A common New Year’s resolution that you might have made this year is to manage your finances better. Now that we’re a few months into the year, it may be time to give your finances a spring cleaning. Here are three things you can do to get started.

Review your budget, go paperless and pay off debt

Review your budget

Now is a good time to take a step back and evaluate how successfully you’ve managed your budget. Have you overspent in one of your budget lines? Do you notice any areas where you could be spending less?

If you created a budget last year, review that budget and look for upcoming expenses that came as a surprise last year. Did you under estimate or over estimate on any expenses last year? Are there any expenses such as vacations or upcoming life events that you should be planning for? Taking the time to closely review your spending can help prevent any surprise expenses and last-minute budget adjustments.

Go paperless

In the spirit of spring cleaning, it may be a good idea to sort through old documents and recycle things you no longer need. Items such as old receipts, old utility bills or bank statements that are more than a few years old should be shredded and disposed.

If possible, go online and elect to receive bank statements and notices electronically, and save them to a file on your computer. Scan other important print documents onto your computer and place them in a file as well.

Make a system that works for you, and remember that keeping these items electronically may be easier and more organized than maintaining a desk drawer that is overflowing with paper. Just remember, it is always a good idea to back up all important documents using an external hard drive.

Pay of lingering debt

If you have any lingering balances on credit cards from Christmas shopping or trips you went on over the holidays, try to pay those off now. Consider lowering your excess spending for a couple of months or use your tax refund to help make this payment.

Paying off this debt will leave you better prepared for upcoming expenses or events later in the year. It could also positively impact your credit score, which you might want to check if you haven’t done so in a while. There are many credible websites where you can request your credit score for free without damaging your score.

Whether in your home or in your finances, spring cleaning can help you prepare for the new season. And, it may lead to having a more successful year of managing your money.

Three Next Steps:

  1. Read our previous article to learn how to create and manage a budget.
  2. Subscribe to receive more Personal Finance articles like this in your inbox each week.
  3. Contact me if you have questions.