While you’re decluttering your closets and deep-cleaning your drapes, there might be another part of your life that could use a good sprucing up this spring — your finances.
Ron Strand-Sorrell, EVP Chief Operating Officer, at Florida-based Axiom Bank explains why that’s so important — and how to go about doing it.
“Your income and spending can change over the course of a year, sometimes drastically,” says Strand-Sorrell. “We usually take notice of the big changes, but all those little changes can add up and have a significant effect on your overall financial health.”
Follow these eight expert tips on how to spring clean your finances, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your financial house in order:
- Review your budget.When was the last time you looked at your budget? A lot may have changed since then. Now is the time to revisit your income and expenses — and adjust them as needed. Try a new tech tool such as the AxiomGOmobile banking app that offers a budgeting tool, My $ Manager, to set savings goals and spending limits for various categories. The app notifies you when you’ve almost reached your limit.
- Organize your financial documents. Where do you store your bank statements and tax documents? Take a few hours to develop an organization system, whether that’s arranging documents in a plastic storage bin or creating PDFs to store on the cloud. Here’s a look at what you need to keep and what you can toss.
- Go paperless.Save trees and cut the clutter by opting out of receiving monthly paper statements for your accounts. Worried you’ll forget to pay your bill? AxiomGOwill alert you when your bills are due. You can also opt for #4 below.
- Set up autopay for your bills. Never miss a payment. Never pay a late fee. Just be sure the money will be in your account on the dates you’ve scheduled. If you’re not comfortable with autopay, you can simplify the bill-paying process by sending money through a banking app like AxiomGO.
- Scrutinize your credit report. You are entitled toa free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every year. Here’s how to get yours. Look for things like old accounts you’ve forgotten to close or multiple reports of the same debt. Check for errors, too, such as information for someone with a similar name appearing on your report.
- Evaluate your debt. How much do you owe? What are your interest rates?Set up a plan for paying it all off, prioritizing accounts with the highest interest rates. (AxiomGOhas a cool budgeting tool, My $ Manager, that lets you set — and track — your own financial goals.) Be bold … give your credit holders a call and ask for a lower interest rate. They’ve been known to do it. Or, consider transferring credit card balances to a no- or low-interest-rate card.
- Examine your insurance. Are you still getting the best deals on home, life and auto insurance? Have your coverage needs changed? Take a visual inventory of all your belongings. Photograph all of them and record approximately how much you paid for them.
- Find hidden charges.Check your phone, internet and cable bills to see if you’re paying for services or features you don’t use. Then get them turned off. If you’re not using your gym membership, cancel it. And make sure you’re not being charged for expired “free trials” that aren’t useful.
Axiom Bank, N.A, a nationally chartered community bank headquartered in Central Florida, provides retail banking services, including checking, savings, money market and CD accounts, as well as commercial banking, treasury management services and commercial loans for both real estate and business purposes.