Cold weather often means hibernation, binge-watching television and even ignoring some of the important aspects of life. If your finances took a greater hit than the East Coast this winter, it’s time to get to work. As the temperatures rise and all the snow melts away, make sure you are cleaning more than your home. Check out these seven tips to spring clean your finances and manage your money properly.
1. Get Organized
Even if you think you’re organized, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your money management. This can be a time to review what went well last year and what needs to change moving forward. Developing a system to keep track of when bills are due can help ensure you don’t miss a payment.
2. Check Your Credit
While you should be regularly checking your credit score, it is easy to forget, so make now the time. Get your free annual credit reports and go over them carefully to look for any errors or inaccurate information and to know where you stand. You can get a free credit report snapshot, updated every 30 days, from Credit.com; it also includes a personalized action plan for improving your credit.
3. Get Debt-Free
Debt can be challenging and debilitating, but creating a solid plan can help get you on track to eliminating it. Add up everything you owe and make note of the interest rate you are paying on each debt. Now you can decide what order you want to pay off. If you are having trouble meeting all of your debt obligations, you may have to take action. Refinancing your mortgage can lower your monthly house payments and free up some money in your budget.
4. Review Your Budget & Goals
Speaking of your budget, if you haven’t created one, now can be a good time to get started. Budgeting helps you spend within your means each month. To create one, look back on everything you’re spending money on, identify places where you can cut back and set goals for the future months. It’s a good idea to make sure you are saving in alignment with both your short-term and long-term financial goals.
5. Re-Evaluate Retirement
Putting your retirement savings on autopilot can make it easier to maintain payments, but it’s important to not just forget about it. Reviewing your investments and contributions can keep you on track.
6. Expand Your Knowledge
If you skipped out on financial New Year’s resolutions this year, now can be the time you dedicate to learning more. Consider taking classes or reading books on a financial subject you want to learn more about. From individual retirement accounts to the stock market, getting educated will help you feel and be more in control of your finances.
7. Work on Revenue Streams
A great way to cure your financial woes this spring is increasing how much money you are bringing in. Aside from taking on a part-time gig, consider freelancing your skills, joining the sharing economy by renting out the spare space in your apartment, consulting, being a virtual assistant, or turning your hobby into more income by selling homemade products online. You can also consider making a case to your employer about why you deserve a raise.
Taking some steps now to get your financial health in check can ensure you get to enjoy the warmer weather without financial worries.
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