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Organize Your Finances: Spring Cleaning for Your Finances

 

Spring is the perfect time to organize your finances and save some money. By following these simple money management tips, you'll be well on your way.

 

Get credit cards under control

  • Check the terms and interest rates on your cards. Shop around to see if you can find a better deal to replace high rate, high fee cards
  • Consider limiting the number of cards you have. When all your spending is on one card, you'll have a better picture of what you owe and where your money goes
  • Make a plan to pay down your debt. The less you owe, the less you'll pay over time in interest

 

Simplify your banking

  • If you have accounts at more than one bank, think about streamlining and doing all your banking a one institution. With all your money at one bank, you may qualify for better interest rates and perks like free online banking and checks
  • It will also be easier to keep track of your saving and spending habits
  • If available, take advantage of the bank's email or text message alerts to let you know what your balance is and if you're approaching any preset limits on your accounts. Avoiding going over your limits will save you money on fees

 

Review your insurance policies

  • Shop around for better rates on your homeowners or renters and auto insurance. You can also lower your insurance costs by increasing your deductible. Check to see that you have adequate coverage if you've made home improvements
  • If you have life insurance, make sure still want the same beneficiary you chose when you bought the policy, especially if you've gotten divorced or had another major life change

 

Organize your paperwork

  • To prevent late payments due to misplaced bills, set up a filing system and keep your bills in one place
  • Set up payment reminders on your calendar or cell phone to make sure payments are on time
  • Keep important documents in a fireproof box or safe
  • Shred old documents like ATM receipts (after you get your monthly bank statement), utility and phone bills (after you've paid them) and pay stubs (after you receive your W-2 form from your employer)

 

Revisit your investments and financial plans

  • Check the performance and balance of your retirement accounts. If you have several accounts, consider consolidating them with a rollover
  • Update or create your will. Also decide if you want to give someone power of attorney so they can handle your finances if you are too ill to do so
  • Review your budget and savings goals yearly 
  • Check your credit report for errors once a year at Annual Credit Report or by calling 877-322-8228. Be sure you use this site, the only one that provides a free annual report

 

Set the stage for a brighter financial future

A little financial spring cleaning each year can help you stay on top of managing your money and make it easier to reach your financial goals.