Spring is in the air – or at least we hope it is! The daylight lasts a little longer each day making us long for warmer days. You may be the person that takes advantage of the coming spring for special projects and decluttering. In all of your spring cleaning plans, don’t forget to spring clean your finances! Now is a great time to examine your current financial condition, purge unneeded documents, and evaluate your goals. Here are a few things to consider:
- Memberships & subscriptions. Are you taking advantage of all their benefits? From food and entertainment to beauty products, there is a subscription opportunity for almost anything. You may have signed up with high expectations, but are you now paying for something you are not using? It may be time for a downgrade or a cancellation. Take a look at each and determine if it is worth the time and money to continue your membership. If you decide to cancel, be sure to review the fine print to avoid any cancellation fees.
- Financial goals & budget. We are a couple months into the new year, how are your financial goals coming along? Are you sticking to your budget? Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be discouraged, but make modifications where needed whether it’s adjusting the numbers or adjusting your habits.
- Tax time review. As you file your tax return with IRS, review your withholding. If you receive a substantial tax refund or a tax bill because you withheld too little, you may wish to reevaluate and make adjustments if needed. Take advantage of the Tax Withholding Estimator offered by the IRS here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator.
- Insurance policies. Your life circumstances can change at any time throughout the year and an annual review of your policies will help you determine if you need to amend your auto, life, home, and health coverage. While it may not be necessary to make any changes at this time, you should contact your insurance agent if you experience a major life change such as a change in family status, retirement, job changes, purchase/sale of substantial possessions or property, or changes in your living situation.
- Credit report. Through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies, once every 12 months. To order your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. It’s important to review your credit report in order to clean up errors you may find, rebuild/maintain good credit, and can also be one of the first indicators of fraud/identity theft.
- Automate your savings. Save yourself time and money by automating your savings. A direct deposit from your employer or an automatic transfer set up through Online Banking, can help you set a specific amount to save each paycheck, week, or month. If you wait to save what’s left after paying your bills and making other purchases, you may find another purpose for the funds and end up not saving anything.
- Sign up for eStatements. Many businesses offer eStatements to help decrease paper products and reduce the cost of postage and paper supplies. At Bank First, we recommend eStatements for a few additional reasons – quick availability and convenient access through Online Banking, increased security to help ensure your statement isn’t stolen from your mailbox or delivered to the wrong address, and to help reduce clutter.
- Declutter documents. It’s amazing how much paperwork can pile up over time! Take some time to review documents and securely store confidential documents in a home safe, filing cabinet or safe deposit box at your local Bank First office. If it’s time to discard unnecessary paperwork and documents that may contain confidential or identifying information, be sure to shred it. If you don’t have a personal shredder, we offer shred days at many of our offices throughout the year.
These are just a few ways you can spring clean your finances and we’re sure you can think of more! If we can assist you with budgeting, automating your savings, signing up for eStatements, or other items on this list, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Bank First office!