Six Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances


Spring has finally sprung, which means it’s a great time for a deep cleaning of your personal finances. Here are six easy ways to help you get started.

  1. Set up a Budget

When it comes to cleaning up your finances, creating a spending plan for your money should be the first step. Start by determining your after-tax income, then lay out a plan that covers your needs, like housing and groceries, your wants, like that well-deserved summer vacation, possible emergencies, like an unexpected car repair bill, and, of course, the future, like your 401(k) retirement account. Once you have your budget in place, be vigilant about sticking to it. And if there is a sudden change in your expenses or your income, make sure to adjust accordingly. There is no such thing as “set it and forget it” when it comes to your budget.

  1. Check Your Credit

Your credit score shows you how reliable you’ve been with the money that you’ve borrowed. A good score is important because it qualifies you for lower interest rates and fees on things like credit cards and loans, which will ultimately save you a ton of money. Through, you can check your credit score once a year, for free, from each of the three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Once you have your free credit report, be sure to also check it for any errors or inaccuracies. If you notice any, contact that financial bureau associated with the account and the credit bureau. Your report will also list any past due bills or delinquent items that you should take care of as soon as possible. A single negative item can put a huge dent in your score.

  1. Pay Down Your Debt

If you want to clean up your finances, then you have to start paying down your debt. The more debt you have, the more money you end up losing to interest, especially if that debt is wrapped up in credit cards, which normally carry very high-interest rate percentages. One way to pay down your debt is with the Avalanche Approach. With the Avalanche Approach, you focus on paying off debt with the highest interest rate first, which is usually a credit card. Once you eliminate the balance with the highest interest rate, you move on to the next highest, until all your debt is paid off. There are a number of online debt repayment calculators that will show you how quickly you can pay off any debt. An easy one to use is this one from Credit Karma. And just remember, every extra dollar you put towards paying down your debt every month is money saved in the long run.

  1. Shop Around For Better Rates

When’s the last time you shopped around for a better rate on your cable package, or your cellphone plan, or your various insurance coverages, like home, auto, and life? If your answer is anything over a year, it’s time to shop around. By shopping around for better rates at least once a year, you’ll have a slightly thicker wallet and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re not overpaying for any of these services.

  1. Cancel Unused Subscriptions

Take a long hard look at all of your paid subscriptions and memberships every month and decide which ones are worth keeping around. And make sure to be brutally honest with yourself. If you’re only going to the gym once or twice a month, it’s probably not worth the monthly price tag. The great thing is, a decision like this isn’t permanent. You can easily renew that gym membership whenever you want!

  1. Utilize Technology

Technology has made our lives easier, especially when it comes to our financial lives. Whether you’re looking for budgeting help or a tool that automatically pays your bills, there’s an app for that. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Clarity money app – It tracks your expenditures to make sure you stay on budget while analyzing your spending to clarify wise spending from wasteful spending. It will also cancel subscriptions you’re not using or don’t need, and negotiate some of your bills down to a lower rate.
  • Mint – One of the most popular personal finance apps out there. It easily creates budgets and makes suggestions based on your spending. It also tracks your bills and alerts you when it’s time to pay and finds out your credit score for free while offering tips to help improve it.
  • Acorns – Strictly a savings and investing tool, Acorns helps users save money by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically adding the difference to your acorns account. The money is then invested in a diversified portfolio based on your income and goals, earning you a return on the investment. It’s an easy and painless way to invest.

This spring, while you’re busy tidying up your home, make sure to carve out some time to clean up your personal finances as well. The six ways laid out in this article are an easy and productive place to start.