credit card and utility bills after you have paid and received payment confirmation. Shred documents with personal information before tossing in the trash; proper disposal of these items can help prevent identity theft.
- Opt for paperless. You can also reduce clutter by enrolling in Online Banking or a mobile app to access Web BillPay and eStatements. This will help you reduce paper and decrease the number of bills and statements sent to your home to help fight the onset of any potential identity theft. Plus, you’ll be able to get a live snapshot of your account(s) to better track your spending.
- Double-check your beneficiaries. Review financial accounts and insurance policies to make sure your money is going where you want it to go. You get married, have kids, or get divorced and too often you forget to revisit the beneficiaries on your account(s).
- Polish your budget. A budget is one of the best tools to tackle any financial difficulties you might be facing and plays a big role in how you spend and save money. If you need help getting started, you can follow this helpful step-by-step list on how to create a budget. Stick to it, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll achieve those financial goals.
- Keep your finances organized with a money management tool. Connect all your accounts to get a complete view of your finances, including accounts, loans, and investments from other institutions. With money management, effortlessly watch your spending, create savings goals, and keep track of your budget all from one convenient location.
Spring is the time for new beginnings and fresh starts, so why not do the same for your finances? Take the opportunity to update your budget, pay off debt, and achieve good financial standing. If doing all these tasks at once seems daunting, it’s okay. Consider tackling one task each month to help you stay motivated or you can certainly complete them all at once. Even if you do just one thing on the list, you’ll be so much better off.