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Whenever I search for “spring cleaning checklists” on Pinterest, dozens of colorful printables fill my screen, promising to be the only house cleaning checklist I’ll ever need.
They remind me of tasks I might otherwise forget (or ignore!). Like wiping down fan blades or sweeping crumbs from behind the stove. No inch of my home is left untouched as long as I follow the plan.
But there’s always a few checkboxes missing from these printables: They completely ignore how to spring clean your finances!
From spending check-ups to savings goals, we could all use a fresh start every now and again, don’t you think?
Spring is the perfect time for a financial checkup so you can simplify, organize, and set yourself up for financial success for the rest of the year. And these 7 steps will help you clear out the cobwebs.
Budgeting Made Easy
1. Declutter Your Wallet…and Purse (An Easy Spring Clean Your Finances First Step!)
First, let’s start with something fairly easy—cleaning out your purse and/or wallet. I don’t know about you, but mine is always stuffed with receipts, ticket stubs, business cards, and (gulp) empty gum wrappers. Yuck!
Take 5 minutes to dump everything out, clear the clutter, and throw away papers you don’t need any more.
This is also the perfect time to dig out all those gift cards from Christmas and neatly organize them in my favorite gift card organizer. You do not want to forget to use these gifts—they’re FREE money!
However, if you find a gift card you won’t ever use, you can always trade it in through Raise.com. I was a little nervous about doing this at first (I was afraid of getting scammed), but I had nothing to worry about. Highly recommend as the easy first step of your financial checkup!
2. Re-evaluate Your Budget
This step in your financial checkup is a little more involved but VERY necessary. Take some time to look over your budget (you have one, right?) and be honest about what’s working and what’s not.
As you spring clean your finances, you may find there are certain categories where you keep going over, no matter how hard you try to cut back.
Think honestly about increasing those sections, and compensate, if necessary, in another. At the same time, if you know you’re spending too much in one area, tighten the reigns even if it’s a challenge. I know you can do it!
Here are some places where you will see the most impact:
- Your cable bill, especially with these 9 Awesome Alternatives to Cable
- Your phone bill. I Was Sick of Paying $137 a Month for Verizon…So I Switched To This Instead
- Your health insurance costs. Here’s How to Know if Christian Healthcare Ministries is Right for You
I also wrote a book that will help you tackle ALL areas of your budget and lower every expense. 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses is available via both Kindle and Paperback! Grab your copy HERE.
3. Start a Weekly Finance Routine
Don’t underestimate the power of a routine, especially a financial checkup routine.
This is a great way to check your finances on a regular basis to make sure you’re on track. Out of sight, out of mind… usually means over budget!
I’ve adopted a Friday Finance routine (isn’t alliteration fun?!) and this is what I do every Friday afternoon without fail:
- Confirm all my purchases through You Need a Budget app (and assign spending categories if needed)
- Pay upcoming bills for the next two weeks
- Close out my current budget and start a new one (I budget by paycheck rather than monthly, so I do this twice per month.)
You can visit my post titled How to Start a Weekly Finance Routine (And Why You Need One!) for more details!
4. Establish a Financial Goal
You know those financial goals you promised yourself at the beginning of the year? When you spring clean your fianances, it’s time to revisit them again, be honest about how you’re doing, and make adjustments if necessary.
Here are a few ideas:
- Create a Debt Payoff Plan – Make a list of all debts and amounts you owe, then commit to a monthly amount to slowly chip away at that balance. You can use either the Snowball Method or the Avalanche Method.
- Start or Increase Your Emergency Fund — Emergency Funds are absolutely necessary for all those….you guessed it…..emergencies. Here’s how Joseph and I pulled one together in just 90 days, despite completely draining it the month before.
- Start Another Savings Account — Do you want to save for an expensive home improvement project? Save for retirement? Maybe even take a vacation this year? You have to start saving! Use a tool like Dobot to create a separate savings account so you won’t be tempted to touch it.
5. Check Your Credit Score
It’s very important to keep tabs on your credit score as a higher score will help maximize your chances of getting a mortgage or loan. Carrying any kind of debt can have an impact on your overall number, which can then lead to higher interest rates and higher monthly fees.
Many credit card companies share your FICO® Credit Score for free on all monthly statements and online, so you can monitor your credit on a monthly basis. But you can also ask for a free credit report through Credit Sesame.
Not sure what to do if you don’t have credit at all? Here’s how to build your credit score from scratch.
6. Get More Organized
The secret’s out: as you spring clean your finances, it’s not just about cleaning! It’s about organizing too. Make sure your financial information is neat and tidy so you don’t misplace important receipts or forget to pay any bills.
Here’s a quick peek at the tools I currently use:
- Receipt Jar – A small jar that holds all our receipts until Friday. This helps keep them out of pockets, purses, and floating along the countertops. More on that in this post!
- Financial Notebook – This 8.5″ x 11″ disc-bound notebook includes my bill-paying calendar, budget worksheets, other important account information, and a pocket sleeve for checkbooks.
- YNAB app – All my bank and credit card transactions automatically sync with You Need a Budget. This app shows me how much money I have left in each category based on the amount I budgeted. Here’s more about why I love YNAB.
- Receipt File – Any receipts that I might need for a return (clothing, tools, etc.) are filed by month in a small accordion file. I never want my filing cabinet to look like this again.
Because I’m traveling 95% of the time, we don’t receive physical mail. So all my bank and credit card statements stay paperless. Unless, of course, my numbers don’t match! Then I print off the statement to check each purchase against YNAB.
But overall, when every piece of paper has a place, you’ll cut the time you spring clean your finances in half.
7. Review Your Plan for the Future
When you have a good handle on your current finances, the next step is to create a financial strategy with your future in mind.
- Is it time to compile an emergency binder?
- Do you have a will?
- Is it time to invest? And if so, in what? A Traditional IRA? Roth IRA? Stocks or Mutual Funds?
My favorite resource for future planning is The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement. You can read my full review HERE.
Also, if you have any beneficiaries listed on your will or any retirement and/or savings accounts, now is the time to review and make sure they’re all up to date.
All these steps might seem really overwhelming at first, especially if your finances need one big overhaul, but don’t let that discourage you. Do one step a week until you’ve completed them all . #1 is by far the easiest so start there to get your momentum going!
Each step along the way will help you manage money better and I promise you’ll love the feeling of a fresh, Spring-inspired start.
How Will You Spring Clean Your Finances this Week?
Tell me in the comment section which step in your financial checkup you want to tackle first!
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.