Spring is traditionally the season of growth and new beginnings, a time for clearing out the clutter of the old and setting the table for all things new. And while most people tend to clean their home during this time of transition, it never dawns on them to do the same for their finances.
The fact is, getting your finances in order and implementing positive changes for the future is more important than cleaning up your home, as it could potentially save you thousands of dollars. Organizing and decluttering your finances from the past year isn’t hard, and here are 5 simple tips to help you get started.
The first and most important step of getting a handle on your finances is finding out where your money is being spent. Often we have only a fuzzy grasp on what we spend money on, which is understandable considering the busy lives we lead, but spring is the perfect time to fix that.
The easiest way to track your expenses from the past year is to either manually go through bank statements, look through the charges on your credit cards, or download an inexpensive money management app like Mint that can automatically sort and categorize your spending and graph out trends.
One strange thing that you may discover as you look back at your spending for the last year is that you’re still paying for services you quit or canceled, like gym memberships or data plans. These auto-charges slip through the cracks more often than you think, either because of clerical mistakes or simple technical issues.
Either way, if you discover any of these charges you should contact the business immediately, make sure that the service is canceled and you aren’t charged anymore in the future. Pruning out these phantom bills will help tidy your finances as a whole, and in some circumstances you could be entitled to a refund.
Another important aspect of clearing out the clutter of your finances is to minimize the amount of time it takes to manage them, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by automating certain tasks. Thankfully, the vast majority of banks offer automatic bill pay and savings contribution services. Once you invest the effort to set up the auto draft from your paycheck and set up the payments for your bills, you won’t have to worry about making a late payment or forgetting to contribute to your savings ever again.
Another step you should take when spring cleaning your finances is to set goals for what you want to achieve in the coming year. Knowing where you want to be is half the battle when it comes to controlling your finances. Setting realistic goals and charting a path to achieving them will help you stay on top of your budget and ultimately keep your finances in order.
Cash advances can be powerful tools for getting your finances in order. Have any outstanding bills? Or maybe need to buy equipment for an urgent home renovation? A cash advance could handle both. They offer you the ability to be proactive about your finances and get a handle on any expenses that could be holding you back.