How-Tuesday: How to Spring Clean Your Finances
It seems the Midwest has finally decided to shake off the bitter winter this week and usher in spring. The first few weeks of warmer temps and extra daylight always prove to be just what we need to feel rejuvenated and inspired. And early spring is also the time when many of us get bitten by the cleaning bug. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned and organized your home, take a little extra time to freshen up your finances, too. Here are a few helpful hints to get you started.
Determine what method – a binder, a folder, a small filing cabinet, a folder on your computer – works best for you and your space, that you can dedicate entirely to your finances. Important documents that you have a printed copy of, that need to be saved for at least a year (tax information, healthcare, invoices, payment confirmations, pay stubs, and so on) should be stored in a safe place, and preferably in a manner that's easy to sift through. Label away!
More information on: Organizing Financial Paperwork
Out with the Old
Chances are, financial documents two years or older can be tossed. If you've dropped the job, ditched the coverage, or moved into a new place, you can get rid of them. Time to simplify. Get rid of anything you absolutely don’t need and archive documents that you may or may not still need (some states require you to hang on to documents like tax filings for up to ten years) by scanning those documents and saving them into a folder on your computer. Don’t forget to thoroughly shred or cut up documents with your name and private information on them before tossing them out to prevent identity theft!
More information on: How Long You Should Keep Your Financial Documents
Most financially-related processes can be completed online and on mobile devices. From e-statements to online bill pay, and depositing checks to mobile transfers, 3Rivers has plenty of options. Are you an "I need proof on paper" kind of person? No worries. Just create a folder on your desktop and take screen shots or save documents – like payment confirmations, invoices, and more – as PDF files and store them on your computer. You might create a document for confirmation of payment codes as well – a running list, just in case. Finally, make a list of all of the online accounts you're signed up for and look into password keepers, too.
More information on: 3Rivers Online Bill Pay
Check Your Annual Credit Report
A lot can happen during those periods between checking your credit report. Plan to make spring cleaning season the time of year you take advantage of your free, annual credit check-up. This will help you catch any potential errors or fishy activity on your report that might be lowering your score.
More information on: How to Get Your Free Credit Report
Pay it Down
Old debt on credit cards you're no longer using? Investigate their interest rates and the balance left on them, then construct a detailed plan to start paying them off.
More information on: Debt Consolidation at 3Rivers
List out all of the insurance you currently have and make sure you have enough of it. Just move into a rental home? Renters insurance is very affordable and totally worth it. If, in the unfortunate event, your home is robbed or catches fire, you’ll be covered. In addition, make sure your car, health, and life insurance are still in the best place for you and your household. Investigate other options if you feel you're paying too much or need an update.
More information on: The 5 Basic Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have
Lighten Up Your Ride
Did you know? Physically cleaning up and clearing out your vehicle can actually save big bucks! Ridding your car of all that stuff you don't really need to be dragging around results in less stress on your car, in turn burning less fuel. While you’re at it, make it a point this time of year to get your car tuned up and check your tire pressure - which will also save money in the long run!
There’s nothing better than a freshly cleaned home and the feeling that comes with it. On the same token, getting your finances in order will feel just as good – if not better. Happy spring cleaning, readers!
You might also like: How to Organize Your Financial Documents | Get Your Finances in Shape | 5 Budget-Friendly DIY Household Cleaners | Ten Ways to Improve Your Home Without Buying Anything New | 12 Ways to Save Money by Going Green