Do you have a spring cleaning checklist that you are working your way through this year? If so, it is a good time to add your finances to the agenda. Spring is a great time to work your way through the clutter—and your finances are no exception. Make a plan to assess and address your financial status. Here, our Martinsburg debt relief attorney provides four tips for reviewing and cleaning up your finances this spring.
1. Take a Comprehensive Financial Inventory
Spring cleanup always starts with a comprehensive financial inventory. Before you can sort out and declutter your finances, you need to know exactly what you have, what you are earning, and what you owe. While taking a financial inventory can be stressful—especially if you are dealing with a lot of debt—it is an important first step. When it comes to financial health, knowledge is power.
2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
You should review your credit report on a regular basis. Make sure that all of the information is accurate. You have a legal right to a free report each year. As explained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), every American is entitled to one free copy of their credit report from each of the nation’s three major credit bureaus each year. To get a no-cost copy of your credit report, you should use annualcreditreport.com. You do not have to pay for a credit report from a private service.
3. Create a Budget—Identifying Problem Spending Areas
Do you have a budget? If you do not have a budget or your budget is outdated, this spring is a good time to get started. A household/personal budget is simply a financial plan that allocates your income to expenses, savings, and debts. Some elements of an effective budget include:
- A clear record of your current savings and monthly income;
- A list of your current monthly expenses; and
- A list of the debts that you are repaying—including the monthly cost.
4. Make a Plan to Pay Off Your Debt
Debt should not be a source of shame. Many families are dealing with high levels of debt—especially in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data included in the 2020 American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the average U.S. household with debt (mortgage, car loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.) owes $145,085.
Unfortunately, debt can quickly start to spiral out of control. A few months of delayed payments, some additional late fees, and the loss of a job or other income can cause serious problems. You need a plan to address your debt—and you do not have to come up with one alone. No matter your circumstances, there is always hope. Hinkle Law PLLC can help you solve your debt problem and repair your financial situation.
Schedule a Free, Confidential Consultation With a Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney
At Hinkle Law PLLC, our bankruptcy & debt relief lawyer is devoted to helping people find peace, security, and long-term financial stability. If you have any questions about cleaning up your finances, we can help. Contact us today for a free, fully confidential phone appointment with an attorney. With office locations in Martinsburg, Charleston, and Hagerstown, we serve communities throughout the region, including West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, and Western Maryland.