After a year of spending, saving, paying off bills and racking up rewards points, your financial life can get a little messy. The end of the year is a great time to regain control of your finances. When you de-clutter your accounts, paperwork and budget, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to make the most of your money.
Roll up your sleeves, dust off your statements and follow these tips for finances that sparkle:
- Make a budget. Take the time to examine your budget by detailing everything you spend money on each month, from gas and to dining out. You’ll see how much you actually need to have on hand each month and what is left over for saving or spending.
- Streamline your banking. Close up old accounts, switch to online bill pay and sign up for e-statements to reduce paper waste. Shred year-old bank statements, expired warranties, old Social Security statements and tax documents that are over seven years old.
- Consolidate your debt. Consider rolling all of your high-interest payments into one low-rate personal loan. Close credit cards you don’t need and create a payment strategy to lower your debt. Plan to pay off credit cards with the highest interest rates first.
- Organize your savings. Many households have multiple savings accounts, including IRAs, CDs and 401(k)s. Consider moving all of your savings plans to financial institution and consolidating all IRAs to one account. Talk to your employer about moving old 401(k) accounts into the one at your current job, or rolling them to a self-directed IRA. Finally, increase your 401(k) savings so that at a minimum you are saving enough to earn a full match from your employer.
- Check your credit report. If it’s been awhile since you last checked your credit report do so now. Checking your credit report every six months is a smart way to make sure you haven’t been a victim of identity theft. Click here to find out how to get a copy of your credit report.
- Plan your estate. Update or create your living trust. It’s a fairly easy process that people often put off for obvious reasons. If you have any property (car, house, land, etc.), a living trust prevents lengthy legal battles and guarantees the right people receive your belongings upon your passing.
Need help tidying up? Stop by the allU.S. Credit Union branch or give us a call. We’d be more than happy to help you clean up your finances for 2016!