With warm days right around the corner, it’s once again time to do some spring cleaning. However, in addition to clearing out your wardrobes and polishing the floors, this is an ideal time of year to tidy your finances as well.
Maintaining clarity and control over your finances can be difficult at best. It’s all too easy to become obsessed over a couple of things, such as an underwater mortgage, high credit card debt, overwhelming student loan debt, and so on, you feel will make or break your short-term finances.
By taking a little time this spring to trade in your cleaning gloves for a calculator, computer, and filing cabinet, you can regain clarity of your financial situation, get your affairs in order, and prepare for financial success in the new year. Here’s a financial checklist to help you sweep through your finances this spring.
Begin Using Mint
Financial planners know all too well that a person’s ability to save is the best indicator of their future wealth. However, before you can save, you have to first know where your money goes, and Mint is the simplest way to pay attention to your spending. You can gain much more financial clarity within five minutes of using Mint than you can with virtually every other budgeting, spending, and financial planning software program. This speaks volumes about the software program’s power and ease of use.
Being “financially fragile” is a position no Briton wants to be in. To avoid financial fragility, you should be able to access £2,000 within 30 days in case an emergency arises. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, nearly half of all Britons fall into the category. Even if you are only able to put away £20 each month, you must begin a cash reserve separate from your day-to-day banking account and normal monthly expenses.
Get the Best Possible Rate on Your Money
If you put your savings into a standard savings account, it’s likely only earning a ridiculously low one-tenth of a percent. However, there are savings accounts that may pay up to one percent or more in interest. Chances are if you search for “high interest online savings accounts,” you will discover an account that will allow you to earn at least two or three tenths of a percent more, which can amount to a considerable sum in the long run.
Review Your Monthly Expenditures
Are you throwing precious pounds away on an unnecessary monthly bill? Paying a monthly mortgage, electric bill, or mobile phone bill is one thing, but all too often, people pay monthly subscriptions for things they no longer use or get any value out of. If you’re paying a monthly gym subscription but never go to the gym or a monthly subscription for a magazine you never read, then cut out these bills and begin witnessing immediate savings.
Rebalance Your Investments
If it’s been six months or longer since you’ve rebalanced your investments, it may be a good idea to get this done prior to the second quarter earnings report. If you’re a savvy investor, you should have a model portfolio you can use to balance back to.
Automate Your Debt Payments
If you have debts you’re trying to pay down, the same amount should automatically go towards each balance every month. By doing so, you’ll eliminate nearly all of the emotion from the monthly debt payment process. Simply spend 15 minutes online setting it up, and then forget about your monthly bills. Of course, you should still be mindful of your monthly debt amounts and due dates to make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover the bill.
Dust Off Your Insurance Policies
Every year, you should dust off your insurance policies and review them in search of deductions. Take this time to also shop around and remind your insurance agent you are doing so. Insurance is a competitive industry, and often just by letting your agent know you’re considering less expensive options, you may be able to save yourself a tidy monthly sum. You can also receive added discounts by combining all of your separate policies under one company umbrella. Also, if you added any safety features or energy efficient products to your home or auto, you may qualify for extra savings as well.
The items on this financial spring cleaning checklist do not require a lot of research or a large commitment, making them easy to implement on any sunny spring day. Like many things in life, taking small, incremental steps is the key to keeping your financial house in order. Who knows, perhaps by completing these steps, you’ll be inspired to take other actions in the coming months to keep your finances tidier and healthier than ever before.