Spring Clean Your Finances
We all know the phrase “spring clean” as it relates to our living spaces, but did you know that this season is also a good opportunity to get your bills and bank accounts in order?
Money matters can feel stressful and overwhelming, but they don’t have to! Here are our top ways to make organizing, planning, and detoxifying your finances fun and rewarding:
1. Gather all of your information. Pull together those stacks of bills on your kitchen counter, the wads of receipts hiding in your wallet, and account statements stuffed in your filing cabinets. Once you have all of your paperwork, you can start to think about a system for organizing. If you have electronic versions of documents and prefer a digital organizing system, back everything up and shred paper copies.
2. Use lots of color. Make your system interesting! Pick up fun folders, bright Post-Its, and colorful pens from your local office store to make your desk or office space light and fun. Use these items to organize your documents, whether that’s a folder for specific types of bills or arranging receipts and statements in chronological order.
3. Stop to appreciate what your bills do for you. Yes, paying bills isn’t fun, but your ability to do so means that you have heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, a car to drive to work or play, and a roof over your head. Once you frame it as a blessing rather than a curse, you may find yourself more at peace with the process.
4. Ask for help. Your financial wellbeing is right up there with wellness for your body and mind, and just like other types of health, it takes a village! Find an accountant who can help you with your taxes and a financial planner who is well-versed in investing, retirement accounts, or any other needs you have. Financial issues are so unique, and you don’t have to struggle alone if you’re not sure what options are best. Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations if you don’t already have a team assembled.
5. Inventory your accounts. If you have old accounts you don’t use, ask yourself whether you still need them — especially if you are paying maintenance fees. Keep in mind that older credit cards can be beneficial because your credit score takes the average age of your credit lines into consideration.
6. Request your credit reports. You are eligible for a free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus. Review each carefully to ensure that all of your accounts are accurate, and address any errors or outstanding debts immediately.
7. Build a routine. Just like a morning or nighttime ritual, a financial routine will keep you organized and accountable all year. For example, instead of letting bills pile up in your kitchen, set aside time each week, or even a few minutes each day, to file paperwork away. Pick a day each month to take a careful look at your budget. Staying on top of your finances will make them seem less scary.