By Ayesha Haider, BA, MBA, AFC© Candidate, FINRA Military Spouse Fellow For most of us, receiving a tax refund is a...
Most of the year, managing your finances mostly consists of getting paid, paying the bills, and trying not to go over-budget with everything in-between. You don’t have time to think much about future plans, savings accounts, or even clearing the old receipts out of your wallet and the bowl where you drop your keys. But spring is here, the sun is coming back, and everyone is starting to feel just a little more energetic. Before the end of tax season, now is the perfect time to take a day or two to assess your personal and family finances to do a little spring cleaning. Today we bring you a list of ways to clear out the clutter from last year’s busy earning and spending cycle and start the post-taxes year off fresh.
1) Clean Out Your Wallet
The state of a person’s wallet is often a clear reflection of how they feel toward finances. If your wallet is messy, stuffed with receipts, lost quarters, crumpled ones, and mostly-spent gift cards, the rest of your finances are likely to also need some tending. Get yourself in the right headspace by cleaning out your wallet and possibly treating yourself to a new one if the current fold is starting to serious signs of wear.
Keep only the cards you will actually use, resolve to empty those gift cards or toss them, and organize cash.
2) Clear Out Your Change Jar
For any who winds up with change in their pocket at the end of the day, there is likely some kind of bowl or jar near the front door where all that change tends to go. You may also dump keys and other knick-knacks in the bowl, but just how much change is really in there? Earn yourself anywhere from a nice candy bar to a nice dinner by taking your change bowl to your local Marine FCU Coin Machine and clear it out for next year’s change.
3) Investigate Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a rating of your financial health and will tell you (and others) approximately how well you are doing managing your income, debts, and assets. Gaining debts lowers your credit score and paying them off responsibly raises your credit score. Simply being aware of the score can help you move toward better financial decisions in the future.
4) Make Plans to Pay Off Debts
If you check out a detailed credit report, you can get a full picture of all debts and judgments hanging over your name. This list may even contain debts you didn’t know about or forgot about. By making a plan to pay each one off, you can significantly boost your credit score and get your finances in great shape.
5) Go Paperless
If you are still getting notices or paying bills through envelopes and snail-mail, it’s high time to update. Almost every business and service in the modern world offers online alternatives, usually called ‘going paperless’ by banks and similar establishments. Start transferring any paperwork you file or manage into digital form.
Managing your finances doesn’t have to be a huge hassle as long as you remember to take care of a few maintenance tasks and rethink your financial strategies every now and then. Once a year spring cleaning your finances is a great way to get a complete look at how you’ve been doing, how you can do better in the future, and what changes can be easily made in the next few weeks to significantly improve your and your family’s financial situation. Of course, this is only the first half of our two-part article. For five more financial spring cleaning tips, join us next time for part two!
Information appearing in this article is obtained from sources we believe are reliable. The information may not be a complete statement of all available data and is not guaranteed as such. Marine FCU is not responsible for the contents of this article and advises its membership to investigate claims before following the information provided.