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15 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life

Mar 20, 2017 | 3 min read | by Zina Kumok

Key Takeaways

  • Pop in, at least once a year. It’s important to check in and evaluate.
  • Find ways to save by scouring your credit cards, loans or subscriptions.

 

Most people think of spring cleaning as the act of scrubbing their home and purging unwanted clothes, books and furniture. But spring cleaning can also mean organizing your entire life, from your finances to your career to your digital presence.

 

 

Here’s how you can take advantage of the new season to get your life in order.

 

Clean up your finances

  • Review your emergency fund. Some experts recommend having at least six months of living expenses in the bank, in case of emergency. While it may take time to hit that goal, the earlier you start saving, the sooner you’ll get there.
     
  • Trim subscription services. Budget vampires such as gym memberships, subscription boxes and phone plan extras can too easily siphon away money. Look through your bills to see what you can do without.
     
  • Refinance debt. Make a list of the debt you have and see if you can refinance it to get a lower interest rate. Then use what you save to pay down your debt faster.
     
  • Stash savings in a high-yield account. You’re missing out on free money if you keep your savings in an account that’s barely earning interest. Use online tools to help find a bank paying 1% or more.
     
  • Credit Score: You can check your credit score for free at sites such as Credit Karmaopens in a new window and Credit Sesameopens in a new window. Don’t like what you see? Go through your credit reportopens in a new window to see if you have late payments, debts in collection or other negative remarks.
     
  • Examine your credit cards. If you use credit cards regularly, check to see if you’re paying an annual fee, and it if’s worth it. Also, are you keeping a balance that’s costing you extra in interest every month? Or are you using the cards for useful travel rewards?
     
  • Earn the company match for retirement planning. A company that offers a 401(k) or similar program often matches employee contributions, up to a certain percentage. Make sure you’re earning the match, so you’re not giving up free money.
     
  • Examine your savings rate. Most experts say you should save between 10% and 15% of your income for retirement. Divide how much you’re saving out of your net income to calculate your rate.
     
  • Review your portfolio. Many experts suggest reviewing your portfolio at least once a year to determine if you need to rebalance your investments. Your risk tolerance and goals may have changed and your portfolio should reflect that.

 

Clean up your career

  • Take on new challenges. Anyone wanting to expand their resume should ask for new tasks at work, even those outside of their department.
     
  • Find a mentor. A professional mentor can help improve your weaknesses, identify your strengths and serve as a guide throughout your career. You can ask a boss, a former internship advisor or a college professor. Joining professional groups can also help.
     
  • Update your resume. Add any recent accomplishments to your resume while they are still fresh.

 

Clean up your digital life

  • Set your accounts to private. Potential employers check social media accounts, so make sure yours are private. Even if you don’t have anything incriminating on your Facebook page, it’s better to keep your personal and work lives separate.
     
  • Delete embarrassing information. Go through your social media accounts and delete anything you wouldn’t want to resurface. Even if accounts are private, you should never assume your information is 100% secure.
     
  • Delete apps. Wondering how much time you’re spending on social media? Track your social media usage and If you’re unhappy with the results, delete the apps off your phone or use a browser extension to limit time spent online.

 

What you can do next

Spring is the season for new beginnings, which makes it a great time to focus on re-evaluating your own life, and ensuring your short- and long-term goals are met. Take this time to smell the flowers – and focus on your financial, career and retirement plans, along with doing a digital clean-up. Then you can really relax and enjoy the sunshine come summertime.

 

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. She has written for the Associated Press, Indianapolis Monthly and more. She also writes a blog about how she paid off her student loans in three years.

 

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