Financial Spring Cleaning
It’s gray, gloomy and perpetually drizzly here in St. Louis, so that can mean only one thing: spring is near! This season of renewal brings with it a bounty of beauty including colorful flowers, longer days and trees filled with green leaves. While I’m always thrilled to shed my winter hibernation gear and get outside, like many folks I also begin to think about spring cleaning. Organizing closets, donating old clothes and mopping floors are all well and good, but this year I’m dedicating just as much effort to spring-cleaning my finances.
Arriving home, I am often met with envelopes bursting from my mailbox containing my electric, gas, cell phone and internet bills. In the past, I would angrily toss them into our growing desk pile of “stuff-to-be-dealt-with-later.” Since Paperless Billing is the way of the future, and since I pay all of my bills online, cancelling these paper reminders was a high priority for me. This month, I switched all of my accounts to Budget-Billing and Automatic Bill-Pay. Now I know the exact amount that will be withdrawn from my account each month and my desk will soon be that much cleaner!
Sort & Shred
After signing up for Automatic Bill Pay and Paperless Billing, I was still left with a pile of envelopes and excess paper piled so high that at even Einstein’s messy desk would weep at the scene. After carefully sorting my mail, making sure to keep only the important receipts and records that support tax deductions, I was left with an even larger pile of papers to discard. Instead of tossing my personal information all willy-nilly into the recycle bin, I have decided to save it for the upcoming credit union shred days in St. Louis.
When we moved last month, I needed to transfer service to our new address. While I could have stopped there, I decided to ask for any special deals that I wasn’t hip to. While I cut the cable cord over 3 years ago, internet service is still shockingly expensive. With a quick call, I found I was overpaying by $20/month for a lesser quality service. In less than 10 minutes I received a sparkling service upgrade with a hefty monthly bill reduction. Every three months I schedule a reminder on my phone to perform a quick check to ensure I’m paying bottom dollar for all of my internet, cellphone and streaming plans.
Budget & Expense Review
I’ll admit it: when I’m tired after work, Josh and I will go out to eat. This past month, we went out five times. I could have saved a staggering $100 just by cooking at home just 3 of those 5 occasions. I love to cook, so with a brand-new kitchen complete with a dishwasher, I have no more excuses.
For me, decluttering my brain in the spring has become a very welcome tradition. Instead of putting things off have begun to face my finances head-on so they don’t take up any head-space that could be used for cheering on my beloved Chicago Cubbies! What are some of your go-to financial spring-cleaning tips? Leave them for us in the comments!