15 Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances This Year

Spring is upon us friends and while you're thinking about spring cleaning, let's talk about your finances! Yes, just like the depths of our refrigerator, our finances need spring cleaning too. One of my favorite reasons to spring clean my finances: I get to check a lot of things off a to-do list in a relatively quick manner; and who doesn't love that feeling?!

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law

List Of 15 Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances This Year

Pull your credit reports 

There are three major credit bureaus and each has their own credit profile on you! Start by pulling your credit history from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to get some clarity on your current financial status. Look for errors, wrongful negative items, and any debts you may have missed.

Note: It's important to actually pull from the credit bureaus rather than relying on a third party app or website. Creditors pull from the bureaus – so go directly to the source too. This way you can see what potential lenders are looking at.

Repair your credit

If your credit report had any inaccurate, unfair, or unsubstantiated items reach out to Lexington Law, a trusted leader in the credit repair space for a free credit consultation. They have worked with over 500,000 clients and helped with the removal of millions of negative items.

You are more likely to have inaccurate negative items on your credit profile if you've been a victim of identity theft, have medical or student loan debt, have been divorced or on military leave. If this sounds like you, click here to receive your free credit repair consultation today! 

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Debt repayment

 The holidays and New Year hype have calmed down and it's time to check in with any debts you may have accrued. If you don't already have a debt repayment strategy in place, click here to read my favorites.

If you already have a plan to tackle your debt, revisit it. Can you try calling for better rates or terms? Are any lenders willing to close out the debt if you pay a lump cash sum? Are you in a place where debt consolidation would make sense? Are just a few ideas to keep in mind while checking in with your current repayment strategy.

Close out old accounts

Go through all of your existing accounts and see if there is anywhere you can simplify or save money on by closing things out. Some common accounts to check (you may have more):

✔️ RETIREMENT: I left my former employer, my 401k was with one company. I decided to roll that over to my IRA so things were in one place; otherwise I could totally have seen myself being 65 and forgetting all about the 401k I had for a year! Plus the longer you wait to tackle something like this, the more complicated it can get. The company I was at had a lot of turnover so finding the right points of contact along the way was a bit of a headache.

✔️ CREDIT CARDS: To close or not to close your credit card is always the question… Honestly, I don't really think it's worth closing old credit cards. They go inactive after not being used for a while anyway. Plus, closing your oldest account or highest credit limit can actually negatively impact your score. Instead of closing, I'd put the credit card in a safe so you don't lose it and keep monitoring the account to ensure no fraud occurs. To make this simple, you can use the Lex OnTrack Identity Theft Protection tool. It monitors your account for you and helps protect your identity from thieves. 

✔️ SUBSCRIPTIONS: If you haven't been using it, it's time to close it out. If you only use it a little, I'd also suggest closing it out. A lot of times companies offer a reactivation discount, so if you think you can live without it for a few months, give it a try!

Consider changing banks

Banks offer specials all of the time. Consider looking into what promotions are happening. I'm a firm believer in never paying a monthly fee to your bank! If you currently are racking up account fees, it may be time to look into promotions at your bank for opening a new one or switching banks altogether. Then close out the account that's been costing you money each month. 

Go through paperwork

Decluttering paper is always on our spring cleaning to-do list! It feels so good to create space and finally get rid of that stack of papers collecting dust in the corner. Some rules of thumb for going through your financial paperwork:

  • Sort into keep, shred, or recycle. Any items that don't have any plastic or identifying information go towards recycling. Any items that have identifying information but you no longer need, go into the shred pile. Lastly, keep anything you'll need for taxes, estate planning, proof of repairs that are still covered under warranty, etc. 
  • Keep tax related documents for 7 years; if you own a business, keep them for 10 years
  • Review you “keep” files too and see if anything has become expired or irrelevant and you no longer need it
  • Beyond tax doneed tax related docs for 7 years , maybe more if you're a business owner. we keep a shred pile, bring it out

Go paperless

While you are going through the paperwork, notice if you can switch any of the financial statements to digital statements. This means less clutter around your home, so less to do next year! Plus some places offer a discount for going paperless!

