It’s time to take a look at your monthly budget and see where you may need to adjust. If you’ve received an annual increase in salary, changed jobs, or incurred a new bill, now is the time to do some tweaking.
- Review your financial and personal goals. Adjust any savings or budgeting for your short and log term goals.
- Do you have money left over after your budget? Or do you have negative income after bills are paid? Look for where you can cut back on spending to free up more income or where you can apply the extra if you have money left over after the budget.
- Check in on your emergency savings. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 6 months of your monthly income set aside for the unexpected.
- Up your savings goal. If you’re already allotting certain percentage or a flat dollar amount to go to savings each month, consider upping the amount by 1-5% percent
Review your credit report
You should review your credit report at least once each year to check for accuracy and to know where your credit standing is. You're entitled to one free annual report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—which you can request at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can request all three at once, or spread them out over the year and request from one bureau every four months until you’ve requested from all three.
Automating your bills has several advantages. It saves time and provides added security since you do not have to wait for bills to arrive in the mail or sit unprotected in your mailbox. Using electronic Bill Payment gives you the freedom to pay your bills from your checking account where you can set the date, amount, and even have the payment automatically recur each month.
Consolidate the Clutter
Not being able to find things can result in a lost bill, buying the same thing twice, and even an increase in stress. While you’re Spring cleaning, consider cleaning up old paperwork, centralizing where incoming documents and bills are placed, and setting aside physical, quiet space to review your bills and budget each month. While reviewing documents, consider scanning documents that you do not need to keep and then shredding the paper. This not only reduces the clutter, it helps to protect your identity.
Clean Up Your Wallet
Limit the number of credit cards you carry. This will help curb impulse spending and free up some real estate in your wallet. Go through your wallet or purse to find forgotten discount cards. Check the balances and expiration dates.
10 Ways to Save When Spring Cleaning Your House
- Have a yard sale. If you’re looking to scale down on the clutter, host a yard sale and use the funds to help pay down a credit card or to go towards your Spring cleaning budget.
- Refresh and repurpose. Save on buying new décor buy revitalizing what you already own. Paint a dresser in a fresh, new color, update a picture frame with decorative beading, sand and refinish that coffee table.
- Donate to charity. Before tossing clothes or storing items after that yard sale, consider donating gently loved items to charity. Save the receipt to provide your tax advisor for potential savings when filing your taxes.
- Rent equipment for spring landscaping or home improvement. Go to your local hardware store and compare the cost of renting versus buying new equipment to spruce up your house.
- Shop spring discounts. Before you run out to buy a new vacuum cleaner, shop around for the best sale.
Spring cleaning your financial house can leave you feeling calmer, refreshed, and more confident about your financial well-being. With this renewed peace of mind, you can tackle those other Spring projects you’ve been meaning to get to!