The materials in this article are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice.
Remember that New Year’s resolution you made at the start of 2016? Doesn’t it seem like a distant, hazy memory? If you’re part of the eight percent of the population who managed to achieve your resolution, congratulations! If you were in the resolution-breaking camp, there’s still hope.
Spring officially started on Sunday, March 20, so now’s the perfect time to fine-tune your finances. Ever heard of the fresh-start effect? Here’s the science behind it: turning over a new leaf can inspire you to meet your objectives and overcome personal hurdles. Now you don’t have to wait until January 1, 2017, to get your money life back on track!
Review your bank accounts.
Close inactive bank accounts that you no longer use and shop for a new no-fee bank account with better financial incentives, such as automatic savings, no monthly minimums or overdraft fees. File current bank documents in a safe place where you can reference them when you need to, but not have to see them in the interim.
Now that spring has officially arrived, it’s the perfect time for some financial scrubbing. Here’s why: according to the fresh-start effect, when people recognize there’s an opportunity to “start over,” they’re more likely to reach their goals. With the mornings getting lighter and the temperatures slowly rising, the new season could be the catalyst for a new, financial, “you.”
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Scribble down your financial goals.
Start by jotting down your financial intentions for the spring in a journal. Tax season will be over by mid-April, but you’ll likely have lots of other deadlines in the coming months. Write down what you want to achieve and important dates to remember. If you want a more comprehensive overview of your financial future, create a mood board with clippings from inspirational magazines, quotes, money tips and budget plans.
Get cheaper utilities.
Undergo a money makeover this spring by cutting down the cash you spend on your utility bills. A price-comparison website, where you’ll be able to find the cheapest deals on gas, water, and electricity in your area, could save you hundreds of dollars in 2016. Found a new provider? Contact them and ask for a direct quote.
Get rid of clutter.
Clutter can have a detrimental effect on your brain. In a recent study by researchers at UCLA, stress hormones spiked when mothers spent time dealing with their belongings. Declutter your finances by organizing your paper archives. The result? Less time wading through a mountain of paperwork in the future, instantly reducing your stress levels. Dispose of any old employment tax papers–usually, documents older than three years–and use a shredder to get rid of documents with personal data.