It’s that time of year where we throw open the windows, bask in the tepid warmth of Spring sunlight, and roll up our shirt sleeves to deep-clean the dirt, dust, and mess that has accumulated in our homes over the winter months. From washing windows, to changing out sheets, taking time to clean and organize the home is integral to a well-kept and well-functioning home. And while Spring Cleaning likely starts in the home, we suggest using this time of year to take an orderly eye to your money matters as well!
Spring Clean Your Finances
Much like a messy bedroom, unkempt desk drawer, or a grimy bathroom in need of a good scouring, your checking account can accumulate the equivalent of dirt, grime, muck, and “junk”, without much thought. This “junk” clutters up your financial life, and can create a sloppy mess of your savings. Don’t wait until your money problems could land you on an episode of financial “Hoarders” - follow the steps below to clear out the financial dust bunnies, today!
- Review Your Spending - Have you ever pulled up your checking account on Online Banking or Mobile Banking and wondered where all the money went? Between automatic payments and debit cards, spending money requires very little effort anymore. Unfortunately, this means a lot less thought goes into our purchases as well. Gain control of your spending by taking a close look at your transactions over the past couple months. Pay extra close attention to your automatic payments- are you utilizing all the tv streaming services you’re paying for? If you’re trying to cut back on spending, try breaking down necessary expenses versus wants. This activity will surely enlighten you on places you should avoid to save money- coffee shops and gas stations are usually at the top of this list!
- Tackle Debt - You can request a free credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major consumer reporting companies. Once you have your credit report, you can check for and correct any errors- you should also take some time and add up everything you owe. Figure out the interest rate for each debt and contact a lender to see if refinancing would save you money or help payoff any of your debts faster. Knowing your interest rates will also help determine how expensive each debt is, and will help you determine what order to pay them off in. Utilize the Mortgage Calculator, Car Loan calculator and Credit Card Pay Off Calculator on our website for assistance in estimating payoffs or calculating a payment plan.
- Save Automatically - Once you know your estimated expenses each month, you can subtract them from your income (utilize our Home Budget Calculator to help you) and hopefully boost your savings! If you don’t already have a savings account, open one today! Once your savings is opened, set up an automatic transfer through Online Banking to hold you accountable to your savings goal. For help setting a goal, take advantage of the Savings Goal Calculator on our website. You may also talk to your employer to see if they are able to arrange to deposit some of your paycheck to savings each pay period rather than all into checking.
- Evaluate Your Retirement - How hard is your money working for you? For an expert’s opinion, reach out to our Wealth Management and Trust team. They can sit down with you and customize a plan to reach your specific retirement goals. At a minimum, take the time to review your investments performance and the fees you were charged to achieve it annually.
Retail Services Manager