The holiday season is over, which means it is time to get organized in all aspects of life, including your finances. Decluttering your financial house is a crucial step to take in order to ensure a successful year and attract prosperity into your life. Think it is too early for spring cleaning? Nope. The earlier you start getting organized, the better.
1. Check out the terms and conditions of your credit cards
Perhaps, you already know the terms and conditions of your credit cards, but could you tell me when the last time you reviewed that information was? A year ago? Two? Three? The new terms can pop up anytime and chances are you have no idea about them. The reason is obvious: many banks do not inform about new conditions or even if they do it once, you may simply forget about it.
There are new cards equipped with special computer chips that keep hackers away from your accounts. If you don’t have any, why not get it this spring and stay calm all year long and probably the next year too?
If you have the debts, try to figure out how you can pay them off without too many sacrifices. Set realistic money goals and review your budget. If your overall budget is too small for paying off your debts, consider the ways to make extra cash. While you spring clean your house, put aside the things you are willing to sell and use that money for getting rid of your debts. The double win!
2. Inspect your credit history and find out your credit score
Whether you are planning to make the big purchases this year – like a car or a house – or you want to improve your credit history, you need to find out your credit score first. Contact your bank or request a free report at annualcreditreport.com to see where to start. Stay away from the websites that charge money for the credit reports.
Spring is one of the times when we strive to get organized and if you think your credit score has nothing to do with it, you are wrong. Today most businesses review your credit history when you apply for any type of insurance, leases, and even employment. And when do we tend to update our insurances? Yep, in spring.
3. Start or jazz up your emergency fund
Most people stay with empty bank accounts and piggy banks when the winter season comes to the end. Thanks the holiday season and all the debts linked to it! After all, not all of us are lucky to have thousands and millions on our accounts. Regardless of your monthly income, though, you need to have an emergency fund.
- If you do not have an emergency fund, consider starting the one this spring. If you have, consider increasing its size. Take baby steps and remember that a little saved each month adds up by the end of the year. Have no idea where to start? Here are some sneaky ways to boost your emergency fund, no matter how much you earn: Say no to cable TV (you can watch any movie online);
- Make your own coffee (sorry, Starbucks);
- Sell your old stuff;
- Invest in a piggy bank that can’t be easily opened;
- Take freelance gigs;
- Babysit either a baby or a pet;
- Rent your extra room (why not?)
- Renegotiate (your bank can suggest lower interests, your insurance company has better terms for you, and any other service providers you use can suggest you something that will help you save money and use them for your emergency fund. You have just never asked!)
- Get a bonus this month? Direct it straight into your emergency fund. (Trust me, you don’t need those new heels or a new iPhone)
- Save $1 each day. Sound ridiculous? (Saving $1 daily here and there could actually help you put pretty a lot away in the long run. If you can afford $2 or $5, that’s better);
- Imagine what you would do in case of a big emergency. (Do it every time you struggle to donate to your emergency fund.)
4. Update your insurance policies
Since the car, life, and home insurance policies have recently gone down in price, it is time to talk to your insurer about your insurance policies. You can save hundreds of dollars and do some additions or renovations to get more in the payout. If your insurer does not agree to review and upgrade your policies, feel free to shop around for a new one.
Although it might take a few hours of a research and some unplanned meetings, but it is all worth it. Experts claim updating beneficiaries in the spring is a lot easier and there are more options available than in the fall, for example.
Spring cleaning your financial house does require time and some efforts.