Spring Cleaning: Focus on your Finances

April 04, 2017
 
Spring is finally here!  Most of us get a “fever” to start doing things around the house and yard; we get the urge to clean out that closet that’s been too full for too long, or we’ll start planning a garage sale to de-clutter the basement.
 
We often forget, however, about the “non-traditional” types of cleaning that everyone should focus on from time to time; one of those types being financial cleaning.  Here are seven practical tips you can implement today to clean up your finances:
 
1. Close out unnecessary or unused accounts.  You may think that small balance isn’t hurting anything; however, those unmonitored accounts open up the door to identity theft.  Consolidate your accounts to protect your financial assets.
2. Go paperless.  Sign up for electronic bank statements and utility bills to cut down on clutter.  Be sure to keep reviewing them for accuracy, however, even when they’re out of sight, out of mind!
3. Use automatic payments.  When possible, take advantage of online bill payment systems; this will save you from writing out a check and it will ensure it’s always paid on time.  Go through your payee or financial institution for online bill pay.
4. Bring your budget up-to-date.  You may follow a monthly or yearly budget to plan for expenditures… but when was the last time you updated it?  Has anything changed?  Are you making more or spending more?  Be sure to you’re using up-to-date numbers to make financial decisions.
5. Cancel unused services.  For a “small” monthly fee, you can stream music and videos, subscribe to magazines and news, and use advanced apps on your phone… but do you actually use these services enough to justify the cost?  If not, cancel them!
6. Review your investments.  Many of us have an investment account that’s been around for (seemingly) forever; be sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date and make changes to portfolios that aren’t performing how you expected.
7. Check your credit report annually.  You’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months through the three nationwide credit reporting agencies.  Take advantage of this opportunity to ensure everything is correct and what you expected.  Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit report.
 
By: Jordan McMahon, Marketing Manager