For many, rising temperatures, melting snow and an influx of new greenery are not only signs that spring is here, but that itâ€™s time to cleanâ€“ dusting, mopping, getting rid of unused junk, etc. But your physical home is not the only thing that could use a good scrubbing. Your financial house could use some love and attention as well. Here are three areas to focus on:
1- Banking - Consolidate accounts; streamline with online statements and bill pay; shred old statements and checks.
If youâ€™ve moved a few times, you may find that you have several bank accounts -- and an overwhelming number of monthly statements. While some financial whizzes use different accounts for different reasons, most will benefit by streamlining accounts with a single financial institution.
Move your banking life online with e-Branch to cut clutter. You can get monthly e-Statements, and you can see your canceled checks online as well. Shred old checks and old statements because you can get copies of them from WSCU.
Youâ€™ll benefit by paying as many bills as possible electronically. Not only will you save the price of a stamp, but you also can have payments deducted automatically to ensure you never incur a late charge again.
2- Credit Cards/Debt - Check your credit report; shop around for lower interest rates; come up with a payment strategy.
A 50- or 100-point change in your credit score can mean the difference between great loan terms and terrible ones, and inaccuracies in your credit report can drag that score down at least that much. Do yourself a favor and double-check it.
Once you have an accurate credit report, check the interest rates you pay on balances and compare the rates with other cards. You may be able to use that as leverage to improve your credit card terms.
Finally, develop a plan to pay off any debt. Tackle high-interest credit-card debt first to guarantee the best bang for your buck. Any tax return youâ€™ve got coming can help you make a big dent in your debt, so consider paying it off before blowing it on the latest gadget or a luxury vacation.
3- Insurance - Get new quotes for car, home and life insurance policies; update beneficiaries.
Term life, car and some homeowner insurance policies have gone down in price over the past few years. If you havenâ€™t shopped around for a new policy recently, you may find that a bit of research can save you hundreds of dollars.
As youâ€™re shopping around, be sure youâ€™re sufficiently covered. If youâ€™ve done significant renovations or additions to your house and havenâ€™t revised the policy, be sure to take those upgrades into account.
Give your life insurance policies a second look if youâ€™ve had a major life change. A new baby might warrant increased coverage, for example, while a divorce or death might require a beneficiary change.
article adapted from Bankrate.com