Is It Time to Spring Clean Your Finances?
Although these past couple of weeks certainly have not felt like it, warmer weather and Spring are right around the corner. With warmer weather comes the spring-cleaning bug to declutter our houses after a long winter — and while you are in the cleaning mood, there is no better time to take a look at your finances as well. Here are a few basic places to start when looking to clean up your finances this Spring:
Take a Look at Your Spending Habits
When we think of spring cleaning, we think of throwing out old clothes and decluttering our homes of items we just do not use anymore – and we should do the same thing with our spending habits. Take some time to look through your account history. You will most likely see a pattern of how you typically spend your money and will be able to pinpoint those unnecessary purchases that add up over time. Whether it is eating out throughout the week, going out on the weekends, or buying random things online that are not a necessity — cutting back in just one of these areas will add up and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Revisit Your Budget
After looking over your accounts and figuring out where you can cut out some unneeded spending, it is time to revisit your budget. A lot of people kick off the new year with a resolution of setting a budget and sticking by it, but most resolutions are broken by the end of February. Nicer weather can mean more spending, so if you have been having a hard time staying on budget, or if you just do not have a budget in general, now is the perfect time to revisit and set something up for the rest of the year. Take a moment to map out your monthly income, bills, savings, and other expenses. Getting it all organized in one place will help to keep you on track with your spending and make sure you are making the most out of your money each month.
Set Goals for the Future
Creating a budget goes hand-in-hand with planning for your future. Setting realistic goals for your financial future is a great way to stay on track with your finances and gives you something to shoot for and look forward to. Maybe you have a goal to reach a certain point in savings by the end of the year, or you are saving up to purchase a new car or home — whatever the goal may be, make sure it aligns with your budget, income, and spending, and is actually something attainable.
Review Your Accounts and Loans
New goals and a refreshed budget might mean that there are better products and services out there for you than the accounts and loans that you already have. Shop around for the best interest rates and accounts to make sure that your money is where it is going to benefit you the most. Maybe even take some time to meet with a financial planner to get their suggestions on where you should be keeping your money. Just because you have had an account for several years doesn't mean it's the most beneficial for you.
Spring is the time for refreshing and starting new. While getting your home ready for the warmer months, take time to make sure your finances are in order as well. Cut out unnecessary spending, revamp your budget, plan for your future, and make sure you are getting what you deserve out of your accounts — this will put you on the right track to reaching financial peace of mind before the year is over.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.