April 1st, 2013

Spring Clean Your Finances

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Spring Clean Your Finances

**Today’s guest post is contributed by Jim.**

Spring is in the air. At least it is where I live (until it turns cold again, as it did last week… but the warm days outnumber the cold ones!). The snow has given to rain and I get to run outside again instead of at my local gym. This time of year usually coincides with a keen interest in cleaning the home and yard, sprucing it up after a long winter of accumulating clutter.

You shouldn’t just limit spring cleaning to your home, though. Consider spring cleaning your finances as well.

Clean Out the Clutter

This first tip combines cleaning your house with cleaning your finances. Go through your home and find all that clutter. Figure out what you will no longer use, and get rid of it.

Here are some ideas of what to do with that clutter once you’ve cleaned it out:

  • Sell It: You can get a little extra cash if you are willing to sell your stuff. Hold a garage sale, or sell your stuff online. You’ll enjoy a cleaner house… and a bigger bank account!
  • Donate It: Another option is to donate your stuff to a charitable organization. You can get a tax deduction for donating your stuff to a qualified charity. Just make sure to get a receipt.
  • Give It Away: Even if you don’t get a direct financial benefit, you can see the good effects from clearing out your house. Even better is if you empty out your storage unit and get rid of that monthly expense. Giving your stuff away can be just what the doctor ordered.

Shred Old Financial Documents

While you’re clearing out the clutter, consider shredding your old financial documents. You need to keep tax records for at least three years (longer if you claimed certain losses or if other situations apply). However, while you might want to keep certain documents for longer periods of time, there are plenty of financial documents that you should probably shred. Get rid of the documents taking up space in your home.

If you are feeling really ambitious, scan the documents you plan to keep and create a digital record. You can use this opportunity to go completely paperless. I did this several years ago and it’s reduced the amount of paper I store by 90% (so, not completely paperless!).

Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage

Next, make sure that your assets are adequately covered. Review your insurance policies, make sure you have the right coverage, and update them to the right amounts. You want to make sure that your home, auto, life, and health insurance policies all meet your needs. Also consider whether or not you need umbrella insurance and/or disability insurance. If you have a business, consider your business insurance needs as well.

Check Your Credit

Now is also a good time to review your credit. Get a free credit report from the credit bureaus via AnnualCreditReport.com and check for mistakes. Fix errors and make it a point to note which areas could use some improvement. You can also use free credit sites like Credit Karma to look at your situation and figure out how you might be able to change things around. Make a plan to improve your credit going forward, based on the information you get.

There are plenty of ways you can boost your finances this spring. What are your favorite financial spring cleaning activities?

writes about personal finance at Bargaineering.com.

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

5 Comments

  1. Great advice. One of my goals is to clean out some of the clutter while at the same time padding my savings!

    Dona Collins at 12:00 pm on April 1, 2013
  2. I’ve just sold a few things on ebay since the process is so much easier using their mobile app. Nice post!

    Jude Boudreaux at 2:49 pm on April 1, 2013
  3. Excellent post as always Jim! :)

    Also remember that while you are evaluating your insurance coverage, evaluate the cost of that insurance. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best coverage at the best price! I recently switched my home owners coverage, and got way more coverage for the same price as I was previously paying. :)

    Bryan at 8:53 am on April 4, 2013
  4. Always make sure that your expired documents are shredded properly. Cases of identity theft are increasing day by day. Sometimes people do not manage their junk mails and they throw them outside without even have a look of them. I know that unwanted mails and credit card applications are very irritating but just throwing them is not a good solution. Anyone can use your previously filled credit card application. He just has to copy your signature. You just have to buy a suitable shredder for this purpose. If you are looking for a good shredder then you can visit Needa shredder website.

    Sally at 6:15 am on July 31, 2013
  5. Superb, what a website it is! This website gives helpful facts to us, keep
    it up.

    klokloklo at 5:23 pm on August 28, 2013

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