Tips to spring clean your fi­nances

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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.

Re­view

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.

De-clut­ter

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.

Save

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.

Re­fi­nance

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.

STATEPOINT PHOTO

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