Spring cleaning your finances

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) Spring has sprung and now is a good time not only to spruce up your house, but also to tidy up your personal finances so you start this new quarter with a fresh start. 

After sending off a tax return, the last thing many us feel like doing is crunching more numbers. But having financial information at hand may be the best time to do some spring cleaning.

Personal finance expert Vera Gibbons says a common obstacle to money management is also one of the easiest to overcome.

“So many people have no idea what money is coming in the door and what money is actually going out the door, and you can’t begin to manage your finances, unless you have this basic stuff down,” Gibbons said.

After a budget, tidy up your credit report. Just head to AnnualCreditReport.com where you can get your first report at no cost.

Ellen Dunn with New Horizons Credit Union says look for any mistakes or accounts that could be fraudulent.

“You could be denied for a loan if you come in and apply and there’s information on there (like) collection items that would have to be paid, delinquent accounts, charges that have to be taken care of and you will be denied in most cases,” Dunn explained.

If you do find a mistake, report it to the credit bureau. Dunn says it may take a couple of weeks but if the information is inaccurate, the bureau will remove it.

Also look for areas you can unclutter your system by paying credit card, utility, mortgage bills and more.

“Create an online calendar on Google for example, that way you’re sent automatic reminders as to when those bills are actually due, so you won’t be hit with late fees, no penalties, and no credit score consequences,” Gibbions.

This is also a chance to take inventory of auto-pay options for subscriptions and other items you simply may have forgotten about, and might want to clean out of your budget.

So while you’re cleaning house,  can clean your finances too.

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