The official start of spring may still be a couple of weeks away, but the time to get your finances organized and in order is right now. You want some spare cash to treat yourself to a few new items for the new season, right?
Truthfully, I recently chose to be productive and took on a bit of financial spring cleaning, instead of using my free time browsing the Web for outfit inspo. And I’ve gotta tell you, it was so rewarding! Not only was I able to cancel subscriptions I no longer use and renegotiate recurring charges, but I also discovered a bunch of cool tools and apps that will help me save money going forward.
Sound like just the thing your budget needs? Here are a few tips that made my “spring clean” a success.
1. Make the time. To truly make the most of a financial spring clean, it’s important to set aside enough time to thoroughly review your expenses by combing through your card statements and monthly bills and take action for any suspicious charges, if necessary. I set aside an afternoon, and it was great being able to get into a groove and focus entirely on the task at hand.
2. Get help. Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. There are so many amazing tools that actually make cutting costs and finding savings super easy. Some I love? Second Look from Capital One identifies potentially unwanted charges on your account (they’ll send you an email if they see things like an increase to your monthly cell phone bill, or that you’ve signed up for a free trial which won’t always be free, so you can avoid costs you weren’t expecting, or charge that could be wrong. Another awesome tool is Level Money, which analyzes your finances to help you manage your spending and savings to help you see where you can cut back on costs or improve your savings.
3. Ask tough questions. This applies to both you and the people and companies you’re paying. As you’re reviewing your expenses, you’ll want to take an honest look at what you really need and actually use. Are you’re paying $100 for an unlimited monthly gym membership but have only been on the treadmill once in the last 30 days? It might be time to re-think that. Call up the gym to see if they have a more affordable option that better fits your actual usage. Same goes for the cable bill (do you really watch all 264 channels?) and streaming music services (because you probably don’t need to pay for three different music apps on your phone).
4. Set up a safety net. It can take a lot of time for you to review every expense and credit card charge regularly, so it’s important to make sure that your credit card issuer has your back, too. Most financial institutions automatically offer fraud protection, but Capital One goes even further with the Second Look program. Not only will Capital One notify eligible customers of possible mistakes or unexpected charges on their account (like a restaurant tips that is more than your usual percentage), but they’ll also flag duplicate charges. It’s basically like the personal assistant you’ve always wanted!
Follow this simple steps and before you know it that new spring handbag will feel more and more like a reality.
What tips and tricks do you have up your sleeve to make the most of your finances this spring? Leave a comment below!
I wrote this blog post while participating in a program on behalf of Capital One and received compensation as part of my participation.