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10 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Finances

Author: Maurie Backman | March 04, 2021

Mature couple discussing finances with pens and paper

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Give your finances the attention they deserve

Ah, spring -- the time to finally put away the snowblower and start loading up on gardening supplies. But it's also a good time to give your finances a thorough overhaul. Here are a handful of money moves it pays to make as the weather warms and the season changes.

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A household budget written out on notebook paper

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1. Set up a budget -- or redo your current one

Having a budget can help you keep tabs on your spending and help you meet your savings goals. If you don't have a budget in place, now's a great time to set one up. And if you do have a budget, give it a thorough read if it hasn't been adjusted in months. You may need to make some tweaks to account for income or spending changes.

ALSO READ: 6 Ways to Get Your Finances in Shape for 2021

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Piggy bank labeled Emergency Fund

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2. Assess your emergency savings

We should all aim to have three to six months' worth of living expenses tucked away in the bank for emergencies -- things like job loss, home repairs, or medical bills. Now's a good time to see what your emergency fund looks like -- and make plans to boost it if it's not as robust as you'd like it to be.

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Binder reading Retirement Plan next to graphs and reading glasses

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3. Ramp up your retirement plan contributions

If you've been neglecting your 401(k) or IRA, you're doing your future self a disservice. Once you have your budget in place, see how much room you have to boost your retirement savings rate. Socking away even a few extra hundred dollars a year could help in the long run.

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Word Debt on chalkboard being erased

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4. Map out a debt payoff plan

If you're carrying unhealthy debt (meaning, debt not related to a mortgage, vehicle, or education), the sooner you get rid of it, the less money you'll waste on interest. Take a look at your existing debts and see if there's a way to consolidate them so they're easier and less expensive to pay off. Consolidating credit card debt into a personal loan, for example, could lower the interest rate on that debt and help you pay it off more quickly.

ALSO READ: 3 Credit Card Strategies for a Debt-Free 2021

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A pie chart showing asset allocation diversification

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5. Check up on your investments

Whether you have money invested solely in a retirement plan or in a brokerage account as well, it's important to see how it’s doing. First, check on your investments' performance. Is your portfolio moving with the general market, or lagging behind it? If you're dealing with the latter, you'll need to make some changes. Similarly, check up on your asset allocation and make sure it's appropriate given not just your age but your general tolerance for risk.

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We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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Woman looking closely at documents sitting near her laptop

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6. Get your financial documents in order

Whether it's medical bills, tax forms, or receipts for business expenses, having an organized filing system is your ticket to filing accurate tax returns. If your paperwork is a mess, take some time to organize it. One good bet is to scan receipts and documents and file them electronically so you don't risk losing them over time.

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Insurance policy document

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7. Make sure you have the right insurance

From auto insurance to health insurance to life insurance, the right coverage could spare you a world of financial hurt. Take a look at your various insurance policies and make certain they're adequate.

ALSO READ: Best Life Insurance Companies for 2021

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A close-up of a credit report

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8. Review your credit reports

The higher your credit score, the easier it'll be to borrow affordably when you want to. But misinformation on your credit reports -- such as a debt that's listed as outstanding that's not really yours -- could drag your credit score down, so checking them for errors is important. You're entitled to a free yearly copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

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Man does push-ups at the gym.

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9. Unload services you don't get good use out of

That gym membership that costs you $60 per month? If you only set foot in a gym once every 30 days, it's not worth the money. Take a look at your expenses and get rid of those it's time to stop paying for.

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Woman looking at calendar on a laptop screen

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10. Identify upcoming expenses

The last thing you want to do is get caught off guard by surprise expenses. Take a look at your calendar and see what bills loom on the horizon. Maybe two friends postponed weddings last year and will be tying the knot later this year. Those are events you'll pay to attend, whether in the form of travel or gifts. Map out those upcoming expenses so you can stay on top of saving for them.

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We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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Woman holding stack of clothing in a closet

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Get cleaning!

As we inch our way into spring, it's a good time to get your financial house in order. And while you're at it, you may want to tackle your physical house as well. After all, that garage isn't going to clean itself!

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