Take a deep breath, spring is finally here!
If your winter was as long and cold as mine, then you’re also looking forward to opening the windows to fresh air and plenty of sunshine.
For some reason those open windows awakens our need to spring clean, so take this time to get your financial house in order too.
7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances
1. Review your Yearly Goals.
On January 1st, we’re so gung-ho about writing goals, but are we just as enthusiastic about those goals on March 11? Refresh your memory with what you were thinking at the beginning of the year and review your yearly financial goals. You’re now in the trenches of the new year, do those goals still make sense?
When reviewing your goals, did you use the S.M.A.R.T. method when you wrote them? Are they:
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – achievable and agreed upon
- R – realistic
- T – time based, tangible,
Take a peek at my family’s financial goals–I keep our Debt Freedom Plan on our refrigerator door for a constant reminder of our financial goals.
2. Update (or create) your Family Balance Sheet.
I developed our family balance sheet years ago when I needed a way to talk to my husband about our finances. I offer a free excel download to my email subscribers. Learn more about my Family Balance Sheet and how to get a copy in this post.
3. Clean Up Your Office Space.
I have a love/hate relationship with my home office space. At one time, it was in the basement, but it’s really really cold down there in the winter and once I had kids, I felt like I needed to be where the action was. So I’ve moved my little space into a corner of the dining room. I’m still not happy, but we have no intentions of moving any time soon, so it will have to do. Because my office is in the dining room, keeping it tidy is a must and something that I’m always working on.
Set aside some time to purge & organize your office.
4. Organize your Financial Documents.
I did a MAJOR paper purge back and wrote an extensive post on the subject. If you have a lot of paper financial documents that you’re not sure what to do with, read How Long Should Keep You Financial Documents.
5. Check your Credit Report.
It is good idea to review your credit report periodically to check for any fraudulent activity, such as identity theft. Per the Federal Trade Commission, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
6. Create a Daily/Weekly/Monthly Financial To-Do List.
Around the time our second daughter was born, I found myself so overwhelmed and distracted that I missed paying the rent for our business office. I’ll blame sleep deprivation, but important tasks were slipping through the cracks and I also got severely behind with some Quickbooks transactions. I had to refocus and basically suck-it-up. We are self-employed, so no maternity leave for me.
To ease my anxiety, I developed a financial to-do list. I broke down my responsibilities: business office, home office, and projects. I listed all of the tasks that MUST be accomplished on a regular, timely basis. Tasks might be as simple as ‘reconciling’ or more complex like ‘paying the office payroll taxes’ and I definitely added ‘Pay Rent’ on the list.
Since that time, I have automated most of our financial transactions, but I still rely on my list to keep me in check. It is a visual reminder that I keep near my desk so I am able to glance at it daily. This simple, yet effective, list has saved me a lot of stress and time.
7. Review Your Bills. Are You Paying Too Much?
When was the last time you shopped around for home owner’s or auto insurance? Use spring as a reminder to review your bills to see if you’re paying too much. Ask close friends and family for their recommendations. How has their experience been with these companies? Bills to review:
- home owners insurance
- auto insurance
- life insurance
- mortgage interest rates
- cable TV
- phone service
- internet service
- home heating service
Are you ready to spring clean your finances?
For more spring cleaning tips, don’t forget to read 20 Spring Cleaning Tasks to Freshen Up Your Home.