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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Financial Spring Cleaning Tips

... have you (or someone you know) ever thought about doing some Spring Cleaning with your Finances? I have.
  
It's SPRING!!! Yes! It's that time again.  Out with the old to make room for the new!  Spring is the season of newness!  Time to put away all of the winter clothes and blankets and bring out or make room for the Spring and Summer stuff. If you are planning to do some spring cleaning this year, are you planning to do some Financial Spring Cleaning?


Financial Spring Cleaning is just as, if not more, important as Spring Cleaning in your home and closet. Here are a few tips on Financial Spring Cleaning with your Paperwork, Wallet, Credit Report and Budget.


PAPERWORK - SPRING CLEANING
  • FILE ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS / SHRED NON ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS. If you have a desk, filing cabinet, drawer or box full of old bank statements, checks, bills, or other financial documents, sort through them carefully and keep only the important documents that you know you will need to reference at a later date. Do NOT just throw the documents away in the trash. If you do, you are begging to be a victim of Identity Theft.  If you do not own a shredding machine at your home or do not have access to one at your job, take your shred box to a local Shredding Company.  They are awesome!  Just dump, watch it get shredded and drive away! Search for a local Shredding Company or ask your local financial institution if they do Shred Events.

  • GO GREEN / PAPERLESS.  Most financial institutions encourage their customers to sign up for electronic statements. This is more cost effective for them because they save money on paper, ink, postage and mail service. This is beneficial to you because you don't have to worry about more paper coming in the mail.  Don't fret! If you need to have a hard copy of your statement to audit or review, you can simply print you statements via online banking.

WALLET - SPRING CLEANING
  • REDUCE THE PLASTIC.  If you have more than one debit or credit card in your wallet, you may be setting yourself up for over spending. Or worse, you may give that thief who stole your wallet access to all of your money and credit. Save the planet and just PICK ONE already! Only having one debit or credit card in your wallet to use for a purpose is the best way to control spending.  

  • USE CASH! A wallet is for cash!  Keep cash in your wallet to see exactly how much you are spending.  The may help you with a new financial reality check.

CREDIT REPORT - SPRING CLEANING
  • GET IT FREE! Before you decide to apply for credit anywhere, you should know your credit status. Lenders should NOT know your financial reputation before or better than you! Being afraid of what is reporting is no excuse for not getting a copy of your credit report.  You should know what creditors are saying about you. You never know, the stuff they are saying and reporting about your could be false "rumors."  You will want to nip that in the bud sooner than later. You can get a FREE copy of your credit report at least once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228.

  • SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! If there is false information reporting on your credit report, it is your obligation to set the record straight and get it corrected.  Creditors are going to notify you that they are reporting information incorrectly!  This is YOUR financial reputation we're talking about.  It will suck when you are declined for credit because of information that is incorrect. Each credit reporting company (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) has an online process to dispute incorrect information. They also provide detailed instructions on how to dispute information via mail as well.  Get started at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
  
BUDGET - SPRING CLEANING
  • GET ONE! If you do not have a written budget, this is the time to get it together.  Once you see where your money is going money, it will help you make better financial decisions. If you need help creating a budget or spending plan, click here for my FREE eBook on 5 Steps to Building a Budget that Works
 
  • UPDATE IT! A budget or spending plan is a living and breathing document. There are some things that may have changed within a year, which may require changes to your budget. So, if you do have a budget established, now is the time to review it and update it as necessary. Who knows, you may have a few extra bucks to save or to pay off another debt. Better yet, treat yourself if you were able to stay on target with your budget! You deserve it.