Spring Clean Your Finances With These Four Simple Steps
Spring has sprung and now is the perfect time to spring clean your finances! The Consumer Reports National Resource Center found that one in four Americans admit to having misplaced or lost some information critical to their finances. If you’ve ever been there, then check out our four simple tips to help you declutter your finances and get your funds back in tip top shape!
1. Go Paperless
In today’s world, a tablet, laptop, or smartphone are never too far from us, and they are the perfect starting point to cleaning up and organizing your finances. Having statements and invoices delivered electronically is one of the easiest and quickest ways to pay your bills compared to keeping track in a dusty filing cabinet. Using financial management software, like Quicken, also gives you that extra layer of organization to stay on top of all of your finances including taxes, credit cards, and banking.
2. Don’t Wait for the Due Date
Take out some of the drama and don’t wait until the last minute! Make it a habit to pay bills when they come in. It’s just as easy to overlook a due date on a bill stored electronically as it is to forget a paper bill stuffed into a desk drawer. Paying upon receipt helps avoid past-due notices and late fees if you get busy and forget — or can’t find the paper bill.
3. Automation Is Your Friend
To streamline your financial life and take one less thing off your plate, consider automated bill payments. You won’t even have to deal with bills as they arrive because you’ve already scheduled payments on the same day each month. Even better, use Quicken’s Bill Pay feature. Just make sure to stop the remittances if you discontinue a service. You can also automate contributions to savings and retirement plans. It may be possible to arrange with your employer to divert some of your pay to a savings account or your 401(k) plan before you even see your paycheck.
4. Consolidate Accounts
The goal here is to make your life easier! Ask yourself if you really need five credit cards. You’ll have a lot less to keep track of if you consolidate into one, or even two cards — ideally the accounts with the lowest interest rates. Be wary of transfer fees when you move balances, however. Some can be steep, but if you have a good credit score, many companies offer attractive balance transfer options. This approach to decluttering also works with retirement savings plans. If you have multiple accounts, some from previous jobs, consider combining them all into a single IRA. Service providers and insurers are competitive and often will cut you a break if you bundle various accounts, such as phone, cable and Internet with one company, or life, auto and homeowner policies with one insurer.
There’s never been a better time than now to freshen up your finances. Use financial management programs like Quicken, to help you get a head start this spring!