Spring Cleaning for Your Finances

Posted on Friday, March 19, 2021 in Financial Education

Spring CleaningSpring Cleaning for Your Finances

As the weather gets warmer, we start thinking about spring cleaning in our homes, but what about our finances? Organizing and cleaning up your finances can help you stay focused on your goals, increase productivity and success, save time, and of course, reduce stress. So how can you get started? Here are some tips:

  1. Bring together your finances. There are many aspects to your financial life; you have your bank accounts, insurance, retirement accounts, loans and credit cards. Gather all your financial information and create files either on your computer or in a filing cabinet. You can create a spreadsheet that documents all your assets and liabilities.
  2. Organize your paperwork. If you receive paper statements, put them into binders organized by date and type of information. Don’t forget to shred old documents that you no longer need. Another great way to declutter is by receiving statements online.
  3. Declutter your accounts. This is a great time to close or combine accounts. For example, you may have a 401k from a former job that you can combine with an existing IRA. And multiple loans may be able to be consolidated into one loan.
  4. Revisit your budget. A lot can change in a year, including your finances. By revisiting your budget annually, you can make adjustments and make sure it is still working for you and your goals. Using a spreadsheet or budgeting app can help to track your actual spending each month.
  5. Save automatically. They say you should always pay yourself first. Automating savings makes accomplishing that even easier. You can specify the amount you wish to save, the frequency, and the date you want funds deposited.
  6. Organize and automate your bills. Bills are just a part of life. The most important thing is to stay on top of them since late or missed payments can result in costly fees and negatively impact your credit. Make a list of your monthly bills and due dates. To simplify bill payment, consider using online bill payment and setting up recurring payments.
  7. Check your accounts regularly. Thanks to technology, monitoring your accounts is easier than ever. With online and mobile banking, you can set and receive alerts to notify you about specific account transactions or balance levels. Monitoring your accounts can also help you avoid overdrafts, stay on track for your goals, and even spot fraudulent transactions.
  8. Set and document your financial goals. Think about what you'd like to accomplish in the short and long term and then write those goals down. Then, determine what you'll need to do to achieve them. For example, if you want to buy a home in five years, how much money will you need to save each month for the down payment? When you determine that, add it to your budget and track your progress.

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