Spring is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to freshen up your finances. Along with those dusty cupboards and unused sporting equipment your old bank statements are probably due for a clean-up. So it’s time to simplify and declutter the way you manage your money.
The good news from Dun and Bradstreet’s Consumer Financial Stress Index is that consumer stress in New Zealand has fallen to its lowest level since the beginning of 2012. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, so it’s important to prioritise your financial wellbeing and spring clean your finances.
Managing your money is so much more difficult when your paperwork and bills are in disarray. Sort through your current files and rip up or shred all the documents you no longer need. Remember though to keep anything that you may need in relation to future or past tax returns. Find out more information about what you need to keep here.
Find a shelf in your cupboard to file what you are keeping so they are safe and easy to keep in order. Organise and label your folders into categories like Tax, Investments, and Superannuation so they are easy to find and file in the future.
Important papers like wills should be stored in portable fireproof and waterproof safes.
Clean out your wallet and only keep the cards you use often. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of only having minimum cash on you just in case you lose it.
Put aside a little bit of time each week to maintain your budget, organise what bills are coming up and check how your savings goals are going.
Lots of statements are available online and can be sent via email. This saves you a lot of time and space. So check with your bank, utility, mobile and internet providers to see if you can opt for the paperless billing option.
They may also offer you the option of paying by direct debit which can save you the stress of having to remember when to pay the bill. But just make sure you have enough money in your account to cover your bills for the month so you don’t get hit with a default fee.
Even if you go paperless make sure you create a folder system on your computer so you can easily store all your files. And always make sure you back them up!
Simplify your accounts
If you have multiple bank accounts and you don’t use them all then use this time to simplify your accounts. Close down any that you no longer use and think about giving them a meaningful name so you know exactly what they are for.
Also consider changing your passwords and setting strong and unique new ones! The Privacy Commissioner’s website has some good information and tips on protecting your privacy online.
If you have been unhappy with your bank then take this opportunity to shop around and compare accounts. Make sure you are very clear about what you need and not be talked into new features that you may hardly use.
Spring cleaning your finances and creating a system for keeping your important documents and bills organised is so satisfying. Make this a priority for September and see how great it feels!