With spring right around the corner, it’s time to give your home and finances the once-yearly cleaning they both desperately need. When it comes to money, it’s important to periodically check over accounts and get things organized to avoid problems in the future. With that in mind, take a look at these 5 tips to spring clean your finances.
1. Get organized
Adapt a new filing system or give your current one a buffing. If you prefer keeping your financial documents online, setting up a new organization system on your computer can make it easy to find just what you’re looking for. Having organized finances makes it easy to find any document you need, whenever you need it.
Filing systems may vary, so find a solution that works for your needs. While some may use a single folder for each month of the year, others prefer to use individual files for each account they maintain. If you try a system that doesn’t work, simply choose another.
2. Review bills for hidden fees
Hidden fees can range from auto renewals to zombie subscriptions. Review your credit card statements and bills for sneaky or suspicious charges and cancel them immediately.
Sometimes hidden fees are hard to get rid of. Be prepared to do some work calling, changing credit card information and chasing old accounts to get the charges taken off. Do the work now and it will be one less thing to worry about next year.
3. Shop around for services
The spring is a great time to shop around for insurance, cable TV and other monthly services. Take the opportunity to choose a new provider or plan and get more for your money. Some providers even offer specials in the springs to entice customers to make the switch.
Beware of companies that offer limited-time specials that last for only 6 months or less and then skyrocket to higher prices than you are paying now. These types of scams are designed to bring customers in and then increase their rates when they aren’t paying attention.
4. Look for money leaks
Sometimes you can leave money in places where it gets wasted. Check out your health plan’s flexible spending account to make sure you’re not leaving money in the account that disappears at the end of the year. Storage units that have been untouched for years and unused gift cards are also major offenders. You can make money by fixing your leaks if you hold a yard sale to sell the items in your storage unit or sell the gift cards online.
5. Evaluate your charitable giving
Check out how much you donated to charities through the course of the previous year and determine your budget for this year’s gifts. Set your limit and stick to it. While some may say this is uncharitable, others would agree that it’s just being smart.
Spring cleaning your finances is just as important as spring cleaning your home. Taking a little bit of time now to get things in order will save you a lot of time and money throughout the rest of the year.