When spring comes around, no amount of dusting up or mopping the floors can remedy a baleful financial situation. While the distractions of home maintenance may momentarily distract you from monetary doom and gloom, you'd be smart to also consider a wee bit of financial spring cleaning this season. By getting your finances in order, you'll have more time to spruce up your home in the summer and fall, and maybe have a bigger budget for fixing up that dingy garage.
For many reasons, too many people keep multiple bank accounts open all the time. While in some cases this may be necessary, for most people it's just an unnecessary burden that can be remedied with a few clicks and maybe one or two phone calls. In nearly every case, there's one bank account that's the primary account, and a couple more floating around with a few dollars in them. Do a bit of research and figuring out which bank offers you the most benefit -- consider the ease of online payment, any potential interest rates and how close the brick and mortar facilities are to your home -- and then pick the one that works best for you. It's worth noting that some banks will charge a fee for closing an account that's been open for less than a year, but the benefit of having fewer banks to deal with -- and less junk mail to clean up -- will be worth it in the long run.
Even if you don't have any plans to buy a home or big ticket item in the short term, it's always smart to keep your credit score in check. In most cases, having a score below 700 means that you're not getting the best rates out there, and when it comes to huge purchases, a bad score can cost you into the 5 and 6-digit figures. Find out your credit score through multiple agencies and try to remedy it if you're unsatisfied by what you find. This may involve paying off any existing debts as quickly as possible; if you have a lot of preexisting debts, come up with a financial plan so that you can get rid of them without causing too much strain on your normal budget.
If you're lucky enough to have a substantial amount invested in 401(k)s, ETFs and other investment vehicles, then you'd be smart to consolidate them all into one place. This doesn't mean putting them all into one stock or bond type, but rather organizing them so that they're easy to track and manage in one sitting. That said, you may have old 401(k)s floating around from other jobs, or loose shares that you've never managed to sell or postponed dealing with until a rainy day. By gathering all of your investment data, you'll be much better off when it comes to making any trades or exchanges. With only a small amount of work, you can find out how much everything you own is worth; you may be happily surprised by what you find.