Look, I know that everyone talks about starting off the new year with a budget and healthy finance plan, and I am all for it. But I also know life gets crazy and hectic and suddenly we’re in Q2 and you’re thinking, “Where did the time go?” Luckily, you can still take some positive steps and give your financials the spring cleaning they need.
Review your bill-paying process
Autopay is a beautiful thing, but it’s something we don’t take advantage of as much as we should. Establishing a bill-paying process is super helpful in making sure your finances stay on track and you don’t fall behind. Make a list of your current monthly and bi-monthly bills and enroll in the autopay option. If you have a wonky paycheck schedule or you aren’t able to do autopay, make a calendar where you can visually keep track of due dates and make sure you are up to date.
Check your credit report
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know their credit score until they need it for something. Reviewing your credit report will help you understand where you’re succeeding and where you need to pay attention. If you see anything that you want to dispute, it’s best to file with the credit bureau as soon as you can.
Assess your cash flow
Having a budget is necessary, but knowing your cash flow is crucial. The beginning of spring is a perfect opportunity to take a step back and make sure all expenses are being considered, and that you’re still allocating enough to your savings, retirement and “rainy day” accounts while leaving yourself some spending flexibility. Saving for a new home or summer vacation? Tweak your budget so it reflects how much you’ll need to save for those expenses.
It’s actually best to limit the number of credit cards you keep. Use just one card if you can—the fewer you have, the easier it is to remember your balance and keep track of total purchases. If you’re unsure which credit cards to cancel, carefully read your monthly statements to check out the annual fee, the interest rate you’ll pay and any charges for overdue payments or going over your credit limit. Now is also a great time to see if you qualify for a zero-interest credit card that you could potentially transfer any current balances to. This way you’d start spring fresh and give yourself more breathing room to tackle your debts.
It’s 2020, are we really still relying on paper bills? Cut out the clutter and waste by contacting your accounts payable and opting into paperless billing. This can also seriously help cut down on identity theft. Make sure you also invest in a shredder or head to your local office supply store to shred paper bills so you’re not at risk.