4 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Finances

Want to clean up your finances, but don't know where to start? These four steps will guide you toward making money management easier (especially tip number 2).With summer quickly approaching, your finances may take a back seat to all the invitations you’ll receive for fun summer outings.

It’s hard to turn down an invitation no matter how much of a dent it may put in your budget because the warm summer days are so tempting.

Don’t let summer ruin your finances.

Here are some tips on how to clean up your finances just in time for the summer season.

1. Track Every Expense

Stop letting small purchases add up enough to the point where you’re asking yourself, “Where did my money go?

Keep track of every expense. Keep a running log on your smartphone if you insist on using cash, or use a credit card for daily expenses (but pay it off daily).

Paying off your credit card daily will not only help you avoid racking up debt, but will also keep you accountable for all your expenses so you can truly see how much those small spontaneous purchases add up.

2. Set Up Automatic Payments

Make sure you never miss a bill by setting up automatic payments. Late fees not only cost a lot of money, but can also do major damage to your credit.

Make sure you’re paying all your bills on time and never miss a payment by setting up automatic payments. In fact, to really clean up your finances, set up a checking account specifically for bill paying purposes.

Transfer the amount for all your bills into this account on every payday, and have automatic payments deducted from this account. This way you’re never late on a payment and you have already deducted your bills from your paycheck.

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3. Review Your Accounts

Are you still holding on to that store credit card that you opened up when you were 16 because you were tempted with the 10% discount? Stop!

Store credit cards have very high interest rates and provide little in terms of benefits. If you’re at all tempted to swipe them because you can’t resist a sale, then freeze your card in a block of ice or slice it up.

If the problem is a bit more severe, then you can close your account for good. Just be aware that your credit score may dip in the meantime, especially if that card had a high credit limit. myFICO explains the effect in more detail here.

Stick to one all-purpose credit card with no annual fee and good rewards. Discard (or close) any unused accounts to keep better track of your finances and make them less of a headache.

4. Go Paperless

How many times do you really open up that bill statement from the mail? Chances are you’re mostly an online person now, so make your finances fit to your lifestyle.

Many banks offer e-bills, making it easier than ever to keep track of bills and expenses. Set up paperless bills for your accounts and introduce yourself to the 21st century.

How have you cleaned up your finances in the past year? Have you used any of these tips before?