How To Spring Clean Your Finances
When the weather starts to warm up and the snow starts to melt, most people are ready to throw open their windows and tackle the dust and grime that have built up over the winter months. Likewise, it’s a great time to open up your budgeting spreadsheet, log into your bank accounts and credit card accounts, and take a look at what kind of clutter may have accumulated in your financial life during the past year.
Credit card debt, overdrafts or other fees, neglected savings accounts, and unpaid bills may all be waiting for a good spring cleaning. Here’s how to get your finances squeaky clean and in great shape for the upcoming year.
• Bring your accounts into good standing. If you have overdue bills, this is the time to pay them. Make sure you know what you owe each month: make a list. Utility bills, credit card bills, rent or mortgage, and other loans are all due each month, and if you’ve lost track of what’s coming in and going out each month, you’ll want to make sure you know what bills are outstanding and which are paid up.
• Pay down debt. If you have credit card debt you carry from month to month, make a list of what the interest rates are on each card. If the rates are high, consider transferring your balances to new credit cards with 0% APR offers that last for a year or more.
• Redeem credit card rewards. A fun thing to do is look at the points and miles balances on all your credit cards. You may find that you have rewards you haven’t redeemed, and could have free flights, gift cards, or cash back waiting for you once you log into your credit card issuer’s account center online. Many people neglect to redeem all the rewards they’ve earned on their credit cards; this is like turning down free money, so make sure you do this!
• Set up a savings account. If you don’t have one, it’s essential to have a rainy day fund for an emergency or other unexpected event. Studies show that more than half of all Americans don’t have adequate savings available in case of an urgent need; don’t let this happen to you.
These are just a few easy steps you can take to get your financial house in order this spring; they won’t take long, and will make you feel just as good as your shiny sink and polished floorboards!
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