Clean up your personal finances

A season of renewal, spring is the time to scrub, scrub and remove all the messy remnants of a winter confined indoors. In addition to cleaning out cabinets and pantries, it’s also a great time to update your budget and clean up your finances.

According to a recent survey by cash back site TopCashback.com49 percent of Americans said that aside from the home, their finances could use some spring cleaning.

Spring is a good time to assess your spending habits and come up with a plan, said Rebecca Gramuglia, a consumer expert on TopCashback.com.

“Starting fresh with your finances can help set the tone for the year. Whether you’re creating a summer budget, have a savings goal you want to reach, or something in between, implementing these steps as soon as possible can help you achieve success. And with spring officially hitting our calendars on Sunday, it’s the perfect time to start, as it’s still early enough in the year.”

Start with some simple introspection, Gramuglia said.

“Ask yourself a few questions to determine what you’re doing well and what you can improve on like, ‘How many times did I go over budget this year?’ and ‘Do I buy items at full price before looking for discounts?’ By evaluating yourself in this way, you can identify which areas need improvement and plan to update your financial priorities for the year.”

If you’re ready to add a calculator and bank statement to your spring cleaning routine, here are some expert tips to help:

  • Dust off your budget. “There are many ways to organize your finances, such as opening savings accounts and regularly reviewing your budget,” Gramuglia said. Review your bills to get a clear idea of ​​what you owe and write it all down. There are a plethora of budgeting apps, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers tools, including an easy-to-use app. bill tracker that can help you streamline your spending and stay on top of payment due dates.

  • Clean up your credit. Millions of Americans refuse to check their credit scores for fear of what they might find. However, the more you review your credit report and score, the sooner you’ll be able to spot problems and errors as they arise. Just a website — Credit Annual Report.com — is authorized to provide the free annual credit report to which you are entitled under federal law.

  • Discard debt. If you’re working your way out of credit card debt, consider switching a large balance to a new card that offers zero percent interest on balance transfers. By doing so, your debt will stop accruing interest charges for a period of time, sometimes a year or more, which can save you hundreds of dollars and help you pay off debt faster.

  • Accumulate rewards. “Review any rewards program you participate in, whether it’s a cash back on your credit card or an accumulated amount of points for a store’s loyalty program,” Gramuglia said. You may be able to use those rewards, like an earned cash back, to pay off the debt.

  • Automate payments. Some people have a hard time remembering to pay their credit card bills on time. If you’re one of them, call your credit card company and ask them to automatically withdraw your monthly payments from your bank account. You can also move the due date to better align with your income or explore extended payment options.

  • Save systematically. Setting up a savings plan and sticking to it will pay off in the long run, especially if you do it quietly. “To make sure you’re saving money, opt to automatically transfer a portion of your paycheck to a savings account,” Gramuglia said. “By taking this extra step, you can reduce the temptation to overspend.”

  • Clean subscription services. Consumers spend $273 per month on subscriptions, and 89 percent of Americans underestimated how much they spent on these monthly services, according to the State of Spending on Subscription Services. study. Bottom line, if you’re not using the service, you’re a waste of money, personal finance expert. Andrea Woroch said. “Check your credit card statements and list each subscription to find out where it’s registered and cancel what you don’t need,” he said. “You can even use a site like Prune which says it helps identify and cancel unused subscriptions and memberships by you.” Once this is done, explore free services, such as those offered through your local library.

  • Caliber insurance. According to the 2022 State of Auto Insurance Report auto insurance rates have gone up. “If you haven’t priced your policy in a few years, do a quick search online through a comparison site like LaZebra.com to see if you can save by switching providers,” Woroch said. “Bundling your homeowners policy with auto insurance policies and increasing your deductible will also help lower your premium and monthly payment.”

  • Declutter your home for profit. Clean out the garage or the closets? There are several potentially profitable ways to get rid of unwanted tools, equipment, and clothing. You can sell quality clothing, accessories, and more on digital marketplaces like poshmark, ThredUp and Mecari for a commission. You can also sell just about anything on Facebook Marketplace.
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