Hope for your financial life and beyond

A Spring Cleaning To-Do List For Your Finances

Do you love spring cleaning? I used to think that I loved to clean. Now that I’ve had some more time around the house as a stay at home dad, I realize I don’t love the process of cleaning. It’s something else.

spring cleaningWhat I actually love are the results and satisfaction that come from cleaning. For few brief moments of my life that space I just worked on is perfectly in order. It’s fresh, purified and clean. It’s organized and pleasing to look at.

During this time of year I usually embark on the spring cleaning of something. I’m working on our garage right now. What an organizational task!

In my mind, spring cleaning serves several purposes. First, it’s a purging process – getting rid of what you don’t need. But I also use spring cleaning to get organized and freshen things up a bit. And if I get really ambitious, I tackle those hidden places in the house where dirt and bacteria thrive.

The house isn’t the only place though to work on spring cleaning. You can’t forget to look at your finances. Granted, it’s not something that you might naturally think to do during the spring. But this area of your life also gets a little messy from time to time. So while you are cleaning everything else, why not give it a look as well.

To get you started, here are places where you should give your finances a good spring cleaning checkup.

Freshen Up Big Stuff

There are some things that we don’t look at very often. They run on auto-pilot once they are established and in place. I’m talking about things like insurance, wills and investments.

So as part of the financial spring cleaning, make sure these things are up to date. Check on your auto, life and homeowners coverage to make sure they still meet your current needs. You may even shop around for other policies to see if you can get a better deal. The insurance industry is always changing and coming up with new products for consumers. You might be able to save some money with a few phone calls.

I would also review our will to make sure no changes need to be made. I’ll also look at our investments in the stock market to see how they preforming and if any changes need to be made.

Time to freshen up: 3-6 hours hrs. max.

Related Content: How to Make a Will and Protect Those You Love

Staying Organized

I’ve got to be able to find valuable information when I need it. I find it interesting that when I don’t see something for a while I tend to forget where I put it. So to reconnect with my organizational skills, I will double check the fire safe box and the file cabinet to make sure important documents like wills, birth certificates, car titles, house deeds, etc. are still where I remember them being.

I will also go through our tax folder to make sure everything is ready for preparing taxes.

Finally, I will review my list of online passwords and update those not deemed secure enough (especially those to financial related sites).

Time to refresh my memory and stay organized: 2 hrs. max.

File Cabinet Spring Cleaning Purge

I love this one! For me purging is all about the filing cabinet. Time to make those folders thinner by getting rid of old bills, credit card statements, and pay stubs. Manuals to appliances or electronics I no longer own are trashed.

But I do have to be careful here as I organize my important documents. I can’t go crazy and throw everything away.  Certain items I will still keep like my current investment statements, tax documents (for at least 3-7 years), receipts for big ticket items still under warranty, and records of loans I’ve paid off. I don’t like it but I’ll just have to live with those taking space up in my files.

Time to purge the excess: 2-5 hrs. (depending on how much excess there is)

Killing the Yuck

Back in the day, I used to do a lot more in this area. This is all about analyzing financial issues that may be doing you harm. I’m mostly talking about debt.

I don’t have any more consumer debt. But if i did, I’d evaluate whether or not I could get rid of my debt any faster. I’d cut up credit cards I no longer needed and maybe even shop for lower interest rate cards to transfer my balances to.

Related Content: How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

I’d also do a credit check here to see if anything is showing up on my report.

Finally, I’d do a monthly budget review. By April, we are a 1/4 of the way through the year, so I should be able to get a good read on how we are spending our money. I’ll develop a plan for cutting back on any spending categories that have gotten out of hand.

Time to review the nasty stuff: 3 hrs. max.

Time Well Spent

10-16 hours to clean up our financial life this spring may seem like a lot of effort. Trust me, it will be worth it. You have to keep your finances front and center in your life if you are going to have success. If you haven’t done something like this in awhile, you may catch some things you weren’t expecting.

Questions: Do you review your finances at least once a year? What is the one area you tend to forget about the most? Are you a purger or a hoarder? Is there anything else I need to focus on doing as part of my financial spring cleaning?

Image by bbernard at Shutterstock.com

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  1. These tips are perfect to start the month of April, which is Financial Literacy Month. I strongly agree that giving your finances a good spring cleaning checkup is recommended to make sure that you are right on track with your financial planning. I’m guilty of just letting my income-generating investments run on auto-pilot thinking that they will eventually generate money. It’s better to be more hands-on and see what investments are not working well and might as well put it somewhere else that would boost my retirement funds. Likewise in insurance products like life insurance or long term care insurance, it’s best to review your policies to make sure that they will meet your current needs and you can make the most of your policies.

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