Spring is a perfect time to thoroughly reevaluate your finances. Just like you spring clean your home and its surrounding, a financial spring cleaning can help you freshen up your personal finances. Your goals may vary from saving for an emergency fund or lowering credit card debt. However, the important thing is taking a fresh approach.
Financial Spring Cleaning Tips
Here are some things that you should look at when considering financial spring cleaning:
Assess your debt and figure out what you currently owe – Add up your student loans, mortgage, credit card debt, and anything else that you’re paying interest on. Is your current repayment plan working? Or do you need a new strategy for paying down credit card debt? Hence, here are some of your options to begin your financial spring cleaning.
- Compare interest rates research balance transfer options
- Refinance your mortgage if the conditions are right
- Contact a credit card counselor to help consolidate your debt
Assess your budget – To do this, make a list of all of your income and all of your planned expenses. You can use a Budgeting worksheet or a smartphone budgeting app to get started. Even if you already have a budget, spring cleaning is a good time to update your budget. These updates can include changes from the last year such as a rent increase or a change in your income. The next step is to take a deeper look at your expenses. Look for ways to save. Some expenses are non-negotiable, but there are many opportunities for savings.
Do some literal financial cleaning – The IRS recommends keeping tax records and other documents for three years. If you’ve got receipts and statements older than three years, make some space in your file cabinet for the new records. Start creating a will and power of attorney documents if you don’t already have them. If you do, make sure that the beneficiaries are current in case anything is different since drafting the originals. Make sure you shred any documents that you no longer need.
Evaluate retirement strategy – Consolidate any retirement accounts from past jobs. Take time to reassess your investment strategy. Consider increasing your 401(k) contribution, especially if your employer has a matching program. This is also a great way to reduce your tax liability.
Finish up your financial spring cleaning by checking your credit report in April – You get a free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Therefore, you should check one of your credit reports once every four months. This can be done at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for any discrepancies or anything that may prohibit you from completing your financial goals. Report any errors and make any changes.
Do you need help with the debt relief process? If so, speak with a certified credit counselor at American Consumer Credit Counseling today by calling 800-769-3571.