How to Spring Clean your Finances

by Fox Symes on October 8, 2013

The warmer months are rapidly approaching; embers of fair weather and vast, blue-sky days are becoming a norm, inter-mingled with the occasional cold night. The Spring Clean is a rite of catharsis, a time to discard the past and clutter, re-arrange the files of your life and get back in the driver’s seat. While going through your cupboards and filling bags with a now defunct wardrobe is usually the first order of business, followed closely by fitness pacts and car cleaning promises, your finances should be the first thing on your mind. How have you shaped up so far this year?

Evaluate and Decimate

Crunch time. Reflect on the last six months, what do your credit card statements say about you? Has your interest decreased over time? How much debt remains? Have you acquired NEW debt to add to the pile? Work out how much you owe, the interest rate across each bill and start chewing through the numbers game until you’ve developed an updated repayment plan. For a feel good kick (who doesn’t like to feel good about themselves, even about something as divisive as debt?), knock off the lowest charge first. Are you balancing a $1200 credit card with a maxed out $5000? Pay off the smaller number quick smart and you’ll feel inspired to plug along with the behemoth.

The Paperless Caper

Thankfully, most Australian banking institutions have spring cleaned their environmental policies, with more customer opting for paperless statements all the time. If you’ve jumped on the go green wagon, make sure you save any PDF accounts over the last six months to a year into a secure location. Back them up. Have at least two copies of your financial history on hand, as banks are not obligated to retain this information past a specific date. Note, this date ranges from bank to bank.

Establish a Filing System

Do you remember walking the aisles of the supermarket, spying an accordion-like case and wondering what evil teacher demands that much homework? The responsible tracking of personal finances is a lot of work, often requiring a few of these cases, labelled according to year-date-person and holding a perpetual forest of essential information. Feel free to toss odd bits like ARM receipts, bank deposit slips and credit card statements dating back seven years or beyond. Keep bank statements, pay certificates, group certificates, tax refunds, healthcare receipts and utility bills.

Think About Debt Consolidation

It seems like a lot to take in, but debt consolidation can streamline your repayment process and get you over the line a lot sooner. A debt solutions specialist will consolidate ALL of your credit card debt into one single repayment, often lowering the monthly minimum and knock off a little interest in the process. Whether you’re stressing out about a floundering business or taking stock of your personal position, consolidation may just be the break you’re looking for.
It is never too late to re-claim your financial autonomy. Don’t be restrained by greedy banking institutions or fear of failure – taking these steps will only improve your situation.

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