After you finish spring cleaning your house this season set aside some time to spring clean your finances. May is a great time to review your expenses and put your financial house in order. Follow these easy steps to organize your documents, give your credit score a boost, spend less and save more.
If you haven’t already moved into electronic banking consider doing so now. Keep digital copies of your bank and credit card statements and get rid of all those paper trails. Invest in a scanner from Staples and create PDF versions of all of your financial documents and tax returns. Then shred all of those financial statements that previously came in the mail. Create separate folders for each year you file and store all supporting documents and receipts inside of them. Make sure to include your W2s, 1099s and any other relevant information that could ultimately be questioned by the IRS. If you receive audit notification you’ll want to be prepared.
Create a Budget
At the end of the month do you wonder what happened to all of your hard earned money? Do you want to say goodbye to needless spending and hello to financial security? Then you need a budget. Budgets assist in the allocation of your income and prevent money leaks from occurring. They map out a plan for your paycheck before it hits your bank account. The YNAB (You Need a Budget) app can help you build that map. YNAB provides a clear financial picture by enabling you to set specific spending targets for discretionary categories like clothing, gifts and food. Now is the time to create a solid financial plan, stop frivolous spending and relieve the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck once and for all.
Compare Insurance Options
When is the last time you compared rates on your auto insurance? How do you know if you are paying the lowest rates for the best coverage if you don’t search around for other policies once a year? Lucky for you Progressive Insurance takes the work out of comparing rates. Simply fill out the online form at Progressive.com and wait a few seconds for your results. Choosing the cheapest option could easily save you hundreds of dollars.
Review Your Credit Reports
The higher your credit score rises the lower your interest rates will fall and we all know that lower interest rates result in houses and cars costing us a whole lot less money over the long haul. Bad credit can be the result of errors in your credit report so it’s important to check your data yearly for inaccuracies. You may be required to file written disputes with the three credit bureaus to resolve any issues you find. If you are worried about identity fraud consider signing up for ongoing credit monitoring with the Equifax Complete Advantage Plan. With this plan you’ll receive identity theft protection, access to your Equifax credit score and credit alerts when new credit cards or loan requests are made in your name.
Evaluate Your Credit Cards
When used properly credit cards are a valuable resource for tracking your expenses. Step through a few of your statements and you can easily spot spending trends. Many of us have spending vices that need to be quelled. What’s yours? Do you waste too much money on eating out, buying clothing you never wear or filling your home with decorations and decor you could really live without. Review your expenses and ask yourself what you could cut back on. When you do spend money make sure you are rewarded with a cash back credit card. Check out the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature to earn 1.5% back on all qualifying purchases.
There is no time like the present to get your financial house in order. Follow these easy steps to clean up your records, watch over your credit reports, curb spending, save more money and achieve financial peace of mind.