Tips to spring clean your finances
Spring is a time of rejuvenation and fresh starts. And while spring cleaning closets, the garage and basement requires good old-fashioned work, new tools can help take the fuss out of sprucing up finances.
Start by getting a complete view of your finances. Consider using a free online tool, such as Mint. com, to see all your financial accounts in one place. You can use the site to establish a budget, as it automatically categorizes your spending, making it easier to ensure you stick with your plan.
Set yourself up for suc- cess. If you’re prone to go over your budget or miss important bill payments, sign up for email or text alerts about large purchases, late fees and bounced checks.
By establishing clear goals and tracking your spending on-the-go from your phone or tablet, you’ll be more likely to save for the things you want in life and avoid debt.
Your online banking information can get cluttered in much the same way as your paperwork. Eliminate the “eMess” by tracking and managing all your account information in one place. For example, Quicken software lets you see your full financial pic- ture in the form of charts and graphs. Learn where you stand and get motivated visually to meet your goals.
More information can be found at www.Quicken. Intuit.com.
Saving money doesn’t have to mean forfeiting your social life or creature comforts.
Many theaters, museums, zoos and parks offer special discount days such as standing room only or pay-what-you-can nights. Some even offer free admission on certain days of the month. Or simply let the great outdoors be your entertainment. Take a hike, make a picnic, or host a backyard barbecue.
Forgo the fancy gym membership and dust off those running shoes and bike, working out the oldfashioned way. Raining? Check out community centers in your area – some may be free, or charge only minimal fees.
Do you want to pay off high-interest debt? You can do so wisely by refinancing with more competitive rates. Newer alternatives can eliminate the costs associated with traditional bank lending.
If you have good-to-excellent credit, consider applying for an unsecured personal loan for up to $35,000 on a site like Lending Club, a leading platfor m for investing in and obtaining personal loans. Hundreds of people across the country can invest in your loan, which means a streamlined process and lower rates for you. More information can be found at www.LendingClub.com.
If the onset of spring is your cue to organize your finances, let new tools help you do so with ease.