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4 Must Follow Steps to Spring Clean Your Finances

spring cleanSpring is a season that is full of change, and excitement as the warm and beautiful summer months make their way back into our lives. Many people take the opportunity to clean out their homes in the spring season, after a long winter of staying inside.

While that is a good idea, it is also a great time to spring clean your finances, especially right after you file your income taxes for the year. Take some time out of your schedule to get your finances in order prior to summer so you can spend more time outside enjoying the weather and less time worrying about your bank accounts.

If you’re looking for where to start in order to spring clean your finances, the below tips should help.

Step One – Take an Overview

Before you can make any changes regarding your financial life, it helps to have a good picture of where you currently stand. If you don’t already do this on an ongoing basis, make a list of all of your various accounts and what they look like at the moment.

That includes bank accounts and any investments that you own, as well as any debts that you have to pay on a regular basis. Getting everything organized in front of you for an easy overview will help you understand what changes might need to be made.

Step Two – Cut the Fat

Do you have any budget leaks? Take a critical look at all of your regular and recurring payments to see if any of them are possibilities for a reduction or complete elimination. While you might not want to get rid of you cable TV service, for example, you could opt for a less-expensive package to save money every month.

Don’t just stop at the cable though, look at things like saving money on your cell phone bill, grocery spending and on down the line. The point here is to challenge all of your expenses to see where you can cut the fat. Please also remember this isn’t something to save only for spring cleaning but should be done on a regular basis.

Step Three – Set New Saving Goals

With your overview taken and some of your unnecessary expenses gone, you can now turn your attention to saving goals for the months ahead. Try to settle on a dollar amount that you hope to move into savings each month above and beyond what you need for your regular budget.

Even if this savings amount is modest, it will help to be able to put something away month after month. Hopefully, as time goes by, you will be able to increase that amount gradually until you have a nice little nest egg put away for later.

Step Four – Automate the Process

Now would also be a good time to get all of your payments on auto-pay so you don’t accidentally get behind on any of your bills. Almost all of your payments should be eligible for some kind of auto-pay system, which can be a great time saver and can also save you stress knowing you aren’t forgetting to make any of your payments.

You still want to monitor your bank account regularly to make sure the payments are coming out for the right amounts and that no unauthorized activity is taking place. My favorite tool to do this is Personal Capital. What I love about Personal Capital is that it’s completely free and allows you to keep track of your spending as well as manage your investments.

 

What do you do when you spring clean your finances? Do you like to automate your finances as much as possible? What expense are you going to challenge over the next few months?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: DebMomOf3

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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10 comments

  1. I’m all about automating my finances. The less I have to think about or act upon, the more likely things will get done, especially when it comes to saving. I make sure I have money auto-transferred to my savings account every month. It stops me from procrastinating and then not ever saving any money.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…The Truth About Tax DeductionsMy Profile

  2. I’m cutting down some fats on my expenses. I’m watching carefully of my grocery expenses and also I don’t use our AC every night instead I’m using our stand fan. 🙂

  3. Automation is a great help. And once you’ve automated it, forget about it so you wouldn’t be tempted to get the money.
    How To Save Money recently posted…How to Save On Your Fun ActivitiesMy Profile

  4. I use Digit for two months now and I believe automation is a great help because I don’t have to it myself and once I forget it someone would take cover. Gotta keep up with the new generation.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…New House UpdateMy Profile

  5. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of automation. I’m a total control freak and maybe that’s why, but I like initiating all of my money transfers myself. I only have 3 auto-withdrawls each month and it’s because they offered a discount to set it up that way…
    Kayla @ Everything Finance recently posted…Care Knows How: Making a Postive Impact in our WorldMy Profile

  6. Your tips are all very helpful, especially the Cut the Fat part. There are so many ways to cut on your expenses, you just have to learn to live below your means.
    The Money Spot recently posted…The American Living Wage Debate and How My Trip To Australia Changed My StanceMy Profile

  7. In step 2 don’t forget to negotiate your bills. You should do this at least once per year. Insurance, cable, internet, phone, cell phones, gym membership and anything else you pay for on a monthly basis. Last week I saved $10/month on my internet bill just by calling and asking about better rates. Thats all, just ask! 🙂
    Thomas @ i need money ASAP! recently posted…The Ultimate Guide To Earning SwagbucksMy Profile

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