23 Apr 3 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances
For a lot of us, spring is the time to clean and consolidate. The sight of a newly-cleaned-out garage or attic provides instant gratification—especially if you can donate some of your rarely used things to those in need.
Many of us forget, unfortunately, that our homes aren’t the only thing in need of regular cleaning. Throughout the year (and especially during the holidays), we can lose track of our finances and make financial decisions that linger into the new year. Spring is the perfect time to get back on track.
Here are 3 easy ways to spring clean your finances this year.
Add Up Your Total Debt.
A recent poll by creditcards.com showed that over 60 percent of Americans with debt don’t know when they can pay it off. Of that 60 percent, a staggering 25 percent believed they would never pay off their debts. The majority of those polled had no plan for getting out of debt.
Owing a lot of money can be a crushing experience. Many of us choose to look the other way, pay our minimums, and try to forget about it. Unfortunately, this is not the path to debt freedom; in fact, not addressing your total debt can cause your financial situation to get worse.
Sit down at your computer or with your financial statements and get a clear idea of how much you actually owe. Look at your credit report. Evaluate how you pay your monthly bills.
Once you know how much you truly owe, you can move forward with a plan to pay it off.
Get Rid of Rarely Used Monthly Memberships and Premium Subscriptions.
How often do you actually use your Amazon Prime membership?Your Spotify Premium account? Your YouTube Red account?
What about the beauty subscription boxes you receive each month? Do you actually use most of the products or do you end up giving them to friends and family?
For many people, these subscriptions and memberships are luxuries that they don’t actually use. And the money spent on them each month is staggering.
Yes, it’s nice to be able to watch YouTube with no commercials. But if you aren’t watching YouTube multiple times per week, can you justify spending $144 per year on it?
What about a gym membership that costs you, say, $700 per year (the US average)? If you only go to the gym one day per week, you’re paying $13.46 per visit. The price goes up when you average in sign-up fees.
Take a deep dive into your monthly subscriptions and memberships. Access your Apple Pay and Google Pay subscriptions; cancel the services you know you don’t use. It’s as easy as the tap of a screen.
Once you’ve spring cleaned your subscriptions, add up the amount of money you’ll save each month. It’s probably more than you think.
Tackle Leftover Holiday Debt.
Do you have a few holiday-related shopping sprees hanging around on your credit card balances?Get rid of them. They’re adding dollars to your monthly interest charges.
Few of us have the cash on hand to outright pay these kinds of bills. But if you can find a short-term (or even one-day) job to earn some extra money, you can get those balances back to zero.
Do yard work for a friend or neighbor. Clean up your car and take a few fares for Lyft or Uber. Sell your old books, games or electronics on eBay or Amazon. Work a few shifts at a music festival or local event.
There are hundreds of ways to earn some extra cash that won’t interfere with your day job or require learning new skills. Do your research online, and choose the option that’s right for you.
As spring gets underway, make a plan for tackling some of the finance-related clutter in your life. Even the simple task of organizing your financial documents can provide clarity on your money situation. A visit with a financial advisor could put you back on the right track. As summer (and vacations and trips) arrive, you’ll be more prepared and—hopefully—more at peace with your bank statements.