'Spring Into Action' and Clean Up Your Finances!May 01, 2022 02:17PM ● By Carol Ann Aldridge
You find yourself waking to the sound of birds chirping at your window, you see flowers are beginning to bloom, and the days are getting progressively warmer. Ahhh, spring is here! April showers bring May flowers and a wonderful opportunity to assess your finances after the holiday season. Reviewing your spending habits and evaluating your budget in the spring will not only set the tone for the remainder of the year, but will help you reach your savings goal for the upcoming holiday season. So, if you’re ready to dust off that calculator, we have five financial spring-cleaning tips to help you navigate the season:
Organize: Do you find yourself struggling where to begin your spring cleaning? Why not start with organizing your bills. Many find that seeing the actual due dates on a calendar help with coordinating which pay period is used to pay said bills. Whether you prefer to use a spreadsheet or a printable checklist, knowing what is due, when it’s due and how much is due is a great place to start.
Declutter: Do you have any unused items taking up precious space in your home? If so, now is the perfect time for a garage sale. An article published in Psychology Today states that cluttered spaces can lead to feeling more stressed, less efficient thinking and even contribute to poor eating habits. So why not declutter, destress and add a little to your savings.
Sort: As you organize your finances and look for areas of improvement, we recommend reevaluating and sorting your wants and your needs in your budget. As always, make certain your needs (i.e., your basic living expenses such as housing) are accounted for first and foremost. Once the essentials have been taken care of, we then recommend allotting a set amount to your savings, and then you may focus on your wants.
Toss Out: Looking to trim your budget? Consider tossing out rarely used subscriptions, expensive gym memberships or that daily drink (sometimes twice daily) at the coffee shop. Exercising and brewing your own coffee at home can easily save you hundreds of dollars per month!
Clean: Now that the holidays are over and your budget has been scrubbed clean, you can shift your focus to your credit report. We recommend that you review your credit report at least three times per year to not only check for errors, but to know where you stand from a financial standpoint. Do you have any negative items on your report? Set a plan to start paying down those lenders and move forward.
Spring cleaning your home has been proven to lead to an improved mood and feeling less stressed; it also provides a sense of accomplishment. Wouldn’t you like to feel that way regarding your finances? Now is the perfect time to reassess those goals and set healthy spending habits for the remainder of the year. So, tidy up those bills and polish that budget! Your mind and wallet will thank you.
Carol Ann Aldridge is a certified lending counselor for Alive Credit Union. For more information about Alive Credit Union, call 904-296-1292 or visit Alivecu.coop. See ad, back cover.