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Spring Clean Your Finances

Spring is in the air; the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and your finances definitely need a little spring cleaning.  Now is the time to take a good, hard look at your finances and make small changes that could help you save money and take control of your money for good.

When you Spring clean your home, you organize everything you need in one place, and ‘cleaning’ your finances is no different.

One of the biggest reasons that people can’t seem to manage their money is that they can’t find the things they need when they need them.  Bills can go unpaid if they lie in a stack of papers all month long, resulting in late fees and possible interest rate rises.  Lost receipts are no use at tax time when you are searching for every deduction on your return.

Pick a central location in your home to keep all of your important documents and incoming bills and receipts.  An accordion file is a great place to stash incoming items until they can be dealt with; be careful not to put it off for too long, or you could face a mountain of papers.  Instead, do a weekly purge and file the ‘keepers’ in a separate folder to make it easy to locate when you need it.

Even better, consider switching some or all of your bills to paperless billing and automate the payments so that they come directly out of your bank account each month.  You’ll never miss a due date or pay a late fee with this method, and possibly save money at the same time.  While you are at it, go ahead and set up a recurring payment to yourself.  Have the money go into an interest-earning savings account; it will make saving money effortless.

Re-evaluate your needs

It’s easy to get stuck in old habits, including becoming complacent with your insurance and savings accounts.  If you really want to save money, it’s important to periodically re-evaluate your financial needs.  Is your money in the best savings or checking account for your needs?  A chat with your local bank manager will help you determine if changes need to be made.

Been with the same insurance company forever?  Chances are you could save money by shopping around or even asking your current provider for a discount.  You could also consider raising your deductible to lower your premiums, especially if you have enough money in a savings account to comfortably cover the new, higher deductible.

Shop around

A great way to save money is to shop around for your cable, internet, and phone providers.  Start by asking your current provider what they can do for you; chances are they will be willing to offer you a period with reduced monthly charges in order to retain you as a customer.  If you find a better offer somewhere else, go for it, but beware any early contract termination fees that you might face from your current provider.

Credit cards are another place that you can really save big by shopping around.  You have several ways that you can save money on your credit card bill.

  • Call your current card company and negotiate a lower interest rate.  It won’t always be possible, but if it is, it could save you hundreds each year.
  • Transfer your balance to a card offering zero percent for balance transfers.  Just make sure to pay it off and avoid spending more money.
  • Pay more than the minimum due each month.  It will reduce the amount of interest that you pay throughout the year.

At Prudent Financial Services, we can advise you on how to clean up your finances, whether it be simply creating a budget.

Contact us today for more information about our personal loans and services that can help you get your finances back on track.