Holly, from Club Thrifty, is back with another great post and I’m excited to announce that she is joining Vosa as a Staff Writer! Holly will be writing every other Tuesday starting today. Be sure to subscribe as a Vosa Insider so you don’t miss any of her awesome posts!
After a painfully long and brutal winter, I think it’s finally safe to say that spring is in the air.
While that’s good news for most people, some also see spring as the perfect time to get started on all sorts of projects around the house. That could mean reorganizing the garage, or touching up paint on the outside of the home for some. For others, it could just mean a good old-fashioned deep clean, and preparation for a big garage sale to sell off unwanted clutter.
Obviously, spring cleaning is a good thing, but it doesn’t have to be limited only to the physical appearance and cleanliness of your home. You can spring clean your finances as well, and the beginning of the year is just as good a time as any. With that in mind, following these five tips to clean not only your house, but your financial house as well:
1. Get your free annual credit report
Taking a closer look at your credit is the best way to catch signs of identity theft and identify errors on your report, and a ton of websites claim to offer a detailed credit report for free. However, only one site, AnnualCreditReport.com, is authorized by the federal government and absolutely free-of-charge with no strings attached. A free copy of your report from the three credit-reporting agencies- Experian, Transunion and Equifax -can be easily accessed just by filling out some information online, making the decision a no-brainer.
2. Clean out your filing cabinet
Organizing and filing your important paperwork is a must. However, it’s also important to clean up- and clear out- the papers and items that you no longer need. For example, you don’t need to keep oil change records for cars you no longer have, or bills from over ten years ago. And since the IRS recommends you keep a copy of your tax returns for up to six years, any returns from years prior can be tossed as well. Just make sure to shred all important documents so that they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
3. Review your budget
The new year often brings a fresh perspective, and that’s why spring is the perfect time to take a closer look at your budget. Start by asking yourself a few questions. For example, “Will my financial situation change this year?” “And if so, how?” Depending on what’s going on in your life, you might be picking up new bills or losing old ones. Making sure that your budget accounts for those factors will ensure that it stays as accurate (and as effective) as possible.
4. Clean out your wallet (or purse)
If you’re like most people, your wallet or purse (or both) can accumulate all sorts of things as the year marches on. With that in mind, spring is the perfect take to take a fresh look at what you’re lugging around and find ways to pare down. Start by taking every item out of your wallet or purse and taking inventory. Then, figure out which items are essential and neatly put them back. Closely examine everything else and determine if it should be saved or tossed.
5. Go green
The beauty of spring can also signify the time to examine your impact on the environment. For starters, find out which of your bills can be received online and sign up for paperless billing if you can.
If recycling is available in your area, spring is the perfect time to renew your recycling efforts and make sure you’re doing all that you can do. And since you’ll likely be working on the house anyway, spring is an ideal time to improve energy efficiency. Small moves like caulking around windows and doors, using energy efficient light bulbs, and adding weather-stripping, can make a huge dent in your utility bills whether it’s spring, summer, winter, or fall.
Are you spring cleaning your finances? If so, how?