With spring here, many of us get our households in order. Why not take a cue from this season and give your finances a spring cleaning as well, getting them organized too?
Rather than sweeping away only the dust bunnies in your home while spring cleaning, get your money situation and finances in proper, tidy order as well. Crunching numbers and making financial decisions might not be how you want to spend your time in the warm spring weather, but you’ll feel so much better once you do, and you’ll probably save yourself some money by doing it.
Here are some tasks to add to your financial spring cleaning:
Move debt to the lowest-interest account possible
Have a look at all your credit card debt and lines of credit, and move balances from the higher-interest cards to the lowest-interest ones. Try calling each creditor directly and asking what they can do about your interest rate. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call and a conversation, especially if you’ve been a long-time client in good standing, to score yourself a lower interest rate.
Establish a new budget
Review your current budget, and see how well you stuck to it over the past year. See if what you allocated for various expenses is realistic, and either adjust the amount budgeted or change your habits so you can stick to your budget. (Perhaps this means cancelling your gym membership from your health budget — that gym you never used regularly anyway.)
Set up an emergency fund
If you don’t already do so, start an automatic withdrawal from your account, with the funds going into a savings account on the day you get paid so it is taken out of your bank account immediately. It’s likely you’ll “forget” this has been done, so the saving will seem painless. And before you know it, your nest egg for emergencies will grow steadily to a nice lump sum, giving you peace of mind for those unexpected incidents, such as the roof leaking or your dog needing surgery.
Make a plan to pay off debt
Simply moving around your debt (see above) isn’t enough — actually getting rid of debt is important. If you can’t find more money in your budget to put toward paying off your debt faster, then consider ways to earn more money. That might mean taking on additional work (a freelance gig you can do in the evenings, perhaps?) or selling items you own but don’t need in a yard sale.