6 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Finances

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Spring is a time of renewal. Typically, people use it as an opportunity to deep clean their closets, desks and homes. There is no better time to break free from your winter-long comfort zone and start tidying up all aspects of your life. But beyond tending to your physical possessions, its also an opportunity to spring-clean some intangibles. Apply your newfound vim and vigor to other areas of your life, such as your financial habits, which could probably use some sprucing up after a long winter. Don’t know where to start? Dont worry, because we have put together a list of ways for you to spring-clean your money matters. 

Managing finances can be stressful, especially when you’re working hard to support yourself. And while financial advisers can be costly, Intuit’s Turbo is free—and can pay dividends beyond your bank account. According to a survey from Intuit (the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint and Turbo), In spite of how Americans are feeling today and the barriers they are facing, there is optimism for the future. Overcoming these individual barriers and better managing personal finances can provide a better quality of life including peace of mind (60%), more happiness (44%), sense of freedom (47%), relief from stress (54%) and the ability to sleep better at night (36%).

Spring-cleaning your finances will help you manage them better, which sets you up for a more positive outlook overall. That feeling of being in charge and tackling your money head-on will leave you with a sense of power. Who knows, maybe by the summer you’ll be able to afford a much-needed vacation with your influx of coinage.

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1. Eliminate Extraneous Spending

Takeout dinners, Monday through Friday. By cutting down on some of these smaller-ticket purchases, you will eventually see big savings in your bank account.

While it may seem like only a $3 purchase every time you need a little caffeine-based pick-me-up, if you’re drinking three cups a day that’s almost $70 a week. Instead, purchase a coffee machine for about the same price—and make your own coffee. Substitute spending money on unnecessary cab rides throughout the day for spending some time learning your city’s public transit system for much cheaper. Instead of eating out every night, stay in and cook a few times a week to reduce some of your spending.

With this kind of spending, the first step toward saving is being aware of the extraneous payments—and taking a proactive approach to planning around them. 

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2. Get a Financial Physical with Intuit’s Turbo

To live a healthy life, many will recommend seeing a doctor (at least) once a year for a physical. Well, to maintain a healthy fiscal life, it’s important to do an annual checkup on your finances as well. Enter Intuit’s Turbo

Intuit’s Turbo is an app that monitors your credit score, verified income and debt-to-income ratio so that you know where you truly stand financially. By downloading Intuit’s Turbo app, you’ll have access to a complete picture of your financial health, along with personalized financial advice and tools to help you plan and save for the future.

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3. Audit Your Recurring Expenses

Another way to be more in tune with your expenses is to do a simple audit. Things like gym memberships, Netflix, Spotify and even extra cloud storage can add up. However, these types of expenses can be a little trickier to keep track of because many of them are billed automatically, even if you no longer use the service.

With the help of an audit, you can see where your money is going each month, and if you’re no longer using some of the services you’re paying for, cut them out! You may be surprised to discover how many services you signed up to do a “free one week trial” of, only to forget about the cancellation.

An audit will help keep you on top of what you’re paying for.

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4. Plan for Big Upcoming Purchases

There’s nothing wrong with big purchases, whether it’s an apartment upgrade, a vacation or a new car. However, when you’re not responsible (or perhaps you’re in a bit of denial) about your bank account, this type of spending can really set you back.

As is the case with most matters relating to your finances, organization and planning are key. If you know your apartment lease is expiring in a few months, start saving for a new apartment now—not one week before you’re expected to move your stuff out. If you’ve got your eye on a new car, crunch some numbers and take a look at where your account will be after the purchase. At that point, you can make an educated decision about how important the purchase really is compared with the fiscal hit you’ll be taking. 

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5. Set Up Automatic Investments

Nowadays, saving money is easier than ever. Many banks—and independent apps—offer services that allow you to deposit money into your savings account automatically. In many ways, these services act like that piggy bank you had as a kid where you’d save your lunch money change.

You can decide how much to transfer and when (daily, weekly or monthly), but similar to how small expenses add up over time, so do small savings. Saving can be a stressful prospect when you have seemingly more pressing financial obligations in front of you—things like rent, food and day-to-day upkeep.

But by setting up automatic payments to your savings account, you can start saving in a far more manageable manner. 

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6. Daily Budgets Are the Key to Success

Finally, consider setting a daily budget for yourself. In today’s day and age, many people don’t carry cash anymore and rely on credit or debit cards for daily spending. The problem is that it’s easy to swipe the card without fully grasping how much you’re spending each day. 

If you’re the type of person who swipes first and checks (usually with a grimace) your bank account later, try using a daily budgeting app to keep yourself in check. Intuit’s Mint helps you manage your personal finances by tracking what you spend, owe and save. This will not only help you save money this spring but also help you foster better spending habits, which you’ll be able to carry on for the rest of your life.