Welcome Spring with a Fresh Financial Plan
It’s finally spring! The season that inspires us to get organized or clean out that overstuffed closet. But, why stop there? Have you considered that maybe your finances could use a little clean up as well?
Springtime is months after the holiday squeeze and still a while away from the pricey summer season, making it a prime time for whipping your finances into shape. Although Tennessee weather may be inconsistent, your checking and savings accounts don’t have to be.
So, let’s get cleaning!
Dust Off Your New Year’s Resolutions
We get it. New Year’s resolutions get stale as soon as the calendar hits February. But this was the year you were really fired up and ready to conquer the world. You had budgeting goals and savings dreams that you were determined to achieve. Why sell yourself short when your goals are actually within reach?
Use the fresh energy and renewal of spring to revisit the list of resolutions you penned back at the end of 2018. Assess your finances. Where do you currently stand? How far have you travelled along the path to your goals? If you’re lagging behind, what’s holding you back?
Take stock of where you are financially and get back on track, moving forward and toward those goals. It’s not too late to make it happen this year!
Do it today: Dig out that paper with your New Year’s resolutions and go through your financial goals one at a time. Did you overreach? Were you irresponsible? Tweak and adjust as necessary, create a new tracking system if the existing one is not working, and then get out there and own those goals!
Sweep Out Your Monthly Budget
Now that you’ve taken stock of your resolutions, take a good look at your monthly budget.
Review your spending habits over the last few months. Where do you spend the most money? Are there ways you can cut back in that particular category? Maybe you are eating out too regularly or stopping by your favorite coffee shop too often. It’s time to take an honest look! Make a plan to reallocate your funds away from your wants. Focus on fulfilling your needs and saving the rest.
Do it today: Review your monthly budget and choose one area to trim. Create concrete and realistic steps to make that happen. For instance, try the money envelope system to keep you on track, or stick to cash-only so you don’t slip up. Your budget will thank you!
Freshen Up Your W-4
You might be celebrating a generous tax return this year, but that only means the government has been handling some of your money all year long instead of it earning more for you. It’s almost like giving the government an interest-free loan! You could have used those funds to start investing, add to an existing emergency fund, launch a business, or to save for your dream summer getaway.
Take a closer look at your W-4 so you don’t overpay in taxes again this year. Pay special attention to the allowances and deductions on the form, as these determine your monthly withheld funds and your annual tax refund.
Do it today: Spend some time researching your best withholding options or ask your accountant to help you work out the numbers. Adjust your W-4 accordingly and submit it to the payroll specialists at your workplace.
Pile Up Your Savings
Once you’re cutting down on your spending habits and taking home a larger check each payday, why not use the extra money to bump up your savings? You can add to an existing fund or build a new one. Better yet, you could open a USCCU Certificate or Money Market account. You have many great options!
Speak to a US Community Credit Union employee today to find out about our fantastic savings options.
Do it today: After choosing a savings option, stop by USCCU to set up a direct deposit. Each month, your money will be automatically transferred from your checking account to your new account. Without thinking about it, you’ll be on your way to amassing a wealth of funds for future expenses and investing opportunities.
Toss Your Debt
This spring, while you try on old, scratchy sweaters and make piles of junk to toss in the trash or sell for cash, why not get rid of your debt, too?
Debt is ugly. It can hold you back from moving forward, keeps you in a spending trap that only gets stronger with time and clings to you like caked-on mud. Wash it all off this spring with an actionable plan to get rid of that debt for good!
Do it today: Review your debts and pick one to pay off first. You can start with the debt you owe the least on or the one with the steepest interest rate. Find a way to double down on your payments toward that debt. You can do it by taking on a side hustle, seeking a promotion at work, or trimming existing expenses.
After you’ve paid down the first debt, move onto the next one. Accelerate its payoff by applying the total payment amount you were paying on the previous debt to the new one – in addition to the regular payment you were making on it. Keep going until they’re all gone. It might take until next spring (or longer), but eventually, you’ll kick all of your debt to the curb!
Spring is here—it’s time to freshen up your finances so you can head into the summer season with confidence!
Your Turn: How do you clean out your finances in the spring? Share your best tips with us in the comments.