6 Financial Spring Cleaning Tips for Wisconsinites
March 23, 2018
Spring in Wisconsin means your windows are down and your shorts are on (even though it’s really not warm enough). We’re all itching for grilling season and summer weather – and, let’s get real, some of us are already grilling burgers and out-of-season corn just to get ready.
For many of us, spring cleaning has begun. While you’re preparing yourself and your home for summer, follow some of Unison Credit Union’s easy tips to dust off your finances as well this spring season.
1. Take a Deeper Dive
It’s a balmy 40 degrees out and your neighbor is washing his car in the driveway. #OnlyInWisconsin. While the neighbor scrubs away at his car, take a dive into your spending habits to find savings.
Often, we’re wasting more than we realize. There are a few easy ways to strategically and effectively scan your finances for spending patterns.
- Get a variety pack of highlighters and mark up your financial statements from the past few months. Highlight with colors by topics such as: necessary expenses (grocery, gas, etc.), unnecessary or “fun” expenses (miscellaneous Target runs, Packer games, fast food/dining, Amazon Prime/Netflix subscriptions, etc.), bills (mortgage payments, electric and utility bills, etc.), or however you want to bucket your money. Tally up the buckets to see where your money is going.
- Download an app to do it for you. Apps like Mint and Personal Capital automatically categorize your expenses into buckets and then allow you to further subcategorize for added convenience and organization.
After you finish this exercise you will see how much unnecessary spending is taking place. From there, you can decide if this is a number you’re happy with or need to cut back.
2. Utilize a Cloudy Day
We all know how spring goes: some days are sunny and beautiful while others rain cats and dogs. And, every once in a while, you get an out-of-the-blue April snowstorm.
If you manage the money in your household, utilize a rainy, cloudy, or snowy day to put all your passwords and important financial information in a physical “in case of emergency” folder. Apps like LastPass and Dashlane allow you to store passwords in one convenient location.
If your spouse or beneficiary ever needed to access this information, would they be able to find it? Not only is it good to organize this info for yourself, but it may help someone you love when it’s least expected.
3. Think Summer
You already packed away your winter clothes in hopes summer arrives earlier, but think of how much more worry-free the coming months could be if you were this prepared with budgeting.
Start thinking about what you, your kids, and your family plan to do this summer. If a family vacation or summer camps, or a new house, boat, or RV are on the wish list, start budgeting so you’re not crunched come time for the sunny weather.
4. Check your Credit History and Credit Score
You’re careful when dusting your limited-edition Bart Starr bobble head, but what about when it comes to cleaning up your credit?
Now that tax season has passed, check your credit score and annual credit report. Your score can have a major effect on the rates you lock in for home mortgages and other loans. Use your annual report to monitor your payment activity, open accounts, and check your amount of available credit. You can use free tools like Credit Karma or AnnualCreditReport.com, and if you aren’t happy with your score or report, come in and meet with a Unison Member Advisor to get judgement-free advice on how to clean it up.
5. Purge Your Clutter
You’ve filed your taxes and now have another stack of important paperwork to add the file cabinet. Before you close the drawer, clean out old materials. You only should hang onto files that are absolutely necessary. And, as good rule of thumb, NerdWallet notes to hang onto tax return records and supporting documents between three and seven years depending on how you file. See their post to know how long you should keep your records – and which ones to save!
6. Save on Actual Spring Cleaning
You might be itching to open the windows and start scrubbing away, but don’t blow your budget on spring cleaning supplies. New cleaning supplies, bins/totes, and home improvement equipment can be expensive. Follow USA Today’s 10 tips on how to save money on spring cleaning.
Let’s Get Summer-Ready, Together!
If pre-planning or budgeting aren’t your forte or you need help with consolidating debt, head to your nearest Unison Credit Union branch to talk about ways we can help you make it happen. Through completing these spring cleaning exercises, we sometimes realize our debt-to-income ratio is a bit too high for comfort. Learn how we helped one Fox Valley dad find financial freedom by refinancing.
At Unison, we want to help you live your best life, worry-free and fun-filled. We strive to not only be a hometown destination for all your banking and loan needs, but also a trusted financial partner, advisor, and resource during all the important phases in your life, big or small.
Head to one of our convenient locations in South Kaukauna, North Kaukauna, Little Chute, Grand Chute, Wrightstown, or De Pere or contact us online, via text, or by phone at 920-766-6000 with questions.