credit & debt

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances

Take some time to get your money matters in order with these tips.

With spring here, you may be embarking on a seasonal spruce-up of your home. Make sure you also take the time to get your financial house in order. Here are five tasks to tackle:

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Toss unnecessary documents. After you file your tax return, take some time to clean out your files. See Toss Paper Files You Don't Need to learn which documents you can trash and which you should keep. So the paper won't pile up again during the year, consider creating a digital archive of tax documents.

Freshen up your insurance coverage. While you're digging through old documents, pull out your insurance policies to review your coverage. You might have gaps that you need to fill -- such as not enough liability coverage (see Why You Should Have Umbrella Liability Insurance) or no flood or earthquake protection (see What Disasters Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover?). You might also need to update policies if you've had any life changes. And you can look for ways to cut premiums by raising your deductibles, for example. See Reshop Your Insurance in 2012 for more information.

Tidy your credit report. If you haven't checked your credit history lately, find time to do it. Mistakes on your credit report may be hurting your ability to borrow money or get new credit. It's free and easy to request your report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Clean out your portfolio. Once a year you should rebalance your portfolio by buying and selling assets to maintain the right mix for your needs. For help doing this, see How to Rebalance Your Portfolio. And see How to Build a Better Portfolio for three example portfolios.

Plug leaks in your budget. Whether you want to find more cash in your budget to stash in savings, pay off debt or set aside for a rainy day, you need to start by tracking your expenses. Once you know where your money is going, you'll be able to find ways to cut back. Use our budgeting worksheet to get on top of monthly expenditures. Then see 10 Tips to Build -- and Stick to -- a Better Budget to understand where, when and how you're spending your money.

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