Spring Cleaning with Your Finances: 6 Steps for a Fresh Start

Here at Remitly, we know that many people around the world welcome spring by cleaning their homes from top to bottom as a symbolic way to start the season fresh.

Similarly, we believe financial spring cleaning can help our customers worldwide improve their financial outlook and provide a fresh start.

Whether you want to send more money back home, save up for a new car, or have other financial goals this year, you can succeed with the right planning. The following steps will help you spring-clean your finances this year and get you on the right path.

1. Set up automatic payments

Setting up certain bills for automatic monthly payments is a good move when learning how to get your finances in order.

Because you won’t have to worry about remembering payment dates or whether a check will reach your biller before the due date, automating your payments can help you reduce late fees and even improve your credit.

Many companies also provide discounts for customers who set up automatic payments.

You might be worried about setting up autopay from your bank account, especially if your income fluctuates. Following a few rules can make the entire process simple.

  • Update payment information if changes occur (e.g., new debit card).
  • Double-check that you have funds available when the debit date approaches.
  • Cancel automatic payments for services you stop using.
  • Check that you’re still signed up for autopay after making a manual payment.
  • Mark debit dates on your calendar and include them in your budget.

You don’t have to place every bill on an automatic payment plan to benefit. For instance, if you usually need a grace period on your electricity bill, it’s probably wise not to use autopay for it.

If you want to set up automatic bill payment for a bill that doesn’t offer the service directly, check to see if your bank or credit union has an online bill pay service. Many financial institutions now offer some type of bill pay and allow you to schedule automatic payments to anyone you have an address for.

A similar strategy is scheduling regular payments in advance. Scheduling payments is a great way to send money on time without making a long-term commitment. Setting up payment reminders on your phone also helps.

2. Use a financial app

When you’re learning how to get your finances in order, hundreds of tips can help. These include reviewing all your bills for accuracy and keeping paper invoices in one spot. The best piece of advice you can use, though, is to download a financial app.

You can use apps like Remitly to perform special tasks like sending money home, but a general money app is also a great tool. In fact, 63% of smartphone users have at least one of these apps on their phones.

The following is a short list of apps that can help get your finances in order:

  • You Need a Budget
  • RocketMoney
  • Prism
  • EveryDollar
  • Wally (available in Spanish)
  • Mobills (available in Spanish)
  • Clarity Money
  • Mint

Each of these apps is available for Android and Apple devices. They can help you do things like track your spending habits so that you can find places to save. Some also make reviewing and managing multiple accounts simpler if you have checking and savings accounts at multiple financial institutions.

3. Start budgeting

Creating a budget is one of the most important steps in financial organization. Around 40% of people living in America don’t have one. This presumably explains why nearly half of them would have to borrow money if they needed $400 for an emergency.

Budgeting is a key step to getting your finances in order, and it lets you record how much you spend and how much you make every month. By creating this type of financial plan, you can better manage funds and set financial goals for the long term.

Here are the basic steps for building a personal budget:

  1. Determine your monthly income.
  2. Calculate monthly expenses.
  3. Break spending into specific categories and decide how much you’ll spend. Start with necessary expenses like rent and utilities and then focus on other expense types, such as paying for streaming services or dining out.
  4. Track all expenses during the month.

Expenses include electricity bills and rent, but tracking spending on smaller things matters, too.

A budget can also help you build savings for your long-term goals and focus on what matters. And if you can trim extra spending, you can focus more on things like sending money back home or paying off debt.

4. Check your credit report

While you’re doing your financial spring cleaning, take the time to order a free credit report.

Credit reports provide a listing of all of your loans and credit accounts. They provide information like how much you owe on each credit card and whether you’ve had a late payment or two.

Checking your credit report can give you a clear picture of your overall debt and a chance to spot errors due to reporting.

To request your credit report for free, visit AnnualCreditReport.com and follow the steps. You can request one free report each year under U.S. law.

Once you have your report, examine each debt closely. If you see anything unfamiliar or notice an error, like a credit card with the wrong balance, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website to find out how to file a dispute.

5. Revisit your financial goals

No financial spring cleaning checklist would be complete without advice to take the time to assess your progress toward your financial goals.

Having clearly defined goals allows you to make smarter financial decisions, and when you check in on your progress regularly, you can identify things that you can do to help you reach your financial goals faster.

Let’s take a look at three of the most common financial goals.

Save each month for emergencies

Having an emergency fund can provide peace of mind that you’ll be able to access cash in the event of an unexpected situation, like an emergency car repair or a medical bill.

One of the simplest ways to start one is to check out what savings accounts your current bank offers.

Once you open an account, you can set up automatic transfers to move money from checking to savings regularly, such as each time you get paid or once weekly.

Over time, those small transfers can add up to a large pool of savings you can draw from when those financial emergencies arise.

Pay down credit card debt

Paying off debts can greatly improve your financial situation and overall personal finances by freeing up cash to spend on other things or put into savings. Reducing debt can also increase your credit score, opening the doors to better interest-rate deals on things like car loans or a mortgage.

One way to approach reducing debt is to focus on the account with the highest interest rate first. Gather your monthly bills and then make a list of all of your debts and their interest rates.

Identify the debt with the highest interest charges and then pay a little extra each month. Once you pay off that debt, add the amount of that payment to the ones you make on the debt with the next highest rate, and so on.

If you have multiple loans or credit cards, you may also want to consider whether you can consolidate debt into a single loan with less interest to reduce your payment.

Start saving for the future

Another goal to consider when spring cleaning and reexamining your financial plan is putting cash aside for the future.

For example, you may want to save money in a savings account for a down payment on a home you one day plan to mortgage or put some of your taxable income into a special college savings account for your child.

If you haven’t started saving for that major life event yet, consider using your tax refund to your advantage. When you get a refund back at tax time, place all or some of it in one or more accounts for your future.

6. Get your financial documents organized

Now let’s get into one of the ways to spring clean both your finances and your home — organizing your important documents.

Having your paperwork separated and neatly filed can make it easier to review and access it as needed. At the same time, you’ll cut down on clutter and make your home more livable.

To start organizing, create file folders and label them with the following.


In this folder, place all of the statements and terms and conditions forms for your bank accounts, such as your savings or checking account. If you receive canceled checks from your accounts, you can place those in this folder.


Fill this folder with copies of insurance policies, such as your home, car, and life insurance. Add claim information to this folder as you receive paperwork.


If you have a 401(k) or other investment account, store the paperwork related to it in this folder.


In this folder, stash any paperwork related to your debts, such as account statements, late fee notices, and letters detailing interest rate changes.


Plan to keep tax documents in this folder for at least three years after the tax year ends. Key paperwork includes things like copies of your tax returns, tax forms sent to you by your employer, and any tax notices you receive from the IRS or state and local tax agencies.

Spring clean your finances today

A few small changes can make a big difference. By getting organized and adopting certain strategies this spring, you can create a strong foundation for the future.

If you’re thinking about how to manage your finances better, you’re on the right path to financial health. There’s no secret to getting rich quickly, but when you focus on cleaning up your financial organization, it’s easier to get the most out of your money.

While some people only have themselves to worry about, others need to send support back home. If that’s true for you, Remitly makes international money transfers faster, easier, more transparent, and more affordable. Our reliable and easy-to-use mobile app is trusted by over 5 million people around the world.

Visit the homepage or download our app to learn more.

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