Money Matters: 7 ways to spring clean your finances

Education Resources, Finance 411,

Since a certain organization expert’s eponymous method of tidying has awakened many a spring cleaning bug, the principles have spread to organizing other aspects of life beyond space. Why not finances?

Here are seven ways to KonMari your finances – or, in the hands of a personal finance reporter – seven spring story ideas.

1. Get rid of old documents​
Spring cleaning finances can, and should, start with tidying offices and desks. Talk to a security specialist to help answer common questions about financial paperwork.

How long should you keep documents? What’s the best way to securely dispose of them? What types of documents should be shredded?

What about digital storage? How can financial documents stored digitally be kept secure?

2. Automate bill payment and savings
Automating bill payment can save time and, in some cases, money. So can going digital – which also cuts on clutter. As we shared last week, savings can also be automated with a growing number of smart saving apps. Look into some of the best ways to automate bills and how to save the most.

3. Negotiate your bills
For those whose bills are already automated, spring's a good time to check in on those automatic payments for any increases or potential to lower them. In many cases, it's possible to negotiate lower rates on services like cable and internet once introductory rates expire. Have you looked into third party services which negotiate on behalf of consumers?

4. Evaluate your subscriptions
In addition to checking in on bills, spring is a great time to evaluate all those regular bills to end those subscriptions you no longer want or need. What fine print regarding subscriptions services and cancellation should people look out for when signing up or trying to consolidate expenses?

5. Check your credit score
How often does the average person check their credit score? Spring is a great time to do so! What do people need to know about how to check their credit scores? What problems should people keep an eye out for? What are potential fixes credit hits or even credit report errors?

6. ​Rebalance your retirement account
Retirement may seem like a long way off for most of us, but it's important to regularly check in on retirement accounts to ensure investments are in line with goals. What should people know about selecting the right balance of stocks, bonds, funds and other assets for retirement savings, depending on their age and goals?

7. ​Reset your bank passwords
Last, mobile and digital banking makes access easy from anywhere but takes attention to security. It's worth a reminder to reset those passwords, and some tips on selecting strong passwords.

Weekly Money Matters personal finance content for your newsroom is sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education