“Spring cleaning” your finances

(CNN) – Whether you got a big tax refund or paid Uncle Sam, spring can provide a great opportunity to get savings and spending back on track for the remainder of the year.

After sending off a tax return, the last thing many Americans feel like doing is crunching more numbers. But having financial information at hand may be the best time to do some spring cleaning.

“It’s a good time not only to spruce up your house, but also to tidy up your personal finances you start this new quarter with a fresh start,” said personal finance expert Vera Gibbons.

Gibbons says a common obstacle to money management is also one of the easiest to overcome.

“So many people have no idea what money is coming in the door and what money is actually going out the door, and you can’t begin to manage your finances, unless you have this basic stuff down,” said Gibbons.

After a budget, tidy up a credit report. Look for any mistakes or accounts that could be fraudulent, and also look for areas you can improve, like high balances or delinquent accounts and un-clutter your system for paying credit card, utility, mortgage bills and more.

Gibbons said, “Create an online calendar on Google for example, that way you’re sent automatic reminders as to when those bills are actually due, so you won’t be hit with late fees, no penalties, and no credit score consequences.”

This is also a chance to take inventory of auto-pay options for subscriptions and other items you simply may have forgotten about, and might want to clean out of your budget.

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