Every spring, most people take time to spring clean our homes, offices, cars, and even garages to create a more organized environment with improved air quality. Through spring cleaning, our moods improve, we reenergize our positive outlook, and we have a renewed sense of accomplishment. So why don’t we spring clean our finances as well?
It’s common to talk about the importance of physical well-being, emotional well-being, and social well-being, but your financial well-being plays an integral part in your overall health. Similar to your physical and emotional well-being, creating good financial habits will lead to making informed financial decisions, setting realistic goals, and preparing for emergencies.
Take the opportunity this spring to not only spruce up your living spaces, but your finances as well! Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Sell Unwanted Possessions
Stop shuffling and start decluttering! Selling your unwanted items allows you a chance to recover some of the money you spent on the item and gives perspective on how much money you may have lost by purchasing the item. This will help you really come face to face with your current spending habits, and become more intentional going forward. If you aren’t able to sell items, donate them to a charitable organization. If you do donate, don’t forget to ask for a donation receipt to claim tax deductions for charitable giving!
Collect Money on Funds You’ve Lent to Family and Friends
Most of us have had a friend or family member that needed to borrow money. It’s always a difficult thing to approach those we love to get paid back. However, if you lent money with the expectation of repayment, now is the time to make sure the person has a plan. Spring is tax season time, making this the perfect opportunity to set up an arrangement since they may be receiving a tax refund that they could potentially use to pay you back.
Use or Sell Gift Cards
Gift cards often go unused simply because they aren’t top of mind. Dust off those gift cards you received in your stocking a few months ago, and use them up. When eating out or shopping, try to only choose the places you have gift cards for. This will help get you ahead on your budget, while also limiting your spontaneous purchases.
File as early as you can to give yourself a heads up and plan how to budget your tax return or tax payment. Be cautious and careful not to splurge your tax refund, though; it’s important to put the funds away for an emergency or pay down some of the winter debts you might have accrued. After debts are paid, any extra from your tax return can be used to help kick start your savings goal for the year.
Fill Out a Monthly Budget
Renew the budget and start planning. A budget is one of the best tools we have to help us reach our financial goals. Following a budget and cutting out unnecessary spending will help you reach all of your financial goals, whether that means paying off debts or saving to buy a new house. Above all, it will help eliminate preventable financial stress.
Instead of thinking of sacrificing, think in terms of prioritizing. Create a budget that is based on living the life that’s important to you. This means putting all your expenses under a microscope to know how to afford the necessary and important items in your life.
Set Financial Goals for the Year
Toss out the debt and plan for the future. It’s important to take time to plan for your financial future so you can focus on being debt-free, saving for retirement, buying your first home, or accomplishing any other major financial goal you’re committed to. A financial plan will help you reach these goals. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a dream!
Set up eBranch Tools
At Idaho Central, we are proud to offer many tools through our eBranch Online Banking to make your financial spring cleaning easy! You can set up your budget, notifications, savings goals, and more. With eBranch you are even able to set up Bill Pay and automatic transfers to automate both payments and savings. Automation of payments will help improve your credit score because payments will be on time and current, and automating savings will help limit the available spending funds in checking and ensure your savings goals are being met. Find tutorials to help you learn everything you need to know about eBranch here.
Financial well-being won’t happen by accident, you have to take steps to make it happen. It’s important to recognize that over time your short-term and long-term financial goals will change. A yearly review of these items will help you steer your financial future in the direction you want it to go. Contact us today to see how we can help you best achieve financial success in any season of your life!