For many Americans, the onset of spring and fresh air outside means spring cleaning inside. It’s time to swap winter clothes for spring/summer ones and to get rid of the dust and clutter that’s built up over the cold months. Spring also is a great time to put your finances in order and save money in the process.The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) suggests the following tips for tidying …Read More
Tag Archives: Financial Spring Cleaning
Dear Kim, I made the mistake of going into our family file cabinet and it is a disaster. I have papers from 1989 in there. We have always been so afraid to throw anything way. How long do you hold onto important documents like tax returns and credit card bills? Thanks, Katie, VT Dear Katie, Cleaning out the clutter is a great way to start a new year, but how …Read More
Find an extra $20 per week for the remainder of the year, and put it toward debt reduction. Not worth the trouble? Consider this: If you currently owe $1,000 on a credit card, have an Annual Percentage Rate of 18 percent, and are making a minimum monthly payment of 2 percent of balance, even if no further charges are ever added to the account, you wonâ€™t have that $1,000 paid …Read More
If recent events have made your credit report less than stellar, work on improving it. Review the damage by obtaining a free copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for what’s doing you the most harm, things such as accounts that have gone into collections, or old credit card bills that you’ve forgotten about. Create a plan to begin repaying these debts, even if it’s a small amount each …Read More
Contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan at work, or at the very least, meet the matched amount or you’re throwing away free money! Also inquire about the availability of Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. All of the above can lower your taxable income.
Have everyone in your household who spends money track their spending for 30 days. At the end of the month, come together to review the findings and determine where the leaks are. Jointly decide how to plug them. Make adjustments so that your budget reflects exactly how you want your hard-earned money to be spent. You will never be fully in charge of your finances until you complete this exercise.
Even if you have overdraft protection, this is a habit that speaks of a deeper problem that should be addressed. Write down each deposit and withdrawal in your check register, including all debit and ATM transactions. Regularly balance your checkbook, and reconcile your bank statement within one week of it arriving. If you do these things, but continue to overdraft your account, the overdraft is no accident. Do not continue …Read More
Sometimes people become so overwhelmed that they bury their head in the financial sand. Not only do they neglect paying their bills on time, they donâ€™t even open their monthly credit card statements. Such habits result in late fees, a tarnished credit report, and a lower credit score. Become financially organized by creating a cash-flow calendar where you record each payday for everyone in the home who earns money. Next, …Read More
Simply put, donâ€™t spend more than you make. To accomplish this, put the credit cards away. Many well-meaning people resort to living off of credit when facing a financial crisis, digging an even deeper financial hole. Instead, try living on a cash basis. People who do this typically spend 20 percent less, and they do it without feeling deprived. They buy what they want, but since their level of awareness …Read More
If you don’t know where to start or you’re not sure what to keep or toss, consider contacting an NFCC Member Agency. From financial education to debt management services, NFCC’s nonprofit agencies have certified credit counselors who offer low-cost and free financial educational information, money and credit management advice, and debt reduction services. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area visit our website at www.DebtAdvice.org and click on …Read More