When was the last time you were honest with yourself about the health of your finances? When last did you take a proper look at your credit report? Spring time is a season of new beginnings and there is no better time to re-examine your finances. It’s also three months before December, which makes it the ideal time to start planning your year-end budgeting and holiday escapades.
Clear out the clutter and cash in
When you’re clearing out your cupboards this spring, don’t just throw away everything. Make a list of all the items that are still in a good condition. Take pictures and sell them online. Soon, you’ll find that old pair of shoes, an expensive wig you don’t use anymore, designer handbag or dated accessories will give you the opportunity to make some money.
Review your statements
Gather your bank accounts, credit card statements, as well as insurance policies. Review all these documents to see if they are still relevant; do any of them need updating? Also, familiarise yourself with what debt you owe and put a plan in place as how best to pay it off.
Pay off your debt.
There are different strategies for paying off debt. One philosophy says to get rid of the highest interest debt first, since that is typically the most expensive debt item. On the other hand, you could choose to focus your paying-off efforts on the smaller amounts of debt first, then use this money to pay off your higher bills. This strategy creates a sense of accomplishment as you can literally ‘tick these debts off the list’ relatively quickly. As a result, you remain motivated to follow-through on your initiative to pay off debt.
Check your credit report
If you are unsure of which debt commitments you actually have, you can get your free credit report here. Check your report to see what you still owe to whom. You can also have a look at the other data the bureau holds on you and identify if there are any inaccuracies in there that you need to fix.
Prepare a budget
Put together a schedule of your total household income vs. your expenses. Be honest with yourself! Make sure you spend on the important things first such as paying your household expenses, then your debt as well as a little bit of savings that can be used at a later stage. Drawing up a budget will help you to see how much your expenses amount to and where you are wasting money. Start your budget here.
It’s never too late to get your finances in check, the sooner you start, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits.