7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances
This article was updated on March 20, 2023.
These first few weeks of warmer temps and extra daylight always prove to be just what we need to feel rejuvenated and inspired here in the Midwest. Many of us are also bitten by the cleaning bug in early spring. You may have already created a list of things to tidy up around your house and yard in the coming weeks—why not take some time to clean up your finances, too? Here are seven steps you can take this season to get your finances in order.
Gather all your financial documents together and get them in order. Determine what method—a binder, a folder, a small filing cabinet, a folder on your computer—works best for you and your space, and dedicate it entirely to your financial paperwork. Important documents that should be saved for at least a year (tax information, healthcare documents, invoices, payment confirmations, pay stubs, and so on) should be stored in a safe place, preferably in a manner that's easy to sift through. Categorize and label away!
More information on: Organizing Financial Paperwork
Toss & Archive Outdated Financial Documents
Chances are, financial documents two years or older can be tossed. If you've dropped the job, ditched the coverage, or moved accounts to another institution, you can get rid of them—especially if you have electronic versions as well. Get rid of anything you absolutely don’t need (including expired credit and debit cards, gift cards with no balance, etc.) 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 password-protected folder on your computer, phone, or cloud service. You can even scan documents using your phone (here's how)! Don’t forget to thoroughly shred or cut up documents with your name and private information on them before recycling them to prevent identity theft!
More information on: How Long You Should Keep Your Financial Documents
Go Green with Online & Mobile Banking
Most financially-related processes and documentation can be completed and viewed online and on mobile devices so you can cut down on paper statements. From e-statements to online bill pay, and depositing checks to mobile transfers, 3Rivers online and mobile banking have you covered! If you like keeping documentation of invoices, payments, and transactions in one place, consider creating a password-protected folder (here's how) on your personal computer where you can save screenshots or document downloads (like payment confirmations and codes, invoices, virtually signed documents, and more). This is also a great time of year to take stock of all the online accounts and apps you're signed up for, updated passwords, look into password keepers, and cut down on inbox clutter by unsubscribing to email lists, too!
More information on: 3Rivers Online & Mobile Banking
Check Your Annual Credit Report
A lot can happen during those periods between checking your credit report in full. 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 suspicious activity on your report that might be lowering your score or alert you to identity theft. And if you're a 3Rivers member, you can continuously monitor your credit score and get alerts of credit-related activity for free using our Credit Sense tool!
More information on: How to Get Your Free Credit Report
Develop a Plan to Pay Down Debt
Old debt on credit cards you're no longer using? Feel like you're getting nowhere on your loan payments? Use our free LoanSaver and SavvyMoney tools to get a better idea of your overall current financial state and existing debt, then construct a detailed plan to start paying it down. There are several options and strategies for tackling your debt—from paydown methods to debt consolidation to credit card balance transfers and more. We're always happy to help you come up with a plan customized to your financial needs and goals!
More information on: Options for Managing Your Debt
Review Insurance Coverage
List out all of the insurance plans you currently have and make sure you're fully covered, at the best price. As life circumstances change—marriage, divorce, a new home, rental, car, job, or baby—insurance needs do, too. Make sure your health, car, home, life insurance, and more are still providing you with the best coverage at a price best suited to your budget. Check out 3Rivers Member Insurance to compare options from over 40 different providers and see if you're able to save money and/or get better coverage!
More information on: The 5 Basic Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have
Refresh Your Savings Strategy
Determine whether the savings plan you last put into place is still working for you. Do you have new goals to be saving for this year? Research shows that setting specific savings goals and naming your savings accounts results in better, more focused saving behaviors. Create separate savings accounts for each of your savings goals, then name them and determine a goal dollar amount. For example, this might look like:
- Emergency Savings: Goal of $10,000
- Trip to Florida: Goal of $2,000
- Wedding & Honeymoon: Goal of $25,000
Commit to growing your savings by automating contributions (have a certain amount automatically deposited from your checking to your savings accounts each week or each payday). Consider growing your savings even faster by putting your money into a Share Certificate or a Money Market account!
Not sure what the best savings strategy or account is for you? We're always happy to discuss your financial goals to help you determine your best options!
More information on: Savings Options at 3Rivers
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!
We're happy to help! Our team can work with you to get your finances in better order or walk you through any of the tips mentioned above further. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us or visit your nearest branch to get started.
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 | 14 Ways to Save Money by Going Green