Every year, we go through a Spring Cleaning experience. The air is fresh with warm sunshine and cool breezes. The renewed energy in nature also tends to make us more energetic. Time to shake off the winter blues, throw the windows open, and clean house. Of course, preparing for a yearly garage sale (or eBay bonanza) isn't the only way you can clean up this Spring for long-term benefits. You can also Spring-Clean your finances.
Let's take a look at how to lower your costs and make your budget feel neat and clean this year. Give your finances a spring-cleaning with these seven tips.
1. Prune Your Unused Subscriptions
Check out all the subscriptions you're signed up for. From streaming services to apps, these costs can stack up. Check your bills and credit card statements to identify lurking subscriptions that you totally forgot about and aren't even using. That's $5 to $30 every month you could be saving - per subscription. If you under-use a subscription, cancel those, as well and adapt to enjoying your other still-subscribed services.
2. Hone Your Insurance Policies
Insurance policies are almost always more costly than you need. The coverage may extend beyond your circumstances. The rates also are 'eased upward' over time unless you treated to leave or change policies. It's an unfortunate but necessary spring cleaning task to hone your insurance policies and quite possibly change providers to avoid their 'boil the frog' pricing approach.
3. Eat Restaurant Meals Half as Often
How often do you eat out (or these days, order-in)? Restaurant meals are delicious, but we don't need them as often as we're accustomed to. Check your records and find out how often you order from restaurants, then cut that in half for next year. Challenge yourself - not to give up restaurants entirely, but to eat out only half as often as you did last year.
4. Move Extra Money into Savings
If you have some surplus floating in your checking account, don't leave it in place. Move all your surplus cash right now and every month into yours savings account. Savings has higher interest rewards on the money in that account and you'll reduce the temptation to spend it on splurges.
5. Clear Credit Cards Completely
Credit cards often ride around with a small (or growing) balance of debt. This is livable, but it's always better to be debt-free. So, aim to pay off your credit cards completely. Clear one or two for their total balance and they'll be fresh and waiting next time you buy on credit - which you should do often with quick repayment to build your credit score.
6. Catch Up on Paperwork
If you have financial paperwork sitting around, now is the time to catch up on it. Wrap up any loan documents, prep for your taxes, and catch up on outstanding financial concerns. Find and cash any uncashed checks. Renew your lease. Take care of all those little financial tasks we tend to put off because they are tedious. Doing them all at once at least concentrates the tedium.
7. Set Up Automated Billpay
Your final clever spring cleaning choice is to set up automatic billpay. For your essential bills like rent, utilities, internet, and insurance payments - make sure these are paid automatically. Avoid late fees and handle your budget in a way that prevents accidental splurging of essential funds.
Spring is the perfect time to de-clutter your house and your finances!