Spring time is upon us and many people are enjoying warmer weather. The change in the weather often prompts us to prepare for the new season. All new sets of chores and tasks emerge to get our house in order which might include cleaning out the garage, doing yard work, or even organizing and cleaning out closets inside the house.
Since many of us personal finance junkies often think about how we’re doing at managing family finances throughout the year, the change in season prompts many financial related tasks as well. In fact, it’s a good practice to revisit your plan and goals at certain points throughout the year, even if it’s not at the change of a season.
So, what are some spring cleaning financial tasks you might consider this season? Let’s take a look at a few tips:
1. Give Items Away
Perhaps it’s time to visit your closet and dresser drawers and really consider what you need. Many items may have been hanging in your closet or folded up in drawers and haven’t been warn in over a year. If that’s the case, consider making a trip to your local goodwill and donate the unused items. Don’t forget to get a receipt as those items are considered tax deductible. Tax Software such as TurboTax provides a way for you to determine the fair market value. Hint: Determine this upon making the donation versus waiting until you file your taxes. Several receipts with a lot of donations can be overwhelming at tax time.
2. Revisit Your Spending
If you’ve been carefully tracking spending in household money management software, now is the time to run some reports and see in what categories you’ve spent the most money. Are you shocked at how much you’ve spent on entertainment or dining out? It’s important to adjust spending in these cases and many times the adjustment comes from being more aware of your habits. Using Envelope budgeting software software to track expenses is ideal for learning about your spending habits.
3. Assess Your Debt
Another good thing to do for financial spring cleaning is to assess how you’re doing in paying off debt. Are you moving forward, or has some expense set you back and perhaps increased the total amount you owe on a credit card? Perhaps you’ve run into some extra money, like a tax return, which is an opportunity to gain back some ground towards your goal. There are definitely hills and valleys when working towards financial goals
, but always take advantage of situations in which you can add a lump sum payment towards your debt goal.
4. Organize Your Paperwork
Now might be a good time to see if you can shred and throw out old statements or bills. I tend to keep a year’s worth of bills, if paper, but most of mine are electronic these days. I usually keep credit card statements up to 3 years. The last thing you want is a pile of financial papers growing in your desk drawer. Set aside an afternoon and reduce some of it as the more you have on hand, the more you have to manage and keep organized. Also, move to a file cabinet if you haven’t already done so. Keeping such papers in drawers is too difficult to keep organized.
5. Revisit Contract Agreements
At least once per year, it’s a good idea to really look closely at existing agreements such as cell phones and determine if you’re getting your money’s worth. Perhaps you have a cell phone and you’re paying well more than you need. You might consider a prepaid card, or some other agreement to help you save money on your cell phone bill
each month. You should also revisit insurance for your car and home. It doesn’t hurt to do some shopping around from time to time to see if someone can get you a better deal.
What items are on your financial spring cleaning list?
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