As the days get lighter and the weather (hopefully) improves, there’s less and less doubt about it – spring is here! Like most people, you’ve probably accumulated a list of springtime to-do’s around the house throughout the winter. But don’t forget, as you shake out the rugs and wash the windows, that your budget could probably use a tidy too!
Spring is a great time to look at trimming a budget: you’ve had all four seasons of varying expenses to track, and the gift-giving season is well behind. So put down that mop and bucket to read along for some thoughts on spring-cleaning those expenses of yours.
Utilize your Utilities: How many different utility companies are you currently dealing with? If you have separate providers for your phone, internet and cable, chances are there’s a money-saving opportunity to be had by bundling. Check out which companies can meet your needs and what sort of offers they can give you. If you can get an introductory offer be sure to consider what the regular cost will be once your welcome price with the new company has expired. In short, shop around, but always with a keen eye.
End the Extras: Find you’re paying for something you don’t use? Now is the time to put a stop to it. Examine your ongoing costs and see if you’re actually using all you pay for. For example, if you find that extra caller-ID or the fancy cable package going to waste, there are dollars to be had regardless of whether it’s a short- or long-term trimming. The same approach applies to oft-disregarded insurance plans – if things have changed at all in the past year, be sure to find out if your premiums reflect your current situation.
Nix the Impulse Buying: Now this is something that can be tossed from your costs no matter what time of year! Unplanned purchases can range anywhere from last-minute deals (that you don’t really need) at your grocery store check-out to big-ticket items such as trips and furniture. Regardless of their volume and price, they add up over time and can throw the best-laid budget out of balance. If you know you’re prone, take a step back before putting your money towards these purchases and, if in doubt, wait a few extra days and revisit the item to see if your “need” for it has changed.
Forgo the Fees: Scrutinizing your statements for late payment fees, overage charges or a banking plan that isn’t quite right can help reduce your incidental costs. If you find you’re always paying the extras, talk to your provider(s) and see if there isn’t a plan that’s better tailored to your needs. Even something as simple as opting for paperless statements may save you a buck or two. If you have a credit card with an annual service or membership charge, consider whether or not you really need that card in your wallet.
Springtime: no longer just a time to pack away winter gear, throw open the windows and watch your garden grow. Since most of us will be busying ourselves with the home turf, why not extend the sparkle and polish to our financial greenhouse too!