Your Mid-Year Financial Cleanse Checklist
- June 21, 2023
What comes to mind when you think of a “cleanse”?
Maybe it summons images of health reboots or space decluttering (and we can appreciate the value in either), but have you considered that cleanses can also be financial?
We’ve officially reached the midpoint of the year, and now is a great time to declutter and organize our financial lives. A mid-year financial cleanse can bring a renewed sense of control and clarity to your money matters, enabling you to move towards your goals whether that’s debt managementdebt management or building better habits. Here is a checklist of things you can do now to simplify and streamline your finances.
1. Think Big Picture
Before you tackle a messy room, it helps to know what you’re getting into first. And a budget is no different. Kick off the checklist by assessing your overall financial situation. Review your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial documents to gain broader understanding of your income, expenses, and debt. Determine where you might be able to reduce spending—auto insurance? Cable and internet? Rent?—with some comparison shopping or rate negotiation.
2. Build a Budget
Whether you prefer spreadsheets, free money management apps, or interactive budgeting worksheetinteractive budgeting worksheet, the how is less important than the why. And here’s the why: a budget is the most straightforward way to stay organized and conscious of how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Review your existing budget or create a new one if you don’t have one already. Assign specific categories for your income and expenses and aim to allocate even a small percentage toward savings to minimize future stress when the unexpected happens.
3. Track Your Spending
Maintaining a spending log can help you identify patterns, pinpoint areas where you may be spending beyond your desired comfort zone, and stay accountable to the budget you’ve created. Take advantage of personal money management apps or online tools to track your expenses automatically or keep a manual record if that helps you feel more conscious and vigilant to spending trends.
4. Organize Financial Documents
Gather and organize important financial documents such as bank statements, tax returns, investment statements, insurance policies, and receipts. Establish a system that works for you to ensure easy access when you need to remember what your renter’s insurance policy covers or when your promotional 0% interest rate is coming to an end. You can also digitize important documents for added convenience and security (bonus here: you’ll be cleansing your household of excess paperwork!)
5. Optimize Subscriptions
Mid-year is a great time to take inventory of your monthly subscriptions and memberships. We understand that everyone differs here—a gym membership might feel more “essential” than a streaming music service or home cleaning schedule and that’s okay. Decide what matters most to you and cancel what holds lesser value. Not wanting to cancel? Try negotiating for better rates or switching to more cost-effective alternatives within the same category.
6. Consolidate and Simplify Accounts
Do you have multiple bank accounts? Consider consolidating them to streamline your financial management. Having fewer accounts can simplify tracking transactions, reduce the likelihood of incurring overdraft or maintenance fees, and make it easier to monitor your overall financial progress where your goals are concerned. Likewise, consolidating credit card accounts can help you keep track of monthly payments and potentially reduce interest charges.
7. Automate Bill Payments
For many of us, managing finances can be anxiety-inducing, and that anxiety is compounded when late fees eat into your allocated budget. Over time, late fees can also negatively impact you credit score. Setting up automatic bill payments for recurring expenses helps you avoid both outcomes and makes money management faster and more efficient since you’re not keeping track of what’s due when.
8. Review and Update Insurance Policies
Evaluate your insurance coverage to ensure you have adequate protection and aren’t overpaying. Shop around for better rates and consider bundling policies for potential discounts. Review policy details, deductibles, and coverage limits to make sure you’re adequately protected without paying for unnecessary extras.
9. Review and Rebalance Investments
If you have investment portfolios, carve out some dedicated time to review their performance and asset allocation. Ensure that your investments align with your risk tolerance and long-term goals. Consider rebalancing your portfolio to maintain diversification and optimize returns. If investing is new or you want deeper insight when it comes to risk evaluation, a financial advisor can help you understand your options.
10. Set Mid-Year Financial Goals
Think of this mid-year marker as an opportunity to make new financial goals, big or small (reminder: ambition is great, but stair stepping is still progress) Whether it’s saving for a specific purchase, paying down your credit card debt, or adding to any retirement funds you may have, define your top priorities and begin mapping out some actionable steps to achieve them.
And while financial checklists are helpful when it comes to organizing, it never hurts to have the pros weigh in as well. Our NFCC-certified counselors are here for you whether you need help building a budget, brushing up on your financial educationfinancial education, or paying down your debt. Let us help make the second half of your year a strong one!
Tara Spicer (She/Her)
Tara Spicer is a writer for GreenPath Financial Wellness, covering everything from budgeting best practices to financial literacy for families. A former book editor and University of Michigan alum, she divides her time between the page and parenting in Seattle, Washington.
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