Spring Cleaning Your Personal Finances

Ahh, spring … along with those open windows and longer days often comes the impulse to clean out closets and purge that winter dust. But what about your personal finances – could they use a little spring cleaning as well?

Here are three simple ways to breathe some fresh air into your economic household from LearnVest.

Create an ICE Folder

Whether it’s you or a partner in charge of household money matters, it’s critical to make an “In Case of Emergency,” or ICE, folder that is accessible to both of you in case of sudden absence. Account numbers, passwords, investment and retirement information, bill schedules – any information needed to manage your finances should be put in the folder on your desktop and labeled something generic for security reasons. You also should make a hardcopy back-up that’s stowed safely in a mutually-chosen location.

Go Paperless

Don’t most of us love an uncluttered house? Getting rid of filing cabinets full of old credit card bills and bank statements can feel just as freeing. Consider scanning your important documents and storing them safely in a cloud-based filing provider like Google Drive or Dropbox. Since tax records need to be kept for seven years, it may be just as easy to keep those in file folders. But most everything else can be digitally stored, and doesn’t need to be gathering dust in your garage.

Make it Automatic

We all know it’s a lot easier to save money before it hits our checking account – but are we actually doing it? Now’s the time to set up automatic savings contributions if you haven’t already done so, or consider increasing your current amount if you have. And while you should always carefully review your bills, automatic bill paying can reduce the stress of tracking multiple due dates and ensure you’re paying on time. Billing amounts that can vary month to month probably aren’t suited to autopay; but consistent recurring payments like insurance and cable bills are prime targets.

For more financial spring cleaning advice, go to www.learnvest.com