These days, everyone has a few dusty old financial cobwebs in the corners of their lives that seriously need cleaning.
But instead of removing those cobwebs when they get the chance, people tend to let them linger longer than they should — which can sometimes make them grow even bigger!
Don't let that happen. It's spring again -- and that means it's time to look at your financial world and future with a fresh new perspective.
Everyone goes through some form of spring cleaning, but if you want to really nail it this year, check out these tips for spring cleaning for your finances for 2021 and beyond!
Spring Clean Your Finances
To start your financial spring cleaning, you will need to take stock of your current expenses. Get a jump on your spring cleaning process by eliminating any of these unnecessary expenditures:
- Expensive habits like dining out for multiple meals a week
- Subscription services like Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, cable, magazines, or video game services
- Overuse of electricity and other utilities
- Too much monthly credit card use
- Overpriced insurance policies
Review Your Goals
If you've followed along with the Atlas Credit blog so far this year, you'll have already created some excellent financial resolutions you intend to keep.
It's time to take a close look at those goals you set and determine whether or not you're on the path to achieving them. If you've veered off course, do everything you can this spring to get yourself back on track.
Take Stock of Your Budget
Every household should have a budget. It tells you how much you can spend each month and keeps you within your means. You should budget for everyday items, such as groceries and gas, as well as monthly payments on utilities and rent. Your income should cover your monthly budget, but if it doesn't, you can adjust.
After you have taken the above steps to reduce your monthly budget, go over how much you spend each month on necessities. Then look over your previous month's bank statements to find out how much you spent on eating out and entertainment. Such expenses will be the first to go if your income is not covering your monthly costs.
Get everyone in your family on board with the new budgeting system. Ensure they will pay attention to how much they spend and record it in a family spreadsheet. Then you can see with a glance who is sticking to the plan and who needs a reminder.
How to Clean up Debt
Debt can overshadow your budget, especially when it feels too big to tackle. By carefully scheduling your debt payments and budgeting to pay more than the required monthly amount, you can pay off your debt more quickly. Use these tips decrease your debt as you spring clean your finances:
- Pay more than the minimum each month
- Never miss a payment, or you may have to pay a penalty
- Build debt payments into your monthly budget
- Monitor your credit score to ensure it reflects your steady repayment schedule
You should request a copy of your credit report every spring as well to make sure there is nothing inaccurate on it. If you discover a loan you didn't take out or a credit card account you didn't open, you can pursue a fraud investigation.
Use the Latest Technology & Go Paperless
Now more than ever, technology has advanced to the point where most of our money matters can be handled with apps, software, and website programs. If you aren't already using some of these to help track your budget, savings, and other financial concerns, you're missing out.
Make sure to download your bank's app and see what kind of services they offer for money tracking. Then, look through your phone or tablet's app store to see what kind of budget apps are available. A little time spent plugging in your info will save you tons of time and money in the long run.
Moreover, nearly every utility and subscription service has an option to go paperless and get your bills via email. You also get reminders that you can act on right away when you see them. For instance, if your electric bill is due in 24 hours, you can hop on the website and make the payment right then. You can set up automatic payments as well, which ensures you won't forget to pay your bill.
When you convert to paperless billing, you add convenience to your life and save paper — which is good for the environment, too.
Dig Into All Your Accounts
Like most of us, you've probably created all sorts of accounts over the past few years for your savings, investments, email addresses, entertainment services, and more.
These can get seriously overwhelming and can clog your email inbox like nothing else. Spend a few hours this spring searching through every account registered in your name, and cancel those you use least. Then, look at your bank account transaction histories and be positive every purchase you've made was your doing.
You never know what you might dig up!
Every year, Americans accumulate an incredible amount of paperwork. From W2s to credit card offers to fliers from the local grocery store, you probably have a stack of paperwork in a corner of your home that's teetering on the brink of collapse.
Comb through these documents to see what you need to hold onto most, and invest in a paper shredder. Not only can a shredder be a load of satisfying fun to use, it's also helpful in keeping your information secure. You don't want someone picking through your trash to find sensitive information about your finances, so shredding unneeded documents is the best way to go.
Plan for Your Future
A big part of spring cleaning your finances is determining what you need for the future as well. If you haven't been saving money, now is the time to start. We recommend that all clients set up an emergency savings fund. The money can cover unexpected expenses, such as new tires for your car or an expensive medical procedure.
Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck, it is still possible to save. You don't have to put away a lot each month — just a few dollars. The money will grow fast as long as you consistently contribute to the account.
If you complete your spring cleaning and realize you could use a little extra money to start or finish a project, pay off some consolidated debt, or simply take it easy for a while, consider a personal loan from a lender like Atlas Credit.
We offer quick and easy personal loans up to $1,300 to borrowers with good credit, bad credit, or no credit at all. Apply online or in store at one of our many locations in cities like Fort Worth, Austin, Waco, or Longview today!
Consider the Credit Benefits of Personal Loans
Sometimes, even after you perform a complete overhaul of your finances, you still have one additional obstacle in the way of accomplishing your goals: your credit score.
A bad credit score can make it tough to secure any additional financing from a traditional lender. That's why you should consider the immediate benefits of a personal loan, to get the money you need, ASAP. We have locations across Texas and Oklahoma where you can take out a loan, or you can apply online today.
If you follow these quick tips this season and consider the benefits of personal loans, you'll take a huge step in the right financial direction. Now doesn't that feel better?