Spring cleaning might be a heinous thought, and it might usually apply to cleaning the house. However, everyone could do with spring cleaning their finances once in a while. Whether it be clearing some old debts, creating a few more spreadsheets or completing your tax statement, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your finances sparkling clean.
In a world where the average American household has around 20 bank cards, and is around $10,000 in debt, it is increasingly important to keep track of your financial situation.
Review you and your family’s spending budget from the last few winter months. Are there some areas where your spending could be cut down? Maybe you’re eating out a little too often? There are always improvements to be made – see if you can adjust to a healthier budget in time for spring.
Freshen up investments
There are almost always better deals to be had. Whether it be the cost of heating your home, car insurance or cell phone data plan, shop around to find the best offers. Alternatively, if you suggest to your current provider that you are considering leaving, they may offer you a sweeter deal.
Toss out unnecessary accounts
Time to close those bank accounts that you never really use but always hang on to. Pay particular attention to any outstanding 401(k) accounts from previous employers, and see if you can gather your retirement funds in one place. Bear in mind that closing credit card accounts could have a negative effect on your credit score, but it is probably worth it if the account is unused and charges you annual fees.
Maybe even shop around for a better place to bank. Could you be earning a higher yield on your savings elsewhere? Is there another account with a better interest rate? Sometimes, you might even be paying higher banking fees because your balance is not at a certain amount. In this case, consider switching banks so that you avoid any unnecessary fees.
Dust away paper records
This one is a lifesaver for those who cannot seem to stop creating financial clutter in their homes. Think of it as a bit of traditional spring cleaning! Most bank accounts now offer paperless statements, meaning that you can access your finances online. This way, you will no longer have to find a home for countless letters and statements you receive.
Mop up old debts
It is not always wise to transfer all your credit card debt to one credit card at a reduced interest rate. If you feel that you would not be able to live without using the other credit cards and racking up further debt, then do not give this a go. However, if you can do it, transferring all of your debt to one credit card can make it easier to pay off in the future.
While some options such as consolidating debt are not for everyone, there are plenty of other ways to spring clean your finances. Almost everyone could benefit from shopping around for the best deals on their utilities, or setting up automated transfers from checking account to savings account.