Spring is almost here, and while you may be thinking about cleaning out your closets and decluttering your home, it's also a great time to take a look at your finances as well. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Review Your Budget: Take a look at your current budget and see if it still fits your needs. Over time, priorities and interests can shift, so it’s good to check in and make sure everything you are spending on lines up with where you are now. Are there any areas where you can cut back? Are there any expenses that you can eliminate altogether? Do you need to adjust areas based on rising costs?
- Review Subscriptions: You may be signed up for a service without even realizing it. Remember, most subscriptions can be paused, so if you’re done watching that one show, or plan to spend less time in front your tv as the weather gets warmer, now might be a good time to ‘press pause’. Write down all your subscriptions, along with the costs of each, and determine whether or not you are getting your money’s worth.
- Organize Your Documents: Go through your financial documents, such as bank statements, bills, and tax returns, and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Consider using a filing system or digital organization tool to keep everything in one place and easily accessible.
- Check Your Credit Report: Your credit report is an important aspect of your financial health. Review it carefully to ensure there are no errors or fraudulent activity. If you do find any issues, report them to the credit bureau immediately. You have the right to request one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Go to annualcreditreport.com to request your free copies – and remember, you never have to enter a credit card number or sign up for a ‘trial’ to get your free credit report copies!!
- Evaluate Your Progress on Your Yearly Financial Goals: Did you set any financial goals at the start of the new year? Are there goals that no longer make sense, one’s you want to refocus on, or new goals you want to add? Now is a great time to evaluate your progress, and review what is working for you, and what you want to change.
- Evaluate Your Debt: Take a look at your current debt and create a plan to pay it off. Consider consolidating high-interest debt, and look at your budget to see where you can cut down on adding new debt. If your credit score has improved since taking out loans or credit cards, you can reach out to your creditors to see if you qualify for lower rates.
- Set Up Automatic Payments: Consider setting up automatic payments for bills and other recurring expenses. This will help you avoid late fees and ensure that you're always on top of your finances.
- Build an Emergency Fund: If you have not already, make a plan to set aside some money each month to build up an emergency fund. This will give you a financial safety net in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies. Check out our recent blog on some ways to get started!
Spring cleaning your financials can feel overwhelming, but it can be a helpful step in achieving financial wellness. By following these tips, you can get your finances in order and set yourself up for success in the months and years to come. If you need additional guidance or support, remember – we’re here for you. Whether it’s helping you review your budget, working on consolidating high interest debt, or doing a credit score analysis, one of our friendly, local employees is here to help!