When most of us think of spring-cleaning, we think about dusting and sweeping and polishing. But there are other areas besides your home that could use a good annual clean-out, like your finances.
Here are FIVE things you could do this spring to make sure your money management strategy is as neat and orderly as your house will soon be.
- Remove Unnecessary Expenses – Are you paying for more cable channels than you really need? Do you still have a gym membership when you haven’t gone in months? Take a look at your annual and monthly expenses and slash anything that’s no longer serving you.
- Update your budget – Creating and utilizing a budget can help establish spending patterns, reveal inefficiencies, and uncover excess cash flow and opportunities for savings. Usually, budgets should not exceed more than a year and should be calculated on a monthly basis. When putting together the budget, make sure to keep it simple; if there is too much detail, you risk making it too difficult to implement and monitor.
- Check Your Credit Score – Your credit report is one of the most important pieces of your financial life. The difference between applying for a loan with great credit versus applying for a loan with bad credit can yield a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over a 30-year mortgage. You’re entitled to request a free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Scan your report carefully to make sure nothing looks off. If you see a late payment you don’t recognize, a balance that doesn’t match your records or any other discrepancies, contact the reporting agency immediately to open up a dispute.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage – Chances are you’ve had some changes in your life since you first signed up for your various insurance policies. Review these annually to make sure you’re still getting the coverage you need. Call up your insurance agents for your home/renter’s insurance, auto insurance and life insurance to discuss your current needs and find out if any plans or features have been added recently that you may qualify for. It may take a little time on the phone, but it’s worth it when you have the peace of mind of knowing you’re adequately covered in case of emergency.
- Forget about Some of Your Money – Don’t forget about it forever, but if you invest a sum of money in a separate account from your regular accounts, there is a fine chance you will leave it alone and let it grow. When you remember you have it, it will feel as good as a Monopoly “bank error in your favor” card and could be just what you need to make a major life goal come true.
This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.