Spring cleaning your finances
Each year, spring brings along new growth, and for many, it signals another chance to start fresh. While you’re pulling out the mess that’s been accumulating in your closet and readying your home for the seasons to come, it might not be a bad idea to do the same with your finances. Here are a few ways you can clean up your finances this spring:
Change your routine
It’s easy to get stuck in the same routines—every day, you wake up at the same time, eat the same breakfast, and go to work. But the same routines don’t work forever, especially when it comes to finances.
We all have our own day to day spending habits, but not all of these habits are helpful. Chances are, there places you don’t need to be spending money. Pull up your bank statements and analyze your spending habits over the past few months. Are you constantly spending on extras at the checkout counter? Do you really need to eat out for lunch every day of the week, or can you pack a lunch from home some days? Finding and getting rid of these simple, but frequent purchases of unnecessary items can lead to significant long-term savings.
Get rid of waste
Life changes, and so should your budget. Over time the things we used to spend money on become less important or less necessary, but we forget to stop paying for them. As a result, you may have money automatically going towards things you no longer need or want.
Take a second look at your budget and note any outdated items. Is there a subscription service you never use and can cancel? Could you save money by switching your cell phone, cable, or internet plan? It’s good to question your expenses every few months, so you’re not throwing away money on things you’re no longer using.
Clear out debt
In the busyness of life, it’s tempting to sweep debt under the rug and forget about it. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem leads to bigger issues in the future, and can make it harder for you to ever get out of debt.
Take this opportunity to recognize what you owe, and then set out plan out to pay it. Clearing out debt won’t happen all at once, but knowing how much you should be paying each month and how you are going to come up with the money goes a long way, and will make you more likely to stick to your goals.
Utilize online banking systems
Today, almost everything is digital. If you’re not already using online banking, figure out how to start. It’ll be a lot more organized than trying to keep track of the countless random papers lying around your home.
You can even set up automatic systems for things you know you won’t do otherwise. If you want to start saving (which is always a good idea) but know you won’t remember to put money in the account, you could consider having your bank automatically transfer a set amount of money into your savings account each month.
Don’t just focus on how your likes look now; think about the goals you have for the future and what you will need money wise to achieve them. Setting up a plan can help you prepare for life milestones like buying your first home, sending a child to college, or retirement.
Involve the family
April is not only the start of spring, but it’s also financial literacy month. There’s a clearly defined need for financial literacy among our youth, and it’s often not addressed in school. It’s the main reason why Nuvision runs the Essay Challenge, a scholarship program designed to set students up for success and provide them the education they need to be smart with money.
You can help your kids get ahead of the game by involving them in family discussions on finance and encouraging them to begin keeping track of their money. By letting them see how you responsibly manage money, they’ll start to understand how to budget, make good purchasing decisions, and plan for their own futures.