Spring cleaning isn’t just for tidying up around the house – it’s also a great time for cleaning up your finances.
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Here are 7 steps to spring clean your finances. Let’s get started!
1. Set financial goals for the year
Financial goals are important because they keep you focused on a particular goal. Your brain loves goals and loves moving toward achievement and success, so take advantage of it!
Once you complete one goal, your brain has proof that you can do this. So you move toward the next financial goal and can kick some butt.
Here are some examples of financial goals:
- Saving $1000 into an emergency fund
- Paying off your credit cards
- Saving 3-6 months into savings
- Invest 10% of your income
- Saving 20% for a house downpayment
- Max out your HSA
- Max out your Roth IRA
I recommend signing up for the Free Resource Library. There are tons of free printables related to completing financial goals. Don’t miss out!
2. Organize financial paperwork
Do you have a plan in place in case something happens to you? Do you know exactly where your important documents are?
If you answered no to either of those questions, you would benefit from the Family In Case of Emergency Binder.
The Family In Case of Emergency Binder is a one-stop shop for all of the important documents your family needs. This includes things like finances, login information, legal documents, pet care information.
The Family ICE Binder includes:
- 90+ pages of printable worksheets to organize everything (you can also type right in the PDF, no printing required!)
- 15 simple, easily navigated sections – no shuffling through drawers
I love this binder because you have the option of printing and filling it out or filling it out on your computer.
3. Lower monthly bills
Almost everything in life is negotiable, including your recurring bills.
You can negotiate:
- Medical bills
- Cell phone plan
- Credit card fees and interest
- Gym memberships
- Insurance plans
Here are a few tips to successfully lower your monthly bills:
- Call customer service of the company that bills you (Ex. I’d call Spectrum customer service if I wanted to lower a Spectrum internet bill). Be nice but firm to the customer service representative. You don’t want to come off as a push over but you also don’t want to be disrespectful. Share with the company that you’ve been a loyal customer for a while who has always paid bills on time and what they can do to keep you as a customer.
- Be specific in what you want. Do you want a discount? Or do you want the company to add in another service for you at the same price? The more specific, the better.
- Do some research and see what other rates companies are offering. Write this down and use this information when you’re talking with the bill company. This may help negotiation efforts because companies don’t want to lose you.
- If you get a discount and lowered bill, confirm that the deal was made in the upcoming bill. Write down who you spoke to and who gave you the discount. Get a confirmation email of the discount (if possible).
I even created an entire blog post about all of the bills you can negotiate.
You can also use a company to negotiate your bills for you. Billshark is the company I’ve used in the past.
Billshark is a must for anyone who has a cell phone, cable, internet, or insurance bill and wants to lower their bill.
I’ve used it for my T-Mobile and Spectrum Internet bills and saved $290.
Here’s how Billshark works:
- Send copies of your bills to Billshark. (I did this by uploading an online PDF of each bill).
- Billshark negotiates all of the bills you send in.
- You get notified if Billshark was successful. If they are, they take 40% of the savings. Ex. Billshark saved me $290 over the course of 6 months, so I pay them $116. I can do this in a monthly payment plan or all at once.
It’s definitely worth the savings and it was such an easy process.
Below is a screenshot of my Billshark dashboard and savings.
4. Retirement savings
1/4 of Americans have nothing saved in retirement. Almost half of millennials have not started saving for retirement. This is a troubling statistic because the younger you start saving for retirement, the more time your money gets to work in your favor.
If you’re not sure where to start with retirement savings, I recommend reading my new post on 10 tips for retirement savings.
If you haven’t started saving for retirement yet, meet with Human Resources at your work and find out how you can start contributing to a 401(k). You also have the option of opening up a Roth IRA with brokerages online.
If you need help learning how to start saving for retirement, I recommend checking out the course: How To Build Wealth by Investing In Index Funds. This course is for beginner investors who want to learn how to build wealth by investing. This course makes investing so incredibly easy to understand. You learn how to do everything step-by-step including: how to open an account, how much to invest, and how to choose an index fund. I bought this course with my own money and 100% recommend it to any beginner investor.
Below is an example of how saving $800/month in an index fund can make $2.1 million in retirement. However, most people don’t need this amount. When I calculator how much I’ll need in retirement, it’s around $1 million.
You can find out how much you will need for retirement by calculating your FI (financial independence) number. You do this by multiplying annual expenses x 25 years. For example, my FI number is $36,000 (annual expenses) x 25 (years) =$900,000.
If you’re new to investing, I recommend checking out Betterment. Betterment helps you create a retirement plan and gives you advice on how much you should save for retirement. You can also open a Roth IRA with Betterment. Betterment may be ideal for new investors who like a user-friendly, hands off investing experience.
Favorite books on investing:
5. Review insurance policies
If you have kids or you’re the breadwinner, having appropriate insurance is one of the most responsible things you can do for your family.
This is why it’s important to make sure you’re covered with:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Auto insurance
- Rental/House insurance
- Disability insurance
- Pet insurance
Some people opt to save money into a pet sinking fund rather than give money to a pet insurance company. It’s really up to you. As you may have heard before, finance is personal. Each decision you make is what’s best for you and your family.
6. Find ways to make and save more money
One of the best things you can do for your financial future is increasing your income and finding ways to save.
If you already have a full-time job, you can make more money with side hustles. Side hustles are amazing because having multiple streams of income is always incredibly useful. If you lost a job or were assigned to reduced hours, having back up income gives you peace of mind.
Here are some side hustles I recommended checking out:
- Working as a bookkeeper at home
- Freelance writing
- Selling on Etsy
- Becoming a work from home proofreader
- Selling on Amazon
- Working as a Facebook Ads Manager
- Renting out a room or house on Airbnb
- Listing your freelance services on Fiverr
- Earn money with surveys like Swagbucks and Springboard America.
- Teaching English online with VIPKID
Here are some of my favorite ways to save money:
- Get cash back on groceries (even healthy foods) with Ibotta. Get $10 for signing up for Ibotta here.
- Move your money into a high-yield bank savings account. You can move your money and emergency fund to a high-yield savings account to save even more money. Open a CIT Bank account here.
- Save money on meal planning and save time grocery shopping with $5 Meal Plan. You get your first 2 weeks free here.
- Lower your bills like your cell phone, internet, cable, insurance, and more with Billshark. I used it myself and saved $290.
- Get cash back on online purchases (pretty much anywhere) with Ebates. You get $10 for signing up for Ebates here.
- Get the best coupon codes instantly when shopping online with Honey.
- Use a budget planner to keep track of your spending (this is the budget planner I use).
P.S. I recommend signing up for the FREE ultimate financial planner below! It comes with everything you need to get your finances in order.
7. Protect accounts with 2-step verification
Creating 2-step verifications on all sites that have the feature is a must. This is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your accounts.
A 2-step verification is where you enter in your password and then receive a text to input the verification code as well. This makes it harder for scammers to get access to accounts.
I recommend doing this for banks, social media, email, etc. To find the 2-step verification feature, go into your settings and password area. That’s where this feature typically resides.
I also recommend going paperless for all bills. This is because people can steal your bills and get information on you.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for cleaning the home. You can also spring clean your finances!
Don’t forget to sign up for the free resource library and get exclusive access to free printables & planners related to saving and making money, meal planning, and more!
Are you going to spring clean your finances?
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