Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and many of us are preparing for spring cleaning. This is the time of year when we thoroughly scour our homes, declutter our closets, have yard sales and rearrange furniture.
Spring is a transformative season. Many feel happy and relieved during this period of renewal. There’s a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and freedom when you get things in your home structured and organized.
Let’s take this idea a little further. That feeling of being lighter and brighter you just envisioned from cleaning your home … what if you could experience the same thing when you tidy up your finances?
Getting your books in order is essential to ensuring a productive and successful year. We should consider this process at least as important as the annual sprucing up of our spaces.
So, what does spring cleaning your finances look like? Let’s take a look.
EVALUATE YOUR BILLS
Pull out your phone/cellphone bill statements from the previous year. Look to see if you benefited from any type of savings from the previous year. If you didn’t, this is a great time to call your service provider to see if any deals are available. You’d be surprised what a loyal customer can get. Most of the possible savings aren’t advertised, so you must pick up the phone to negotiate and secure them.
Look at your cable bill, too, and apply the same principle. Many companies create packages that last 12 months. Take advantage of these offerings.
Bottom line, you have at least two accounts so far where you may be able to save money. Hold on — we’re going to find more.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT STATEMENTS
Review your credit card statements. Many of us have had our credit cards for a while. Some of us have higher interest rates. If you’re among those carrying high interest rates but have good payment history with your creditors, you can request an interest-rate reduction.
You read that correctly; you can request that your interest rate be reduced. This can work in your favor, especially if your credit is good. You might just get the “yes” you’ve been bargaining for.
Another way to feel accomplished as you clean up your finances is organization. An inexpensive accordion file will safely keep all bills in one location — or store in a filing cabinet if you prefer.
Another alternative is going paperless. Get your statements online, create a digital file and save it on a USB drive. Also consider downloading a receipt app to record all of your yearly business receipts. Snap pictures of your receipts and get rid of all those piles of folded paper in your purse and wallet.
Finally, set small goals that will lead you to bigger ones. I mentioned how evaluating your bills can save you money, right? Here’s a few ways to utilize your savings:
- Pay down debt.
- Add to or start building your savings.
- Create an emergency fund.
Spring cleaning your finances brings newness to your life — a transformation. Neglecting your finances by not practicing good habits can cause you to feel intimidated due to the potential legal and financial ramifications. Those behaviors can turn your debt into piles of intimidation.
But you don’t need to feel fearful. Getting your books in order this spring will bring you financial health and peace of mind.
Janera Harvey is a money coach, certified credit counselor and owner of The Credit Journey LLC. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.