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Financial Spring Cleaning

With the arrival of spring comes spring cleaning, and here’s a very important item to add to the list: organizing your finances. Spring is the season of renewal and when it comes to your finances, it’s the perfect chance to tidy up your spending habits and balance your budget.

Here are six tips to help organize your budget this spring, setting you up for sunny financial days the rest of the year.

• Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or became a new homeowner or renter, it’s time to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving, and stick to it.

• Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at what you owe and what you are paying in interest. Start paying off existing debt, either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.

• Set up automatic bill pay. By paying recurring bills automatically on the same day each month, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. With online banking, you can plan out your automatic payments to ensure your checking account has an adequate amount of funds when the payments are scheduled to be withdrawn.

• Save for emergencies. Nearly 40 percent of Americans are positioned to cover a $400 emergency expense. Prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Ideally, it should hold about three to six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing a job or having to replace a car.

• Go digital. Converting to paperless billing with a checking account will help keep your house — physical and financial — more clean and organized, and help protect you from fraud. Use our mobile app to check your balance, pay bills, transfer funds, deposit a check and create spending controls.

• Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score, which could prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher interest rate.

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