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How to Spring Clean Your Finances

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Want to clean up your finances and get back on the right track? You can spring clean your finances in 3 easy steps!

You’ll have to excuse me for writing about how to spring clean your finances today: I am in a major organizing and nesting phase right now. Random things are getting labeled everywhere. Come and visit me, and you might leave with a sticky note stuck to your back. Seriously, I packed my hospital bag at 26 weeks pregnant. I might be overdoing it a little bit. 🙂

Of course, when I clean and organize, I work on my finances too. That’s where the notion of how to spring clean your finances came from 🙂 I’m of the opinion that just because it isn’t spring just yet doesn’t mean you can’t spring clean your finances. After all, we’re all worthy of a little springtime magic given the horrible weather lately across the country (seriously – snow in Louisiana people!)

So, how does one go about cleaning up their finances? Easy. Just follow the steps below.

1. Check Your Credit Scores

 

The beginning of the year is a great time to check your credit score, and you have no excuse because it’s free, baby!

What you’re looking for are adverse accounts, which will show you if you were late on a payment or have something in collections.

My credit report looked great this year, but last year I received quite the shock because the LIBRARY – yes, the public library – sent me to collections for not returning a book. It was a huge pain, and I had to go through my storage to find the book, send it back to the library, and then it was taken off my credit report.

So, even if you are savvy with your finances and think your credit report is perfect, you just never know what you might be missing. Also, return your library books because those librarians mean business.

2. Find a System To Make Your Taxes Organized

 

Every time I do my taxes, I wish I would have been more organized the year before.

Since this will be my first year as a self-employed business owner, I have extra motivation to ensure that all of my details are crystal clear. I do not want to spend 2015 trying to find receipts or remember a business expense that happened months before.

My organization was okay with my taxes this year, but it could have been better. If you are in the same boat, take the time to develop a system now in the beginning of the year, and set aside an hour or two at the end of each month to ensure you have documentation for all the big things that happened that month.

3. Finally, Spring Clean Your Finances by Automating Your Savings

 

We’ve chatted about this before, and I know that not everyone agrees with automating your finances. So, even if you don’t want to do that, at least set aside a time to put money in savings each month. This includes your general savings and your retirement savings. I love that money gets automatically put into my IRA and buy orders automatically go through every month. It’s one less thing I have to think about.

Want to clean up your finances and get back on the right track? You can spring clean your finances in 3 easy steps!

Of course, I had to make phone calls to the bank to make sure that everything was set up for 2014 and that it was all organized to come out on the right dates. It took a good chunk of time to set it all in motion, but now that that part of my financial life got the spring cleaning treatment, and I am happy.

There are tons of other ways to spring clean your finances, from tweaking your budget to finding the best way to track your spending. How will you spring clean your finances this year?

 

 

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.

42 Comments

  • Jonnyp says:

    Superb post Catherine πŸ™‚

  • JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit says:

    I had no idea that the library could affect your credit report/score. That’s crazy. At least they took it off the report though once you returned the book. I’m always wanting/needing to be more organized come tax time but it never seems to happen. Maybe 2014 will be the year.

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      Dude, the library got me. I moved to a different state and they sent a lot of notices to my old address apparently…. but I had my mail forwarded and somehow never got them. It was drama, haha.

  • Liz says:

    These are some good points. I usually just get a manila folder and label it with the tax year. Then, I just add whatever documentation I need for throughout the year. I can understand though that being self-employed probably requires a lot of documentation of income and expenses.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    These are some good tips, and I was actually just thinking about “spring cleaning” my finances recently. It would be nice to get that stuff out of the way before the weather gets nice and I have outdoor projects to work on around the house.

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      Right? I’m am in a crazy cleaning mode right now. I wish I could bottle it up and use it all year haha.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    I think that spring cleaning is an excellent exercise no matter what time of year. It is a great way to dust off your life and realize what you need, and I completely agree that you should do it financially as well. I completely agree about checking your credit score. I have an email reminder to check it every few months because you never know when something might pop up.

