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Perform a Spring Financial Audit

Kyle James

As you do your spring cleaning this year, consider a simultaneous financial audit. By analyzing where your money goes every month, you can easily start removing the waste and putting the extra money into your savings or retirement accounts. Here are some tips to get your spring financial audit rolling in the right direction:

Analyze your auto insurance policy. Take a look at your car insurance and shop around for a better rate. Possible savings you may be overlooking include loyalty discounts and "good driver" discounts. Also, consider removing collision insurance on any vehicles which you own outright. To determine if this is a good option for you, subtract your collision deductible from the current value of your vehicle. The number you get is the amount your insurance company will pay you if your vehicle is involved in an accident and is a total loss. When your annual premium for carrying collision insurance is greater than 10 percent of this number, consider ditching the collision coverage.

Stop paying for premium cable (or lower the bill). While this piece of advice is fairly straightforward, there is a way to keep premium cable and also pay less. Consider calling your cable or satellite company and threaten to switch services to a competitor and see what they will offer to keep you as a customer. There is a chance they'll offer free movies channels and up to $15 off your monthly bill for 8 to 12 months. If they won't offer you any savings, consider cheaper alternatives like Hulu Plus and Netflix streaming, both of which offer subscription plans under $10 a month.

Pay bills online. If you are not already paying bills online, you need to start now. If you pay 12 bills per month with online bill pay, you'll save more than $65 on postage annually. Not only do you save money on stamps, but also time. You can sit down at the computer and pay 10 bills in a matter of minutes-it's an easy money saver. .

Lower your energy bill. With spring weather comes rising temperatures, which make it a great time to explore ways to lower your energy bill. The repeated advice of servicing your air-conditioning unit, replacing air filters, closing blinds and drapes during daylight hours and using ceiling fans all still apply. However, a tip that often gets overlooked is checking your exterior doors and windows for proper weather stripping, making sure you have no visible gaps.

Additionally, consider a programmable thermostat if you don't already have one. In the warmer months, they allow you to set your home temperature at a slightly warmer degree when you are not home, resulting in substantial savings. A common misconception is you'll lose your energy savings when trying to cool the house back down after you get home; according to a study from Energy.gov, this is simply not the case. By keeping your home at a slightly higher temperature while you are not home will actually slow the flow of heat into your house-saving you energy all summer long.

Take your spring cleaning one step further this year and clean out the places in your life where you are wasting money. By performing a financial audit and cutting costs, you can become empowered to make changes and find creative ways to save throughout the year.

Kyle James operates an online coupon site called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which lists home improvement coupons to retailers like The Home Depot and Lowe's that can help you prepare your home for the hot summer months.

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