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7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances Thumbnail

7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances

Spring is an ideal time to clean up your finances, clear out the clutter, and get a fresh start. Maybe you have more money left over at the end of the month and could use a budget tweak. Perhaps you have too many automatically recurring expenses, or it’s time to cut back on your credit card spending. Whatever the reason may be, consider the following seven suggestions to get a better handle on your finances this spring!

1. Clean Up Your Spending

Whether you call it a budget or a spending plan, take a look in the rearview mirror over the past 6-12 months and document your recurring bills and expenses. When you inventory those expenses, assign a priority number from one to three, with one being expenses you must meet to avoid being evicted from your home and three being nice to have, but not essential. Clear out or reduce drastically your level three expenses. For example, that $70 cable bill may be a great candidate for your first cut. Consider less expensive streaming services, for example.

2. Put Your Savings on Autopilot

That 70 bucks a month you recouped by disconnecting your cable service can now be redirected automatically to your emergency fund or investment accounts. If you don’t have an emergency fund to cover at least six months' expenses, you could be one or two paychecks away from disaster. It's time to build that up so you have a healthy buffer, if you've not yet done so.

3. Review Your Tax Withholding

You may be looking forward to that big tax refund this year. However, what you have actually done is give the U.S. Government a 12-month interest-free loan. Give it to yourself as a monthly upfront paycheck increase. Consider adjusting your withholding for a better balance and slide that extra money into savings or another investment plan.

4. Inventory Your Material Wealth

Dedicate an hour or two to photographing and cataloging your household possessions. Concentrate on big-ticket items like your furniture and expensive electronics. Write out the approximate amount you paid and when you purchased the piece. As you bring new items into your home, save the receipts and update your inventory. This is especially important when it comes to emergency preparedness in the event of natural disasters for the purpose of filing any insurance claims.

5. Check Into Your Renter or Home-Owner Insurance

Your spring cleaning should include a complete insurance check-up. Go to your insurance files, and this time really read the fine print. Is your coverage adequate to replace everything you inventoried after you followed suggestion #4 above? If you own your home, you probably know that replacement costs have risen everywhere. Make sure you're covered. It wouldn’t hurt to check and possibly upgrade your life insurance and review your disability insurance, especially if your family has grown or your income has gone up.

6. Plug Into Technology

Let the secure technology of our online financial planning platform keep you on the straight and narrow. Want to receive a warning when your account balance gets too low or your credit card spending is over a set amount? Set budget alerts and task reminders to keep yourself on track.

7. Get Your Paper Files in Order

For the financial papers you must keep, devise an orderly filing system. If you’re after a more simplistic method, head to your office supply store and buy an expandable folder with month separator tabs. Stash the papers you usually throw away each month in the appropriate folder. Year-end statements and tax documents can be particularly helpful to keep organized.

Finally, remember that bad financial habits come from neglect and recurring passive spending decisions. Spring is the ideal time to get back in the driver’s seat and revisit your big picture. Clear the clutter and do away with what has not been working for you.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.