Spring has sprung and with it comes the annual (sometimes dreaded!) task of spring cleaning. From throwing out old clothes to deep cleaning those forgotten nooks and crannies or tackling the storage space, there are plenty of tasks to be checked off.
But often people forget that their finances need some TLC too. As we look to spruce up our homes and get ready for the new season, let’s take a look at some simple and effective ways to clean up your finances as well.
Throw out old paperwork
You know that pile of paperwork you’ve been avoiding for the last six months? Spring is the perfect time to attack it!
You’ll want to make sure to shred anything with personal information such as a name, address or account numbers. As for receipts, keep them until you can reconcile them with your credit card bill or debit card statement and then toss. We recommend keeping any tax documents for the last three tax years, but up to seven if they are related to a financial loss. Take a look at this handy list for more detailed information on how long to store your financial documents.
Once you start to purge all the paper work you may find it’s hard to stop, but there are some things you never want to throw away. Things like marriage and birth certificates and any paperwork related to your assets or investments such as mortgage agreements and car ownership details are definite keepers.
Now that you’ve thrown away all that of pesky paperwork you didn’t need, it’s time to organise the keepers. It doesn’t really matter what system you use, as long as you do something that works for you. Just make sure to file away all of your important documents in the one place.
Having a digital filing system is also equally important, that way you have access to all of your most import documents in case of theft, loss or damage. Scan important documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, leases, and mortgage agreements. Check out the Cam Scanner app for easy scanning with your phone camera.
It’s also a good idea to create folders on your desktop for credit cards, insurance receipts and phone bills etc. so you can upload all the digital versions of bills, statements and receipts.
And don’t forget to set calendar reminders for all of your bills too so you can keep on top of those due dates!
Reassess your budget
With summer holidays in view, spring is a great time to reassess your budget and take stock of how you’re spending your money. Are you keeping track of it? Is there anything you could cut back on? For example there may have been a few things that slipped from the wants into the needs category.
Use this time as a chance to reassess what is necessary and what’s just nice to have. Hopefully you’re right on track, but if not, now is a great time to correct course in time for the silly season this December.
Check on the big four: insurance, superfund, credit report & credit cards
Have you checked up on your home and auto insurance policies lately? Your needs may have changed over the past year and now is a good time to ensure they’re not only covering your needs but your family’s too. Don’t forget to shop around as well to make sure you’re getting the best rate.
The same goes for your superfund. Have you checked to see that your company has paid in the appropriate amounts each month/quarter? Are the fees competitive with what your company is currently offering or their competitors? If not, ring to see if you can get a better deal. Also have a think about whether it’s possible to contribute anymore than you’re already doing. Even an extra 1% through salary sacrifice can make a huge difference when it’s time to retire.
Credit report & Credit Cards
This is also a perfect time to check your credit report. Make sure everything has been reported correctly and if not, you can always ring one of the three major credit bureaus to resolve the issue.
And don’t forget to check up on the status of your credit cards as well to make sure your payments are up to date and the charges are correct. This is a great practice to keep up with year round, that way you’ll be able to spot any possible fraud issues or incorrect charges as soon as they happen.
Reassess your financial goals & priorities
Are you on track to pay off your debts with the current payment plans you have in place? What about that vacation you’ve been saving for?
Set aside some time to figure out whether you’re still on track. If you find you’ve fallen behind a bit don’t worry. This is a great time to readjust, and you can pat yourself on the back for catching this now rather than another six months down the road.
Perhaps you have a new goal that you haven’t really prioritised? Now is the perfect time to work out what you need to start saving to work towards this goal.
So whether you’ve been planning on cleaning the whole house from top to bottom or just covering the basics, including your finances on your list can helping you stay on track with your goals, stay organized and perhaps even save a little bit of cash!
If your spring cleaning brings up some financial issues and you’re not sure what to do next, contact us to see how we can help you get back on track. We’re here to help! Call us now on 1300 368 322 to learn more about our proven debt solutions.