So you've made it to part 3 of the Spring Clean Your Finances Challenge! (Or if you are new to the challenge, go to Part 1 and Part 2.) We're on the final stretch and the finish line is in sight! Here we go...
Day 5: Revisit Your Budget
If you had a successful day 4, day 5 is going to be a good one for you! You’ve saved yourself some money; now let’s see how that extra cash can best be used. Hopefully you already have a budget of some sort in place and track where your money is going. If not, you can set this up quickly and easily using a personal finance manager such as Mariner360.
Now that that’s settled, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. How closely are you able to stick to your budget? If you often go over the amount of money you have allocated for personal spending, take a look at the things that you’ve purchased over the past few weeks. Could you cut back on your Starbucks trips by making coffee at home? How often to do you eat meals out? If you feel that you are fairly responsible with your money but have trouble staying below your limit, go ahead and give yourself a little bit more with the money you’ve saved from day 4.
If you have a lot of debt, use this money to help pay it off, or if your emergency savings account isn’t fully funded with 3-6 months of income, add more there.
Day 6: Check Your Credit Reports
You can do this for free once a year thanks to the good ol’ Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), so take advantage! Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and request your free copies – yes, copIES. FACTA entitles you to an annual free copy of your credit report from all three of the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. You never know which credit bureau creditors are going to use, so it’s important that all three are accurate.
Checking your credit reports regularly is an important (and easy) measure to take in order to detect identity theft early on. The earlier you find any fraudulent activity, the easier it is to remedy. If you find any fraudulent activity on any of your credit reports, report your findings immediately. If everything looks accurate, Day 6 is complete!
Voila! Your 6 Day Spring Clean Your Finances Challenge is complete! Your reward? Now that you have completed all of those pesky tasks that have been hanging in the back of your mind, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of this beautiful spring weather worry-free!