Six Tips for Financial Spring Cleaning
Spring is finally in-the-air! This is a season of renewal and a great time to sweep away our winter bills and tidy up spending habits. When we get our budget under control, we can breathe easier and prepare for sunny days ahead.
Here are six tips we can use to quickly spruce up our finances:
- Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a new homeowner or renter, be sure to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving – and stick to it.
- Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. Begin paying off existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
- Set up automatic bill pay. By paying recurring bills automatically on the same day each month, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. Plan out your automatic payments to ensure your checking account has an adequate amount of funds when the payments are scheduled to be withdrawn.
- Save for emergencies. Did you know 60 percent of our fellow Americans would struggle to pay a $400 emergency expense? We can prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Let’s shoot to save $1,000 as fast as possible. Down the road, it should hold about three to six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing a job or having to replace a car.
- Go digital. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house—physical and financial—more clean and organized, and will help protect you from fraud. Use our mobile app to check your balance, pay your bills, transfer funds, deposit a check and send money to friends from wherever you are.
- Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate.