Money Management

Spring Cleaning Time

It was 87 degrees in my backyard today. Eighty-Seven Degrees. You gotta love SPRING TIME! Just around the corner… Baseball, golf, yard-work… And Spring Cleaning!

Well, just like our homes, our finances need some “spruce-up” work from time to time. Let’s take a look at some things we can do to make our finances “shine”. (Oh yeah, I promise no more quotation marks in this post. I promise.)

1. Sit down and actually make a budget. I know it’s hard, time consuming, and frustrating, but you need a plan. Write down how much you will bring home this month and how you are going to spend it. Spend every red-cent on paper before you bring home your paycheck. This will be the foundation for your personal finance do-over.

2. Renew and Review the following: Your will, you living will, your life insurance policies, your health insurance policies, your dental insurance policies, your home-owner’s insurance, etc. Think of all the annual policies that you have. Do you have enough life insurance (6 to 12 times your annual income in Term Life insurance)? How about long-term disability insurance? If you rent, do you have a renter’s insurance policy? You NEED one, in case of a fire or burglary.

3. Take a look around personal-finance land. Could you find a better interest rate for your emergency savings? How about a bank with free or bonus checking? Take a few minutes and figure out if you are banking where you want to bank or if you are banking where you have always banked. These two places might not be the same.

4. Analyze your giving. Did you give anything to anybody last year? Are you tithing or giving to charity? Remember, there are 3 things to do with money: Spend, save, or give. You NEED to be doing ALL THREE!

5. Get that junk off of your desk! Go, go, go. A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Grab some file-folders and get organized.

6. You have just a little over a month until your taxes are due. Have you finished your taxes? Do you need to file for an extension? Do NOT wait until the last minute. Remember, if you have refund coming, the faster you receive it, the faster you can put it to work!

7. Now’s the time to open that Roth IRA or College ESA. You still have time to contribute to 2005 AND 2006!

8. Clean out the fridge.

9. Organize your tools, your cd’s, etc. Do something to organize your “non-financial” stuff. WHY? I have found that when the other areas of my life are in-order, I have more time and energy for dealing with my finances. (Yes, I see those silly quotation marks. They’re just so darn convenient…)

10. Have plan. Work the plan. Get back on plan. Trust the plan. Never, ever, ever stop. This is about more than money. It’s about creating a stable, enjoyable future for yourself and your family. Ask this question of yourself: How will my future be affected by the decisions I am making today?