Spring may be the perfect time of year to clean out the garage, but what about your finances? These five pointers can help you manage your budgets, streamline your records, and even save you money.
Automate Your SavingsÂ
Not great at saving? Make arrangements with your bank to allocate a portion of every paycheck to your savings account before you see it. And while youâ€™re at it, automate any bill payments that are the same every month â€“Â like your rent or insurance premiums. Not only will you save yourself time, youâ€™ll be sure to avoid any late fees.
If you havenâ€™t gone paperless yet, what are you waiting for? Signing up for online statements and paying bills electronically are great ways to reduce clutter. Just be sure to back up all your files in case your computer crashes.
Fire up the Shredder
We all know that you need to keep tax records for at least three years (and even longer if you claim certain losses). But there are plenty of financial documents that you should probably shred after one year â€“ like your monthly billing statements, bank statements and pay stubs. If youâ€™re feeling really ambitious, scan the documents you need to keep and create a digital record.
Watch out for Hidden Fees
Banks and credit card companies are notorious for introducing new fees without alerting you. Review your monthly bills with a fine-toothed comb to see if any new fees or penalties have been charged, and call your service providers immediately to see if you can have them removed.
Shop Around for Better Rates
A little bit of research could save you a lot of money on everything from cable TV and Internet packages to interest rates â€“ not to mention insurance premiums. Compare your bankâ€™s rates for your mortgage or your savings account to those offered by other financial institutions. If you find more competitive rates elsewhere, see if your bank will lower yours. If you have a good credit score and a solid payment history, talk to your credit card company about granting you an interest rate deduction. And if youâ€™re looking to switch insurance policies for a better rate, SelectQuote comparison shops several highly-rated insurance companies for your lowest rates on life, auto and home, and Medicare Supplement insurance.
For more information on how to better manage your finances, we recommend speaking with a financial professional â€“ especially if youâ€™re contemplating any drastic changes to your portfolio.