Spring is here and it signals a giant reset button for all of us. No matter where we live in the country, spring cleaning is a time for a refresh. This can and should ring true for our personal finances. Spring represents a great time to tidy up your budget. Below we look at some creative ways to clean up your finances to help you save some money this year.
Create a Filing System for your Finances
The most important step in building a house is laying down the foundation. The foundation provides support and order for your home. Every financial budget requires order and a solid foundation. Step number one for tidying up your budget should be implementing an organized filing system. The most important thing to accomplish is keeping all of your relevant paperwork together in an easy to access place. Bundle up your credit card, utility, mortgage/rent, insurance and other weekly/monthly/annual payment bills and organize them in whatever way is ideal for you. Whether it be spreadsheets, phone apps, folders or envelopes, make sure all of your records are filed in a safe place such as a filing cabinet or desk drawer. This way, when it’s time to pay your bills, everything you need will be in one place. This will avoid missed payments due to disorganization, which can lead to excess late charges.
You Guessed it, Create a Budget
Before you can manage your budget, you need to create one. A budget is a simple estimation of credits and debits over a period of time. This is an integral step in getting your financial house in order. Our first step was putting all of your financial obligations in one place. Now that everything is in order, chart down all of your monthly expenses and income sources. Tracking your spending habits is a useful way to take stock of what you are actually spending each month, and will assist you in staying within your budget. Remember to also revisit your budget frequently. Life happens and financial circumstances can change. With these changes, so should your budget to stay on top.
Now that you have created yourself a budget, you know what needs to be paid and when. You are in prime position to stay on top of your bills. Another tip on staying organized and ahead is to set up bill payment reminders or automated payments. Life can get hectic, which can cause dysfunction in regards to your bill paying. Never pay late or miss a payment again with payment reminders and automated payments.
Coordinate Bill Payments
To maximize your dollars, try and space out your due dates to coincide with your paydays. Most bills fall due at the beginning of the month, so one of your paydays may have more financial obligations than others. Talk with your creditors to see if they are flexible with their due dates, as most reputable creditors are. Spread out your due dates so you leave yourself with enough spending money for other obligations. Leaving yourself enough money will prevent you from relying on a credit card, which will end up costing you more money in the long run with built up debt.
Start Saving, Even if it is Small
Systematic saving will give your finances a boost. Even if you are just putting aside $10 a paycheck, it will continue to grow and collect interest if placed in a proper account. Carving out an exact amount every pay period becomes so routine, you won’t even notice the money is being taken out after a little time. If you ever fall into a financial bind, your savings account can be your knight in shining armor. It will also help you avoid turning to credit cards.
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