Does your financial house needs some TLC? “Disorder can easily build up in your budget if you aren’t paying attention to each and every expense or account and since prices are rising on everything from groceries to gas to monthly bills like energy, taking time to review and clean up your finances can keep you from overspending and taking on debt,” says money saving expert Andrea Woroch.
Here, Woroch, outlines five simple steps to “spring clean” your finances and get your money in order.
Refresh Your Budget
“As inflation soars, your current budget may no longer meet your monthly spending needs and savings goals so it’s important to review and rebalance it. This also means looking for savings alternatives on regular monthly expenses so you can afford a higher cost of living without making huge sacrifices.
Begin by scrutinising each bill to see if there are any services you are paying for that you don’t need or use like a forgetting subscription and close those accounts. Otherwise, look for cheaper options. For instance, you can dramatically reduce your mobile bill by switching to an online-only wireless carriers like Mint Mobile that offers talk, text and data for just $15 per month. And, hack your insurance costs by compare rates on a new homeowner’s or auto insurance policy using comparison sites like TheZebra.com, which says it saves users over $900 on average.”
Dust Away Debt.
“The sooner you pay off your credit card debt, the more money you will have each month to put towards savings and other goals since you won’t be wasting any on interest. Figure out how much you owe across each account to come up with a realistic debt repayment plan and track your efforts using apps like Unbury.me that hold you accountably.
Meanwhile, consolidating credit card debt using a zero-percent balance transfer card will help you pay off your debt faster and save more on interest. Just make sure you don’t rack up a balance on the old card. Otherwise, personal loans are another way to consolidate and save on interest as they typically have lower interest fees. You can even find personal loans for bad credit through BadCredit.org.”
Tidy Up Accounts.
“Most of us have money spread out over several financial accounts including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, HSA or FSA’s, retirement plans, monthly bills and more, which can make it challenging to manage. Streamlining these accounts will allow you to better track your spending and saving habits to keep you in line with your goals while also avoiding late payment fees or overdraft charges.
To start, consolidate checking accounts to just one bank to help you better manage your balances and move savings to a high yield online account that offers higher interest rates. It’s also a good idea to roll over any funds sitting in an old retirement account to your current plan so you know your investments are still working hard for you. Meanwhile, automating bill payments across loans, credit cards and monthly bills will ensure you don’t get slapped with any fees since it’s hard to stay on top of different due dates. Otherwise, use a financial tool like Mint which links all your financial accounts in one place so you can get a snapshot of where your money is going at any given time. The app even provides a suggested budget and allows you to set bill reminders.”
Scrub Up Spending.
“In fact, a survey from Slick Deals found that Americans spent $183 on impulse purchases per month in 2020. To curb these shopping temptations, think about what’s causing you to make impulse purchases in the first place. Identifying and eliminating these spending triggers can help you dodge wasteful purchases and free up more room in your budget to meet your savings goals.
Curb these shopping temptations by deleting payment details stored in retail accounts, turning off sale notifications in deal apps and unsubscribe from store emails. Instead, only look for discounts when you need them. Better yet, download a savings tool like CouponCabin’s Sidekick browser extension that automatically searches for and applies any available coupon codes to your online orders so you never miss out on a deal when making a purchase online.”
Cash In On Clutter.
“Think about how you can make some extra cash as you’re tackling various spring cleaning projects around your home. For instance, this is a great time to purge and sell items you no longer use or want, or those you’ve forgetting about.
For instance, you can sell gently used clothing through fashion resale sites like Poshmark which is great for brand names. However, if you rather not deal with the headache of posting each item individually, request a clean out bag from sites like thredup.com that do all the selling work for you. For large items you don’t want to ship such as home goods, furniture and sporting goods, use local listings like OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace to sell your goods. And if you have any electronics you no longer need, try selling them via BuyMyTronics.com or see if your local big box store offers a gadget trade in program.”