Today marks the first day of spring and when you’re cleaning out your closet, I recommend everyone takes some time to start simplifying your finances. Reducing financial clutter – whether that’s unwanted fees or extra paperwork – can save you time and money. And when the warm weather beckons, who doesn’t want to have more free time?
1. Reorganize your wallet and reconsider your credit card options, and you could never pay a late fee again. Even after making your financial New Year resolutions, do you still miss payment deadlines every once in a while? If so, it’s time to re-evaluate the credit cards in your wallet and look for one that will help you say goodbye to late fees. Citi Simplicity has NO late fees and NO penalty rate – EVER; you can learn more at citi.com/simplicity. When you consider late fees start at $15 and can go up to $35, these fees can really add up.
2. Reduce your clutter and take the work out of managing your bills. There are simple, easy ways that you can stay organized, reduce paper clutter, and save time (and not to mention trees!). Online tools like from your bank or sites like Mint.com and Manilla can help you keep all of your finances organized and in one place. Many banks also offer the ability to manage your accounts via your tablet and deposit a check with your mobile phone.
3. Use rewards to your advantage. According to the 2011 Colloquy Loyalty Census, more than $16 billion in reward points go unused each year. So, it’s extremely important to review your financial statements and look over your credit card rewards to map out a strategy to use them this year! There’s no shortage of great options to use your reward points these days, from travel to electronics. If you are a Citi ThankYou Rewards member you can even use your ThankYou Points for concert tickets on Livenation.com and if you have a Citi credit card that earns ThankYou Points, you can use your points for purchases at Amazon.com.
4. Sell valuables that are collecting dust. Ever wonder what to do with electronics that you never touch anymore? Or old jewelry that’s no longer your style and has no sentimental value? With gold at record levels, it’s a good time to cash out and sell. And, what about those gift cards that you have no intention of ever using? You can sell those too and get up to 90% of the full value, depending on the popularity of the merchant on designated gift cards sites. Or you can just sell them on eBay or Craigslist and avoid the middleman altogether!
5. Unlock your safe deposit box for unredeemed bonds. Did you know that we’re sitting on $16 billion in unredeemed bonds, according to the U.S. Treasury Department? Bonds that have matured are no longer earning interest. To see what they’re worth – and to redeem them – go to www.treasurydirect.gov.
6. Take a look through your file cabinets! With tax day quickly approaching, and all the relevant forms coming in, we all get bogged down with paperwork. And being disorganized is not a good thing! Go through your file cabinets and get rid of what you can – statement fillers, receipts for everyday purchases you don’t anticipate returning, bank deposit slips, ATM receipts once you’ve checked against your monthly statements, old cancelled checks and registers (unless you need them for tax purposes). Remember to keep the more important documents in a safe place including tax records, which should be kept for 3-7 years, and of course, things like birth/death certificates, marriage/divorce papers, and social security cards that you need to keep forever.
7. Use a price protection program that helps you save all year long. Many of us spend a lot of our own precious time researching the best available prices before we make a purchase. So, now is a great time to evaluate and use tools that do price comparison shopping for you, even after you purchase an item. Citi Price Rewind searches for a lower price when you buy and register an eligible item with your Citi credit card. If Citi finds your item at least $25 lower than what you paid within 30 days of purchase, you can get the difference in price back, up to $250.