Now that it's spring, it’s a perfect time to conduct an in-depth cleanup of your finances and address any unkempt areas. Here are 10 ways how to organize your finances so you can have a fresh financial life before the start of summer.

  1. Refresh Your Budget: A genuine and practical budget is the #1 tool in your financial lineup. So, let’s take a close look at what you spend, how much you make, and your financial goals. If you have never set up a budget, consider a tool like our customized spending plan or join MyMoney. MyMoney is an online tool that can automatically track your spending and help you categorize and budget your finances. A few questions to ask yourself when setting up your budget:
        • What are your monthly expenses?
        • Is your budget realistic?
        • Is your budget filled with wants or needs?
        • Do you have an emergency savings fund?
        • Are you overspending in certain categories?
        • Did you leave room for fun?
  1. Check Your Credit Score: As part of your financial spring cleaning, it’s a great idea to review your credit report and ensure that there aren’t any inaccuracies or incorrect information. Your credit report determines your credit score, so having incorrect information on your report can radically lower your overall credit score. A lower credit score can cause you to be denied credit or make you pay more with a higher interest rate on loans.

  2. Scrub Your Bills: Everyone has monthly bills to manage, but are you overspending in unnecessary areas? Look at your recurring expenses and figure out if it’s time to cancel some subscriptions or negotiate for a better rate and make sure all your bills are up to date. It may be time to streamline your subscription services. Another great idea to ensure you pay your bills on time each month is to automate the payment. This is especially important if you struggle with deadlines

  3. Make Money Moves: Literally. If you’re doing well with your finances and have extra funds, maybe it’s time to consider investing? Or did you leave a 401(k) at a former employer? Take this opportunity to roll it over into your new plan or an individual retirement account. There are a lot of money moves opportunities.

  4. Set New Financial Goals: Once you’ve got your day-to-day finances in order, it’s a great time to make a couple of medium and longer-term financial goals. Sit down with your partner, spouse or loved ones and ask yourself where you want to be in 5, 10, or 40 years? Are the financial choices you’re making right now likely to lead you where you want to go? If not, identify easy steps that you can take now to put you on the right path. Are you on track to retire in the way and at the time you’d like? Do you have any wants like buying a new car/house, saving for a family, or going on a vacation? These are all perfect things to consider when trying to set some financial goals.

  5. Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage: As you go through life your insurance needs change, too. When was the last time you looked at all your insurance policies? There are a lot of options for insurance like life insurance. If you or your partner were to suddenly pass away, where would that leave your loved ones? The same question goes for having a will. If the worst were to happen, the last thing that you’d want is for your loved ones to have to deal with financial uncertainty and lawyers. If you already have life insurance and a will in place, it’s always good to annually review them and verify all the information is still correct.

  6. Zero Out Mobile App Balances: If you’re a frequent user of apps like PayPal, Venmo, or cash app don’t forget to transfer your money into your bank accounts. If you let your money sit in these apps it means you aren’t earning any interest and if you’re not earning interest, you’re losing money-saving opportunities.

  7. Stash Savings in a Higher-Yielding Saving Accounts: If you’re looking to gain more interest in your savings you may want to consider opening a higher-yield savings account. These kinds of accounts can earn you better interest rates and that means more money back in your pocket.

  8. Shred Old Financial Documents: Now we’re really spring cleaning with this one! We all have those old documents lying around the house but don’t know when to get rid of them. Well, I’m here to tell you, that it’s time to shred those unneeded papers and declutter your space. Go through your files and shred older documents. The IRS recommends that you keep at least 3 years as well as the present year of your tax returns. You’ll also want to keep records such as those pertaining to assets you own like your house, car, or stocks, but you can get rid of that bank statement or electric bill from 5 years ago to an account that you don’t even have anymore.

  9. Give Yourself a Boost: Finally, it’s time to reward yourself with a ‘treat yourself' moment. If all your finances are in order, start thinking forward. Maybe it’s time to bump up your 401(k) contributions or adjust your vacation savings? Maybe you want to make extra payments on any debt like student loans, credit cards, car payments, or your mortgage? Just make sure you leave some money to have fun and enjoy.

You’ve got some solid first steps now to clean, fold, and press your finances so you can look forward to the rest of the year. If you’re unsure about what you should be doing with your money or what is the next best financial step for you, check out our “Hierarchy of Financial Needs” - it serves as the framework for our financial wellness program. Our hierarchy can help you, no matter what your financial situation may be, determine the next-best place to put your hard-earned dollars. We use this hierarchy to guide individuals as we work with them to properly prioritize their financial lives and help them achieve their unique financial goals.