April and May are welcome months for many of us. Are you starting a garden? Ready to dust off the grill? However, aside from warmer weather plans, there are some other activities you’d be smart to take part in, including those that affect your financial well-being. In addition to basic cleaning and organizing tasks, financial spring cleaning is a must.
Use this time to check in on money decisions you’ve made in the past to ensure that you’re still on track. Which of these financial checklist items do you still need to do this year?
Check your credit card statements
Not only is it a good idea to look at your statements each and every month to check for fraud or errors, but it can also help you get a handle on out-of-control spending. Set aside a day to give your statements a full inspection every month. If something looks wrong, call your credit card company immediately.
Put subscription charges in their place
While you have those financial statements out, examine any subscription charges and ensure they are truly something you want to be spending on. Sometimes, recurring charges are a mistake or a free trial gone way past its “free” period. If you find your financial statements full of charges that you’ve forgotten about or trials that you failed to cancel on time, cancel them ASAP.
What if you’ve been billed for a large annual charge and won’t be using the service? Reach out to the provider. Sometimes, if you catch a charge early, they will refund your money. Or they might stop your service and return the prorated amount for the time you have left in the year. If they don’t, use this as a lesson for future purchases. Free trials can be very costly if you lose track of them. Mark the date you need to cancel on your phone’s calendar or schedule an email to be sent to yourself a few days before the charge is set to go through. Taking a relaxed approach to these types of charges can be very pricey!
Spend those holiday credits
Be honest. How many gift cards, rebates, or coupons are you still holding on to from the holidays? If you haven’t spent them by now, it’s likely you may never — unless you make a commitment to getting the full value of these perks now. Go through your wallet and emails and look for bonuses and rebates you’ve yet to spend. Make a list of items from those retailers that you need to buy anyway. Then, create a plan for redeeming your credits or gift cards in the next 30 days. Remember: Only do this if you can do so without overspending. Otherwise, see if you can gift them to a friend or relative.
Review your insurance
Health insurance gets most of the attention these days since we have to review our options and re-enroll each year. But what about car or home insurance? When is the last time you checked out life insurance policies? Even if you just recently invested in a new policy, it’s wise to review the coverage to see that it still fits your lifestyle. For example, the new season brings about new threats (such as tornadoes and flooding). Consider reviewing your current policies to be sure they cover your current needs.
Reach out to a financial planning expert if you’re unsure of your options or need guidance on the best buy.
Spring into financial health
Spring can be an exciting and busy time. However, you may not feel like you have the extra minutes between prepping the lawn and cleaning the garage to handle additional tasks. In reality, these are all activities that can save you time and headache down the road. If you do it well, it can even save you a substantial amount of money.
From avoiding unnecessary streaming channel charges to ensuring you’re covered in a car accident, you won’t regret the moments spent getting your financial life in order. It’s a great habit to get into each spring and one that can pay big later on.