Spring is here, and that means spring cleaning the house and putting away the winter clothes. It is also a good time for you to spring clean your finances. By getting things in order now, you will be in better shape when vacation time rolls around and for the rest of the year. Getting your finances in order takes a lot of worry off your shoulders so you can enjoy life a little more. Below, you will find different ways you can spring clean your finances starting right now.
5 Ways to Simplify and Spring Clean Your Finances
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Create a Budget
Before you do anything, you need to create a budget. This will help you determine how much you need to put in savings, how much needs to go toward bills, and how much you can keep for yourself. Even when tempted to deviate, it is imperative that you stick to your budget so you can reap the long-term rewards of better financial security. Keep in mind that it is okay to set aside from money for dining out and having a little fun. You work hard, so you can reward yourself. You might also want to consider getting a pretty budget planner to help you stick to it.
Direct Deposit Is Smart
If you’re not already having your paycheck direct deposited into your bank account, it’s time to start. This means not having to go to the bank and cash a check. Instead, the money goes directly to your account. You can then transfer some to savings or sign up for auto bill pay so bills are automatically paid when you are paid.
Automate Bill Payments
It can be difficult to find time to pay bills. Sometimes, life can get in the way and cause you to forget. It is also difficult to have money in your hand and then have to hand it over to your creditors. In fact, many people hate to see the money go and that causes them to prioritize some bills instead of paying them on time.
When you put paying bills on autopilot, the money never touches your hands. It goes straight to your creditors. You can then decide the most productive way to manage the remainder of the money. It’s wise to put a small amount in savings and keep some for yourself.
As for how bill payments are automated, the following three methods can put you on the right track:
- Talk to your bank – Many banks have bill payment services. You provide bill pay information to your bank, and it will pay your bills on your behalf. The money is automatically taken from your bank account every month and distributed among your creditors.
- Authorize creditors to deduct money – You can authorize your creditors to debit your account at a specific time each month. Most creditors allow you to turn this function on through their websites.
- Credit card bill pay service – Credit card companies also offer bill pay services. The credit card company or companies you choose to pay your bills for you function the same way as a bank’s bill pay service.
Automation has many benefits. The bills are paid while you spend your time doing other things. You won’t miss payments, you won’t have to deal with late fees just because you forgot to pay a bill, and you won’t have to worry about writing checks.
Know Where Your Credit Stands
Spring is also a good time to order a copy of your credit report. Make sure that everything on your report is correct. You can dispute any discrepancies that could be hurting your credit score. The credit report also gives you a good look at where your credit stands and how you can improve it. Automated payments will ensure all payments are made on time. If you see any debts that may require a higher payment to pay it down faster, notify your bill pay service so you can increase the payment amount. In my own experience, I am working to pay down my high cost private educational debt before my Department of Education loans. Once a quarter I try to map out my debt pay down priorities.
You need to have an emergency fund among other things. This means setting up a savings account that is only touched in emergencies. Deposit what you can afford every pay period and pretend it isn’t there. You can arrange for your employer’s direct deposit to automatically deposit into your savings account so you never see the money. Not seeing the money can reduce the temptation to spend it.
All in all, there are several ways you can clean up your finances for spring and the rest of the year. When you start a good habit and stick to it, you will notice that it gets easier. You will also notice that you will have more money to your name rather than living paycheck to paycheck. If you want some extra help, here are 7 money tips from the Bible.
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Carrie Willard says
Regarding #5 – I’m automating savings using Digit, Qapital and investing with Stash and WealthSimple. I love the simplicity of these.
Carrie- I will have to look into these!
We go over our budget every year and we do use direct deposit and pay our bills on line but we keep close eye on the the bills. Great advice.
Marette Flora says
We just redid our budget and found subscriptions and memberships to cut back on. It will be nice to put that cash toward savings instead!
Woohoo – yes it will!
I’m literally just about to work on our budget! We’ve been married for a year June 4th and something we haven’t really done yet is make a strong budget. So that’s what we’re doing, and I’m working on getting the bills automatically withdrawn. Thanks for the tips!
Can I add something? Pay in cash where possible! It is a little extra work to go to the bank every two weeks and get your cash budget, but I find I always spend less when I know I can only use what’s in my wallet. I know, what Millenial likes cash, lol.
Dave Ramsey also recommends this, too!
Great tips, I need to get my finances back on track! I’m going to pin this too!
Summer @ Coffee With Summer says
Thank God for direct deposit! Such a huge timesaver. I’m finding more ways to save this spring!
Awesome! I am ALWAYS looking for more tips…haha. Shopping at Aldi’s is probably my new favorite.
Jobie Medina says
I use these tips too. I love direct deposit and bill pay through my bank. They are lifesavers. 😉
These are great ideas! I love direct deposit, and paypal/stripe are wonderful tools too, especially for freelancers.
Mary Leigh says
Great tips! These are all very practical things that someone can do today to make a big impact on personal finances!
Good to see I’m on the right track! Direct deposit is a life saver
jessica devlin says
these are fantastic tips! Automating my bills has made my life easier and helped me cut back on late fees!
McKenzie Allyshia says
I absolutely love all of these tips! My husband and I have our budget in an Excel spreadsheet and I love the ease of use and how easy it is to keep track of our income and expenses. Not to mention, knowing your credit score and what affects it is SO important! Thanks for sharing ♥
My husband and I put all our expenses in an excel sheet too. Works great for us!
Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries says
Automating my payments has been such a huge help – one less thing I have to think about!
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
Great tips to remember! I really need to check in on my credit – good reminder, thanks!
Lecy | A Simpler Grace says
These are great tips! I would be lost if it weren’t for automated bill pay!
Since this was a guest post I’m ashamed to say I should start using the automated bill pay too!
Erica @ Coming Up Roses says
Automatic bill payments has been CLUTCH for us. It makes the process so much easier!
Coming Up Roses
Thanks for the reminder about checking my credit reports! I always forget every year.
Great advice! Staying on budget is probably the most challenging for us but are getting better at it. Direct Deposit is also great at staying on top of bills!
We love our direct deposit, too!
Lux G. says
These are awesome awesome tips. I think we can do this even when it’s not spring.
Lux – absolutely! haha. spring/summer/fall/winter clean your finances 😉
Katie @ A Full Plate says
Great tips! The one thing I should work on is having my bills automated. Some are and some aren’t, but that’s really because I like being in control of when money is coming out of my account and the same day each money isn’t always going to be a good day.
Katie, I like having complete control as well so I still pay my bills individually but I know for most people it’s a great shortcut!
Erin | A Welder's Wife says
I love financial tips! Putting money into my savings account is the first thing I do when I get my paycheck. After that is where I mess up my budget. I have a list of things I need to replace that I am currently trying to work through slowly, but sometimes it is hard to keep a steady pace.
Erin – I’d say putting into your savings account first is one of the most critical steps! It can be hard to keep a steady pace but sounds like you are off to a great start. 🙂
We all need fiscal discipline. Earning money, spending it but maintaining savings and even trying to multiply the savings amount by investing in things like mutual funds and so. keeping a budget is a must and knowing our financial worth so we work to have more money to enjoy life better and in more comfort(: