April 1, 2023

Spring Clean Your Finances: A Guide to Refreshing Your Money Management

As the warmer breezes of spring begin to waft through our lives, it’s a great time to clear out the old and prepare for the new, especially when it comes to your finances. Let’s dive into a detailed plan to declutter your financial environment, helping you to manage your money more effectively and achieve financial well-being.

Begin with a Financial Audit

Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Conduct a thorough review of your financial status. Start by collecting all relevant documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, and bills. Summarize your income, note all your monthly expenses, list all debts, and review your savings and investments.

Actionable Step:

Create a spreadsheet or use a financial app to categorize and track these elements. This will give you a clear, immediate visual of your finances and highlight areas that need attention.

Declutter Your Budget

Identify and Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses

With a complete overview of your finances, identify any subscriptions or memberships that you no longer use or need. Cancel these to avoid wasteful spending.

Actionable Step:

Check your last three months’ bank statements for recurring payments. Cancel any subscriptions you haven’t used in this period, such as gym memberships or streaming services.

Optimize Your Utility Spending

Explore ways to reduce your monthly utility bills. This could involve switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, adjusting your thermostat settings, or even renegotiating your internet or phone plans.

Actionable Step:

Call your service providers to inquire about any ongoing promotions or cheaper plans and make the switch. Also, invest in smart thermostats or energy-efficient appliances that can save money in the long run.

Streamline and Automate

Automate Savings and Bill Payments

Set up automatic transfers to your savings account to ensure you consistently save a portion of your income. Likewise, automate your bill payments to avoid late fees and protect your credit score.

Actionable Step:

Schedule an automatic transfer to your savings account for the day after your paycheck clears. Arrange auto-pay for all critical bills such as mortgage, utilities, and credit cards.

Consolidate Debts

If you have multiple high-interest debts, consider consolidating them into a single loan with a lower interest rate, simplifying your payments and potentially reducing the amount of interest you pay.

Actionable Step:

Speak with a financial advisor about the best debt consolidation options or research online for consolidation services with the best rates and terms.

Set Practical Financial Goals

Establish Clear Financial Objectives

Determine what financial success looks like for you this year and beyond. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

Actionable Step:

Write down your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as saving $1,000 for an emergency fund by the end of the year or paying off your credit card debt within six months.

How a Certified Financial Planner Can Help

Expert Guidance and Customized Strategies

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) offers more than just advice; they provide personalized financial strategies tailored to your unique situation. A CFP can help optimize your tax strategies, enhance your investment approach, and ensure that your financial plan aligns with your life goals.

Actionable Step:

Schedule a consultation with a CFP to review your financial audit and budget decluttering process. They can provide insights into further optimizations and strategic financial planning.

Navigate Complex Financial Landscapes

Whether it’s planning for retirement, saving for college, or investing in real estate, a CFP has the expertise to guide you through complex financial decisions and scenarios.

Actionable Step:

Bring specific financial questions or scenarios to your CFP to explore detailed solutions and proactive measures.

Maintain Momentum

Celebrate Achievements

Recognize and celebrate when you reach financial milestones. This could be as simple as a small treat for yourself or a day out when you achieve a savings goal.

Actionable Step:

Set up a rewards system for yourself. For every financial goal achieved, treat yourself to something like a movie night or a small purchase that won’t break the bank.

Stay Informed and Seek Advice

Regularly educate yourself about financial management and consult with professionals to ensure you’re making informed decisions.

Actionable Step:

Subscribe to a financial newsletter, attend webinars, and schedule annual reviews with your financial planner to refine your strategies and address any new financial challenges.

Consult a Certified Financial Planner

Navigating your financial journey can often be complex and overwhelming. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) can provide invaluable assistance in this process. Whether you’re trying to optimize your budget, need help setting realistic financial goals, or require strategic advice for investment opportunities, a CFP offers professional expertise tailored to your specific financial situation. They work closely with you to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of your financial health, from debt management to retirement planning. By partnering with a CFP, you ensure that your financial decisions are informed, strategic, and aligned with your long-term objectives, helping you maintain momentum and achieve financial security.

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1325 Hull Road,

Sandusky, OH 44870

(419) 626-3900

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Elyria, OH 44035

(440) 934-3141

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150 153rd Ave, Unit 302

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

(727) 455-9388

Great Lakes Benefits Inc. is a Financial Advisory firm. Investment Advisory Services are offered by Great Lakes Benefits & Wealth Management, an OH Registered Investment Advisor.

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