7 Steps to Help Clean Up Your Finances This Year

SORT THROUGH YOUR STUFF:

You’ll find a lot of things you don’t need or desire when you clean out your closets, drawers, cabinets, and other storage locations throughout your house. Make three piles: one for trash, one for charity, and one for resale.

Get rid of what you don’t need and donate what you do to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity in your area. Remember to request a tax receipt from the organization if you want to itemize your deductions this year rather than taking the standard deduction.

Decide how you’ll resell the items in the last pile. For example, you may hold a yard sale of your own or participate in a nearby one. In addition, you may sell your unwanted items on various online marketplaces, including Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, Poshmark, and ThredUp.

Finally, use your spring cleaning profits to pay down debt, support a summer trip, or other financial goals. And don’t forget your wallet! Surprisingly, up to $3 billion in gift cards sit unused every year.

 

GET RID OF UNECESSARY PAPERWORK:

As you organize your home after the new year, you may wonder what to do with your financial files. Keeping what you need and purging the rest is fundamental to a clutter-free, money-saving household:

  • Determine what to keep and what to throw away. It depends on the papers, your finances, and your tax status.
  • Protect your personal information by shredding any financial documents you no longer need.
  • De-clutter your digital files as well. The passwords for your electronic files and mobile devices should be changed and always protected.

 

CLEAN UP YOUR CREDIT:

When using one of your credit cards, you may be able to see your credit score in real-time. In addition, websites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, or Nerd Wallet offer free credit scores. With that said, it’s essential to keep tabs on your credit score.

Keep in mind that your credit score can affect anything from interest rates on credit cards and loans to your ability to get a new apartment or employment.

Financial habits like checking your credit history and score regularly can positively impact your finances!

 

ADJUST YOUR BUDGETING GOALS:

If you want to save money, there are several options. For example, did you remove cable TV to save money but add four or five subscription services? Have you contacted to renegotiate your monthly internet bill or your credit card interest rate?

You may be spending more money than you know if you’ve developed a routine of grabbing coffee on the way to work, buying lunch, and ordering takeout a few times a week.

Ordering food or eating out is fine if it fits your budget! Just be sure your spending doesn’t cause you to miss other financial goals.

You can meet short-term savings goals by adding sinking money to your budget. For example, to prevent going into debt, you should include a $75-a-month holiday spending line item in your monthly budget.

 

EXAMINE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS:

While having multiple bank accounts (checking and savings) and lenders makes sense, some people have too many. You can simplify your finances by having accounts with one traditional and one internet lender.

Consolidating accounts may help you avoid monthly fees. You can also earn extra income by saving in a high-yield account or CDs offered by online lenders.

Setting up automatic bill payments from your bank accounts will ensure timely payments. You can also set up automatic transfers across accounts to help you save.

Don’t forget to update your bank account passwords and make them strong and unique. Two-factor authentication is another wise financial account security measure.

 

REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES:

If you can’t recall the last time you read your insurance documentation or compared rates, it’s time to revisit your policies.

Auto paying your monthly insurance premiums is an excellent way to ensure your premiums get paid on time – but you may be paying significantly more than necessary if you fail to consider the higher costs when your policy renews.

Review your auto and renters/homeowners’ insurance. Do these policies have the same carrier? If not, you may be losing out on considerable insurance discounts.

Which of your insurance policies have the highest deductibles? Increasing deductibles to pay cheaper rates may make sense if you have enough money set aside to afford a larger deductible in the event of an emergency.

Examine your insurance coverage to see whether it needs to be changed (up or down!). A car with many miles on it may not require the same level of coverage as one acquired with a loan. You may need to increase your coverage if you have remodeled or added to your home.

 

DEVELOP A PLAN FOR WEALTH:

Now is an opportune time to brush up on your financial management skills and make smart future investments. Improve your current assets as you boost your financial knowledge.

Have you recently made additional contributions to your 401(k) and other retirement accounts? Compound interest works best when you start investing as early as possible and don’t stop. Old 401(k) plans and brokerage accounts can be rolled over and consolidated.

Examine all fees applied to your investing accounts before deciding. To optimize your money’s growth, you should strive for less than 1%. When rebalancing your portfolio, remember to consider your age, risk tolerance, and time to retirement.

If you haven’t started estate planning yet, now is the time to do so. However, don’t skip this vital step even if you think you’re too young or don’t have enough assets to have an estate.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE:

There is nothing more valuable than taking control of your stress, simplifying your life, and getting your finances in order. You will save money, time, and aggravation by accomplishing this goal.

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