  • John Schneider says:

    A few times a year we look back at our spending to address any outliers. Usually there are one or two categories on which we can cut back. Like you, we’ve also automated our savings and paying of bills. We monitor our accounts frequently, so we not disengaged. But, having all this automated ensures that we pay ourselves first and that bills get paid early or on time, thereby increasing our credit scores. Helpful article. Thanks!

  • AverageJoe says:

    “not everyone agrees with automating your finances”

    I would call these people “wrong.” How do you get ahead if you don’t automate at least your savings?

    • John says:

      Lol, I love your way of thinking Joe!

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      Ha well obviously I looove me some automation but I guess some peeps just have to have a lot more control and like to push the buttons themselves? I don’t know. The less I have to do, the better lol.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    When we moved into our new house, I went through all of our files as I put them away and got rid of stuff we didn’t need anymore. A lot of it didn’t have anything to do with finances but some of it did. I feel so much better now that we’re not keeping oil change records on cars we don’t have anymore.

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      Oh man, I think I have some of those in my car…. gotta work on that while the nesting is strong haha.

  • Michael Solari says:

    My wife and I checked our credit report this year and have made a point to check it each year. It is especially important because all we have to do is use our credit card and our important information can get hacked.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    My spring cleaning always consists of getting ready for my taxes. I hate doing taxes, but it is what it is!

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      I really don’t think anyone actually likes doing their taxes…… unless they play some sort of drinking game while doing them, which I don’t recommend. πŸ˜‰

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    I just cleaned out my filing cabinet and shredded about three garbage bags of stuff. It felt really good to get that done. I also just got a new app that is supposed to scan and categorize receipts. We’ll see how well that works!

  • Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter says:

    Great tips! Each year I say the same thing, that I need to be more organized with tax info. This is our simplest year so I think we are actually good to go! πŸ™‚

  • Raquel@Practical Cents says:

    I’m getting into the habit of checking my credit report every 4 months instead of checking all three at once.

  • Dee @ Color Me Frugal says:

    We are big believers in automating our savings! We also automate our debt repayments so that with every paycheck (we get paid every two weeks) we send a payment to the student loan companies and the mortgage company. We end up paying extra on each that way AND it comes off the top of our paychecks so we never have an excuse to NOT do it!

  • Lauren May says:

    Doing taxes as self employed is such a headache! Last year was my first year doing it, so hopefully this year will go more smoothly. Organization is key!

  • Kendal @HassleFreeSaver says:

    Great tips! I also create a file for the year’s taxes and put every relevant document I receive into that file during the year. I failed to put in some pay stubs for side jobs but was able to verify the 1099 I received against invoices (something I should probably save in a tax file, too!). I haven’t checked my credit score in a while but after reading this post, it’s clear I should get on it! Thanks Cat. πŸ™‚

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    I say that EVERY year about my self-employment taxes. It’s just so hard to stay 100% organized on that all year. Try as I might. But I’ve gotten it down to a pretty good science to do them at the end. I just takes A LOT of time and no social life…and a lot of wine and chocolate. πŸ™‚

  • Marvin says:

    We spring clean our finances every 3 months. It has been one of the most beneficial things for our family.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says:

    Because my income is so changeable, I can’t automate my savings. But I do have my paypal linked up to my savings instead of my checking. So if I need my side hustle icome in checking, I have to move it an extra step THROUGH the savings account.

    • Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) says:

      Ooh that extra step will save you for sure! My savings takes a few steps to get to as well. πŸ™‚

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Great tips, Cat, and I for one think you’re a smart cookie for getting so much done ahead of time. This will allow you to get much more baby time and much more sleep once your little ones arrive. πŸ™‚

  • Tushar @ Everything Finance says:

    This is a good reminder to order a credit report. I already have automated savings and it works really well. I don’t have to think about it and the money is transferred into my retirement accounts and savings categories.

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