Ahhhh, the beauty of the season. Warming temperatures, greening lawns, flowering trees…and pollen. Pollen everywhere – on our cars, in the roads, and somehow, despite all the wonders of modern science, in our houses. Time for spring cleaning!
Let me be honest. I don’t like to clean, but I love it when the house looks good, so Angie and I “grit our teeth and get it done” to enjoy the results.
Maybe you are the same way with your personal finances. Most people don’t naturally love managing money. We want the RESULTS without the work it may require. But like spring cleaning, you have apply a little elbow grease if you want your finances to sparkle!
Here are a few “financial spring cleaning” tips for you to consider:
Clean Up Your Accounts
I have found that the more I can simplify, the easier it is to manage. How many checking or savings accounts do you have? Could you consolidate them so you have fewer accounts to manage? The same applies to credit cards. Canceling all but one or two cards reduces the number of statements you receive, bills you pay, and annual fees. And it improves your mental health as well!
Remove the Spots from Your Credit Report
It’s a great idea to run a credit report on yourself annually. You can get a free report at www.creditkarma.com. Print your report and look for any incorrect information. For example, when a loan is paid off, there can be a delay in reporting this to the credit agencies, which lowers your credit rating. Contact the company to have this information updated.
Scrub Your Debt
The average American family has $16,000 in consumer debt (not including the mortgage). While certain kinds of debt are understandable, it can severely limit our ability to save for future needs like kids’ college or retirement. It also keeps us from giving financially to the Lord’s work or to those in need.
How do you “scrub your debt?” List your obligations on a piece of paper from largest to smallest. Let’s say there are 10 items. Find creative ways to eliminate the small debts at the bottom of the list. Have a yard sale. eBay those Franklin Mint commemorative dinner plates! Pack a lunch instead of eating out. If you are focused, you can easily cut the list from 10 to five items. There, isn’t that more manageable? Now formulate a plan to accelerate payment of the remaining debts. By “scrubbing” our debts, we free up funds for other priorities.
If you’d like more practical tips, sign up for Shandon’s RIGHT ON THE MONEY class here. It’s free, only 4 weeks, and we start the Sunday morning after Easter. Let’s do some “financial spring cleaning” together!