After the long winter season, the majority of us are ready for things to finally warm back up again. But the spring season isn’t just about pleasant, sunny afternoons and flowers in bloom; it’s also about starting over. Every now and again, we as human beings need a fresh start and the spring season is the perfect time to hit the reset button.
As the saying goes, “a clean home is a happy home,” which is why so many of us kick off the spring season with a good old-fashion house-cleaning. But what about finances? Is it necessary to clean out the financial “closet,” too? If you want to avoid the need for a cash advance every time a financial emergency comes your way, then it’s a good idea to make sure your finances are organized and you have a budget in place that you can stick to. Here are 5 tips on how to give your finances the proper “spring cleaning” they need:
Kick off your financial spring cleaning by taking a close look at your current budgetary plan: Are you still on track? Do you have room to improve? Is there anything you can change to save yourself more money? All of these questions should be addressed when re-evaluating your budget.
To help minimize your clutter, spring is an ideal time to make the commitment to go paperless. Visit the websites for all of your bank, credit card and utility accounts to opt-in for paperless statements. Not only will this help you to keep your finances organized, but you’ll be doing your small part in helping the environment, too.
Are you still carrying credit card debt from the holidays? A huge step towards cleaning up your finances is to develop a pay-off plan for your credit cards. By making a plan to eliminate your credit card balances, you can work toward the true financial freedom that comes with a debt-free existence. The first step to getting rid of the debt? Stop using your credit cards and close the accounts.
Checking your credit score is an important part of knowing where you stand financially. It grades you based on a variety of factors, including your debt to income ratio, payment history to lenders and creditors, age of your accounts and a number of other metrics. You can use apps like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma to check your score today for free.
Lastly, sell off your junk for extra cash. We all accumulate things we no longer need or use over the years and spring is the perfect time to declutter and cash in at the same time. Go through your closets, attic, basement, garage and anywhere else you may have stuff you no longer use, need, want or care for. You can sell online on sites like eBay, Craiglist and Letgo, or if you’re not all that tech savvy, you could have a traditional yard sale. The money you could potentially make from selling your junk could give you the financial boost you need to get ahead this year.
So before you break out the mop and scrub brushes, you may want to think about breaking out your bank statements and cleaning out your paperwork drawer first. The year is still young and there’s plenty of time to financially prepare yourself for the months ahead. Happy spring cleaning!