Author – Amanda Christensen
The weather is warming up and I am itching to set aside a day to spring clean my…personal finances! Wait, what? Was that a typo? Surely I meant to say something like, “spring clean the garage or the yard” right? Wrong! Instead of sweeping out the garage, cleaning gutters and scrubbing windows I’m setting aside a day to spring clean my family’s personal finances. It’s a baby-step process that’s simpler than you think! I’ve shared my guidelines and step-by-step tasks with you in the outline below:
1) Set aside a day: Send the kiddos to the sitter, clear your schedule
2) Both spouses participate together:
3) Reward yourself when finished: Key to future success!
1) Personal Property Inventory: Update or start from scratch
- Take photos of big ticket items and serial numbers.
- A little more work the first time, after that you’ll just add new and update
- Store in the Cloud or on a jump drive in a fire-proof safe.
2) De-Clutter Financial Paperwork
- Shred last year’s statements
- Go green-buy a scanner
- Know what to keep
3) Get a Free copy of Each of Your Credit Reports
- Equifax, Transunion, Experian
- How to fix incorrect info?
4) Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
- Ask, “What do we want our financial situation to look like at the end of this year?”
- Set goals related to debt, savings, retirement, investments, estate planning, etc.
- Be nice to yourself! Make sure goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.
There’s a satisfaction that comes with a clean home. It’s the same with your personal finances. What baby steps can you take today to get started? How would this help you clear the financial cobwebs in the corner? See me talk about this very topic on the local lifestyle style Studio 5.
Amanda is an Extension Assistant Professor for Utah State University. She has a master’s degree in consumer sciences from Utah State and is proud to call herself an Aggie! Amanda loves teaching and enabling individuals and families to make smart money decisions. @FamFinPro.