Time to Dust Off Your Budget — Here's How to Spring Clean Your Finances

3 min read|May 9, 2022|fbtwitteremail

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home. You should freshen up your finances, too. And what better time to spruce up your money moves than when the flowers start to bloom? 

Are we talking about scrubbing coins?

No. Spring cleaning your finances is all about checking in with yourself, your income, and your spending habits to make sure they’re still supporting your financial goals. And updating those goals if your priorities have changed.

Okay, so what’s on my to-do list?

Update your budget.

No matter which method you’re using to keep track of your income and spending, make sure it’s up to date with current numbers. 

ICYMI, inflation’s been on a tear, which means your 2021 budget might need some adjusting. Even if your expenses haven’t changed, maybe your priorities have. Or maybe you’re looking for a better budget plan because your current one isn’t working. 

Psst…here are some other times you should refresh your budget.

Check your credit.

Especially if you’re going to make a big purchase in the near future (think: a car or a house). You’ll want to know your credit score to see if it’s in good shape before you start applying for loans. 

While you’re at it, you should check your credit report, too. Keep an eye out for fraud or errors that could be hurting your score.

Scrub your bills, bills, bills.

You might be paying your bills every month, but are you overpaying? Look over your recurring expenses and figure out if it’s time to cancel some subscriptions or negotiate for a better rate. And make sure all your bills are up to date, of course. 

Add ‘automate my bills’ to your to-do list if you struggle with deadlines. 

Make money moves.

Literally. Did you leave a 401(k) at a former employer? Take this opportunity to roll it over into your new plan or an individual retirement account. 

Check your Venmo or Cash App accounts too if you tend to leave money sitting in there and transfer it to the bank (it’s safer there). 

And speaking of transfers, if you're working on paying down credit card debt, consider a balance transfer to help you tackle it faster and save on interest payments.

Give yourself a boost.

Finally, it’s time to reward yourself. Your future self, that is. If all your money’s in order, start thinking ahead. Maybe it’s time to increase your 401(k) contributions. Or adjust your withholding if your tax refund was a little too big this year. You can also give yourself that ‘found money feeling’ by making an extra debt payment or cashing in on credit card rewards.  

Anything else I should know?

Make money check-ins a regular part of your routine. You don’t need to obsess over your budget (and it might be a problem if you do — hey, financial anxiety). But it’s a good idea to do a self-audit at least once a year. (It’s less scary than it sounds.)

theSkimm

Your money isn’t gonna organize itself. Take some time this spring to clean up your finances and make sure you’re on track to meet your money goals.

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Skimm'd Kamaron McNair, Dae Cason, Megan Beauchamp, and Stacy Rapacon