Budget

If you are already utilizing a budget that's fantastic! Now is a great time to look at the big picture of your annual spending for the past year and evaluate whether or not your budget is supporting your long term goals.

If you don't currently have a budget, consider your long term financial goals and then put one in place. This is my favorite, super simple, 3 number budget to get you started!

Automate savings and bills

Automating savings can ensure you stay on track with your big picture financial goals. If you put together your budget in the last step, this is a great way to ensure you reach any savings goals you may have outlined. 

On another note, late payments can seriously cost you! Ensure that doesn't happen by setting up auto pay for your bills like utilities, insurances, and your car. You can also set an auto-pay for the minimum monthly balance on your credit card too. 

Look ahead for irregular expenses

This is kind of a footnote to the budget and automated savings items that deserves it's own little section because so few people know about it.

Sinking funds ensure you stay on track with saving towards infrequent financial goals or “to-do's” so you don't have to dip into your emergency fund. Sinking funds are kind of like the secret weapon for budgeting like a boss, and now is the perfect time to set some up! Read more here –> Complete Guide To Sinking Funds: What Are They? Why You Need One + How To Set It Up

Investments

You can also automate investing!! If you've tackled your debt, now is a great time to start investing! You can open a retirement account with as little as $50. If you already have a retirement account, kick it up a notch by working with robo-advisors. There are loads of options out there that allow you to automate a set amount you invest each month and others invest your spare change from regular transactions by just rounding up to the next whole dollar. Getting into investing really is easier than ever. 

If you're already investing, now is a great time to check in with your asset allocation. This naturally drifts over time, so it's good to rebalance and check-in. If you do have larger financial milestones coming up, you may want to change things up to a less risky portfolio as well. 

Update (or create) a will and/or estate plan

Nobody wants to think about their death, but if you have a family you really should. Creating a will ensures that your loved ones are taken care of and know the plan if anything were to happen to you. If you already have a will, make sure it's up to date and takes into account any changes that may have come up in the past year.

Shop your rates 

Make a list of all your financial relationships (banks, credit cards, internet, cable, auto, etc.) and then call each one to see if they will lower your rates (whether that's interest or primary payment each month). You may have to negotiate a little with them; ask if they can match competitors rates, ask to cancel your relationship, etc. I just remember growing up and every year my mom threatened to cancel with our phone company and they always gave her the initial promo rate she signed up with. 

Adjust your tax withholding (if applicable)

If you got a tax refund this year, don't celebrate right away! That means you overpaid the IRS and essentially gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. On the flip side, if you withheld too little, you could be faced with penalties. The goal is always to have a $0 tax bill come April. If that isn't you, then you probably need to adjust some things. 

Create a plan to monitor your finances for the year

Identity theft and fraud are on the rise. Unexpected and unpredictable things happen every day. It's important to have a simple system in place for monitoring your finances throughout the year. BONUS: it'll make spring cleaning your finances even easier next year! You can start with a simple solution like the Lex OnTrack Identity Theft Protection tool which monitors and protects your identity from theft with $1 million in identity theft insurance! It works to help catch fraud on your accounts and works with you to rectify the situation.

Another option would be to spend 20 minutes every Saturday morning reviewing your accounts. Use that time to catch any errors, download and save digital statements so they're prepped for tax season, and check in with your spending for the week.

While spring cleaning your finances takes a little extra effort on your end, it becomes easier and easier the more you have a strong financial foundation in place. If this list feels overwhelming, start with just one thing like repairing your credit by giving Lexington Law a call today if you believe there are unsubstantiated or inaccurate claims on your credit profile. 

Once your financial foundation is set, regular monitoring and upkeep make spring cleaning a breeze! Think of it like doing regular maintenance on your car or a/c… a little TLC to save yourself from a huge headache!

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List Of 15 Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances This Year

  1. Pull your credit reports 

  2. Repair your credit

  3. Debt repayment

  4. Close out old accounts

  5. Consider changing banks

  6. Go through paperwork

  7. Go paperless

  8. Budget

  9. Automate savings and bills

  10. Look ahead for irregular expenses

  11. Invest

  12. Update (or create) a will and/or estate plan

  13. Shop your rates

  14. Adjust your tax withholding (if applicable)

  15. Create a plan to monitor your finances for the year

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