We spring clean our homes and cars (sometimes!), so why not our finances too? With the end of April signaling the end of the tax year, it’s the perfect time to improve our finances for the months ahead and generally assess our financial position.
Request a Free Credit Report
In case you didn’t know by now, everybody is entitled to one free copy of their credit report per year. To save yourself some hassle, you can actually request your TransUnion, Equifax, and/or TransUnion credit reports from AnnualCreditReport rather than going through the different stages three times.
For those with no experience in this field, you only need to answer some simple questions before then downloading and printing. Sadly, despite all the advances in technology the world has enjoyed, errors are still common on these reports so study them carefully. Once you’ve cleared them for errors and ensured that no incorrect information is negatively affecting your score, we recommend considering sites like WalletHub and Credit Karma. Suddenly, you’ll be able to watch your credit in the summer and winter too.
Adjust/Create a Budget
We know what you’re thinking, ‘the nasty ‘B’ word.’ However, there are now some fantastic apps and websites that make budgeting easier than ever. For example, Clarity Money and Mint are well worth your attention. Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with a classic spreadsheet or pen/paper (remember these?).
With any budget, make sure it’s achievable as well as being easy to adjust whenever necessary in the future. As you take this time to reconsider your financial position, remember your savings goals, assess whether all your expenses are still necessary, and have a full review, so you continually meet your investment and savings needs.
If you’ve never created a budget before, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. In fact, a budget is a tool that can be utilized to ease stress and keep your family on the right path. As long as it’s checked and adjusted when required, your budget will be an overview of how you can reach your goals and avoid financial hardship.
Reconsider Where Your Money Sits
As our third tip, most people unwittingly leave their money sitting in an old savings account where it’s not really contributing anything. With this, we urge you to consider your own savings and other locations where your money resides.
These days, many institutions will offer 2% APY in a free savings account, so this could be a good place to start. Depending on how much extra cash you have available, you can also consider the following savings vehicles;
-Certificate of deposits (CDs)
-IRAs and other retirement savings accounts
Since this is a spring clean, it’s also a great time to compile a full list of your accounts. Whether as a computer document or a piece of paper, this should prevent you from leaving funds behind. Also, it will open doors for diversification with your portfolio.
As you can see, these three finance-related spring-cleaning tips are incredibly simple. Even if you spend a couple of hours with a tablet, laptop, all your account information, and your partner, the resulting changes could make a huge difference to your finances. Just from checking your credit report, creating/adjusting your budget, and reconsidering your accounts, you can prevent your finances from going stale and also errors with your credit score.
Of course, if you need assistance with important decisions, you can also request help from finance professionals!