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Take Spring Cleaning Beyond Your Home

Published March 21, 2018

two computers on a desk

By Jordan Ottaway

Yesterday was the first official day of spring, and I bet spring cleaning is on your mind. As you’re going room to room, don’t forget that spring cleaning can go beyond your attic that hasn’t been organized in years.

How often do you set up a budget, automatic bill payments, retirement saving contributions, or anything else and then forget about it? Giving your personal finances a quick exam might help you catch things you need to update or eliminate.

Here are a few important areas you need to include in your spring cleaning.

Cut costs you don’t need

These can be your cable bills, magazine/newspaper subscriptions, or any other cost that you’re currently paying for. This is the perfect time to take a look at what you’re just paying for and what you’re actually using.

If you’re paying for cable but all you do is watch Netflix, end your cable service and stick to streaming services. You can do your wallet a whole lot of good by just trimming expenses if you can’t cut them out entirely.

It’s all about ‘wants’ vs ‘needs.’

Check your credit

If you haven’t checked up on your credit and credit score in a while, take advantage of and pull down a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus so you know what’s on your file.

It’s an easy way to keep tabs on how your score has changed since you last checked, and it’s a good idea to know what’s on your file if you’re planning on buying a car, home, or anything else that might require you to take out a loan.

Plus, evaluating your report allows you to catch any errors and report them to the credit bureaus to be corrected.

Review your retirement savings

A lot of people have a 401k and other retirement savings account in place but never really check in on them. If you don’t know how your retirement savings look, give it look and see if there’s anything that looks off or needs to be changed.

Have you received a raise recently? If so, it’s a good idea to increase your contributions so you can be saving more each paycheck. A good rule of thumb is to try to contribute more than you did the year before.

Set up account reminders

You always want to be on top of the bills you need to pay, and when you set payment reminders, you can avoid late payments and the fees that accompany them.

Make a checklist of your recurring bills and their dates. Once you have them all written down, stick them on a calendar and set notifications to send you reminders when the due date approaches.

If you want to completely take out the middle man, yourself, you can always go into your accounts and set up automatic payments. If you do go that route, I would advise to keep your reminders set so you are aware the money is coming out of your accounts. That way you don’t check your balance and have a panic attack when it’s much lower than you thought it was.

Taking a weekend, or even an afternoon, to tidy up your finances can go a long way in helping you save more and make your life a whole lot easier.

Headshot of Jordan Ottaway
Jordan Ottaway contributed to the Neighborhood Credit Union blog from 2016 - 2019.