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Tips for Spring (Debt) Cleaning
Spring is the time to shake off the winter excess and start moving towards a happier, cleaner and healthier season. Most people scrub their floors, donate old clothing and declutter their closets, but you shouldn’t limit your cleaning to just your home. Your finances deserve just as much attention as your fridge, but how do you go about doing that?
Starting the process of analyzing your debt can be overwhelming. But don’t worry. We have seven go-to tips for getting your finances in order. So, let’s start cleaning.
Make a Commitment
This point sounds simple, but it is the only way to start. Make paying off your debt and organizing your financial house a priority. Put it in writing and hang it on your fridge. Give yourself daily reminders so you can stay motivated to paying down that debt and creating a financially stable future.
Get your Credit Report
There is no better way to assess your financial standing than to get your credit report. Unfortunately, most people don’t get or review theirs as much as they should. You can get a free credit report three times a year from each of the three major reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union.
Review Your Spending
Take some time to really analyze your spending patterns over the last few months or even the last year. Do you spend an obscene amount on food? Maybe you went a little overboard with the most recent birthday gifts. What things do you tend to put on your credit cards instead of paying with cash? Take a look into your own behavior and, if you see a pattern of overspending, it might be time to revisit your budgeting strategy.
Create a Budget
Speaking of budgets, now is definitely the time to create or revise one. After reviewing your spending and last year’s financial goals, apply that knowledge to your new budget. You can even use free budgeting apps, like Mint, to help you establish a base budget, keep track of your spending and set financial goals for the future.
Develop a Debt Payoff Strategy
With more than 43 percent of Americans owe more than they earn, you aren’t alone if you have substantial debt. The next step to spring debt cleaning is to develop a payoff strategy. We recommend starting with the card that has the highest interest rate
We know. You probably think we are crazy to suggest saving when you have debt to pay off, but having a healthy savings account can truly benefit you if you have unforeseen circumstances in the future.
Work with a Debt Management Program
We aren’t all financial experts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to pay down your debt. Working with a debt management program means lower monthly payments, decreased interest rate and learning how to live within your means from a credit counselor. A program, like CreditGuard’s, can help you secure a financially stable future.
Want to learn more about debt management programs? Check out our debt management section or contact one of our credit counselors today.