Here’s what I’m doing to get ready for spring cleaning, and what you can do, too. Make an Appointment With Yourself.
is almost like a second new year because it’s a time where we are extremely dedicated to being out with the old and in with the new.
While the whole concept of clearing and organizing for the new season is a good way to give your home and office a fresh start, it’s also a great money management strategy. Getting ready for spring cleaning? Here are 3 practical ways to tidy up your finances.
Spring Cleaning- Switch Banks
Banks are an interesting concept when it comes to housing your finances because after a while of being with one organization, we grow strangely comfortable with forking over a few dollars here and there for various fees, dealing with questionable interest rates, and even wondering about how secure our money truly is from time to time.
The truth is, even if you’re comfortable with your current bank, they may be creating an unnecessary mess within your finances. You know it’s time to switch banks when:
- It is difficult or costs a ton of money to make a deposit.
- ATM fees are over $3.
- You are being charged for basic transactions.
- High-interest rates on your loans and credit cards.
- Unreasonable minimum balance requirement.
- Poor customer service.
Spring Cleaning- Eliminate What’s Not Necessary
Subscriptions and free trials you forgot about, open accounts for old services, outdated tax information, and debt need to be properly cleaned up before they adversely impact your finances and/or credit score.
If that $10 automatic payment from your favorite music streaming platform is enough to make you go broke for the rest of the month, it’s time to eliminate it. Or perhaps you have a small debt sitting in collections from 5 years ago that would make your credit score go up several points if you got it removed or paid it off.
Instead of actually cleaning, I am satisfying myself by getting ready to clean, which is its own process. (Yeah, I’m basically Monica Geller from Friends, so what? A clean house is a happy house.) Here’s what I’m doing to get ready for spring cleaning, and what you can do, too.
Whatever unnecessary financial baggage you have hanging around, toss it out and go back to prioritizing necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and healthcare. A few things you can do:
- Start clearing away debt by paying your smallest account balances first and then chipping away at the largest debt.
- Close old bank accounts and credit cards with small limits.
- Roll your 401(k) over into an IRA.
Spring Cleaning- Update Your Budget And Savings Plans
Your budget and savings plan is solely based on your income and spending habits, and over the years, how much you earn and what you spend changes along with your way of living. Take a hard look at your finances and decide if the way you budget and save still aligns with your income.
The best way to ensure that it does is to use the 50/30/20 rule. This method says that 50% of your income goes toward necessities while 30% is for wants and 20% goes straight into savings.
This means that if you make $1000 every check, $500 of that goes toward mandatory expenses, $300 goes toward your wants, and $200 is for savings and/or investments.
Depending on how much you make a month, your budget should look like a similar split. If you don’t want to figure it out by yourself, try budgeting tools such as PocketGuard or Mint.
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