Spring is finally here! When you do your spring cleaning what are your typical items on your checklist? Go through closets. Check. Go through cupboards. Check. Go through books and coats and shoes. Check, check, check! Do you ever consider spring cleaning your household finances? Now would be a great time to check in on those goals you set at the beginning of the year and spring clean your finances to help you get even closer to achieving those goals.
- Review your budget. Take a step back. Look at the last few months and go over what you have been spending. Have you been overspending on any items? Have you been under-spending in others? Look for budget busting expenses and categories you can adjust to make your money work best for you.
- Review accounts. Shop around. Educate yourself on the best rates that are offered on savings accounts, interest earning checking accounts and retirement accounts. If you have been unhappy with your bank, you can find one that caters more to your needs. Do you have multiple bank accounts that you aren’t using? Consider closing them. Remember that 401k retirement fund you earned while at an old job? Look into rolling it over into your current one. Compare what you pay for your cell phone plan, home and auto insurance, and other recurring items with other plans that may save you money. Do you have life insurance policies or homeowner’s/renters insurance? This would be a great time to check up on those accounts. Consider adjusting your withholding. If you received a large refund this year, you are essentially giving the government an interest-free loan.
- Pull your free credit report. When was the last time you pulled your credit report? You have the right to pull your credit report for FREE annually. There are three credit bureaus: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. You could request your credit report for all three agencies or spread them out, and pull one every four months. The only website that is mandated by the federal government, and is free, is www.annualcreditreport.com. Never pay money to pull your credit report. Your credit history could have mistakes that are costing you money. Check the report for accuracy and clear up any discrepancies you find. Beware of agencies that offer to help you to raise your credit score by removing accurate items from your report. Make an appointment with a certified counselor for assistance.
- Pitch those old papers. Go through your files and paperwork. Shred any old documents and bank statements you no longer need. Many experts recommend keeping bank statements for three to six years for tax purposes. Scanning documents to cut out clutter and opting for e-statements or electronic invoices may save space too. Be sure to back-up electronic storage for safe keeping.
- Make some extra cash. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” After you have cleaned up your finances, then it’s time to go through those belongings to cash in on some extra dough. -take inventory of valuables, antiques, and heirlooms and call local antique dealers and appraisers to research the value. Maybe it’s time to part with those items and put the money towards your savings goals. Look into consignment shops in your area to make money on clothing you can no longer wear or use. Compare what you could potentially make in consignment shops to tax benefits from donating.
Did you know that LSS offers FREE Financial Fitness classes including “Paper Piles to Organized Files” among many other classes to answer any money questions you’ve always had! Call 605-330-2700 or visit our website at www.lsssd.org.
By: Rachel Malloy