By Christina Brown
There is something about spring that just makes you want to clean out your closets, scrub the house and tackle the garage mess. But it’s also a great time of year to spring clean your finances.
Take a little time on the next rainy spring afternoon to do a little financial housekeeping. You’ll be well on your way to making sure you’re ready for the next season. Here’s how to get started:
Clean out your file cabinet.
Go through your file cabinet and remove anything you no longer need. Shred anything that you don’t need that contains sensitive information (like account numbers). File what you need to keep and recycle the rest.
Clean out your purse and wallet.
If you can’t close your wallet because the receipts are spilling out of it, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Purge expired coupons, file old receipts, get rid of credit cards and loyalty cards you don’t use. Empty that pile of loose change from the bottom of your purse. You’ll be able to find what you need and your purse will weigh less, too.
Automate your finances.
Set up an automatic savings deposit or have funds automatically transferred to a retirement account. Make it automatic and it becomes a habit that will continue to grow.
Set up online bill pay with some of your recurring payments (like your utilities). You’ll save on envelopes, stamps and trips to the bank when you automate, and you won’t have to worry about paying bills when you’re on summer vacation.
Double check your tax withholding.
If you got a big tax refund this year, you should adjust your tax withholding. You can visit http://www.irs.gov to find a calculator that can help you determine the right amount. You’ll get less of a refund next year, but you’ll see more money in every paycheck. That’s money you could use right now!
Assess your insurance coverage.
Spring is a good time of year to take a close look at your home or rental insurance, car insurance and life insurance policies, and make sure you have adequate coverage. Compare rates to see if you can get a better deal, or raise your deductibles to lower your rates. Whatever you do, don’t wait until something bad happens to learn you’re not covered.
Set some financial goals.
Are you looking to pay down debt? Saving up for a family vacation? Sit down with your family and set some financial goals. Setting these goals will make it easier to avoid impulse buys and plan your summer activities.
You’ll be well on your way to a financially healthy summer by clearing out the old in favor of healthier money habits.
Read more frugal living tips and money-saving ideas at http://www.northerncheapskate.com.