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Money Monday: Spring Clean Your Finances

Could it be true? It looks like Spring (and all the rain that comes with it) might have decided to stick around in the Midwest. Finally! It’s the most inspirational time of year to start fresh. Suddenly, cleaning and organizing seems a little more exciting than it does daunting. So, after you’ve cleared your house, vehicle, and yard of clutter, take a little extra time to freshen up your finances, too. Here are a few helpful hints to get you started. 

Spring Clean Your Finances | Image source: Shutterstock.com / Photographer: Kokhanchikov

ORGANIZE PAPERWORK

Determine what method – a binder, a folder, a small filing cabinet – 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, they’re no longer relevant, all of that history on file can start to get pretty bulky. 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

GO GREEN

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 confirmation, 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

GET 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 check-up. This will help you catch any potential errors or fishy additions to 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

GET INSURED

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! | More information on: How to Maintain Your Car for Better Performance

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!

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