Even with an extra day this year, it seemed that tax time was challenging and there was greater opportunity to be more organized. There are a number of great sites that help get organized, including www.yodlee.com and www.mint.com.
Its important every so often to get a bird’s eye view on your finances and understand where your money is going. Look at all your financial statements, your online bills, your credit cards, your mortgages, loans etc. and be sure that you have everything. Once you can see how much you are paying, set a budget and try to lower some of your payments. When was the last time you asked the phone or TV company to review your rate plan? Or looked to see if you really do use all of the minutes that you are paying for with your phone company? Once you have the right rates, try to determine what you can really save.
Saving is really important. I can never stress enough the importance of stashing cash and investing in yourself. If you can reduce one of your month bills, or even a few, you can start to save that money instead.
Given that banks are being more mindful on who they lend to, its also important that you stay connected with your credit score. www.FreeCreditReport.com is one of my favorite sites to access your information, at least once a year. Banks are really looking at credit scores now, and you should be aiming for 700+, with a verifiable income if you want to be successful. You can also get your report at www.MyFico.com. You can help increase your score by being more diligent with your bills – like by paying on time and lowering your credit card debt.
… Time to spring clean your finances and get set up for success!