It’s easy to get so caught up in looking for new ways to make or save money that we neglect our regular financial chores. But taking care of the money you already have can prevent some losses and can help you form good habits so that it’s not so hard to reduce spending when necessary. Here are just a few financial chores that you should not overlook:
Cash your checks. I was shocked when I heard a human resource director say that one of her organization’s employees had not been cashing paychecks on time. Most checks are good only for a certain period of time (usually 90 days), and not only does failing to cash your checks cost you money but it also creates accounting problems for the person or organization who wrote the check.
Balance your checkbook. Even those who are faithful in writing down every transaction can make simple mathematical errors; be sure your account records match the statements you receive in the mail. It’s easy to bounce a check and pay overdraft fees when your records are off in even one column.
Match receipts to credit card and bank statements. A few months ago, I found a $100 withdrawal on my bank statement for which I had no withdrawal slip. It turned out to be the bank’s error. Had I not bothered to check the receipts against the statement, I might have assumed I had withdrawn $100 and forgotten to write it down.
Count your change. If you pay in cash, be sure you get the correct change. Count the change immediately, before putting it in your pocket or purse, so that you can prove that the amount was wrong without having to wait for the store to close its registers.
Use your coins. Whether you spend them by giving exact change or collect them and deposit them, don’t let them sit around your house too long. Some friends of my niece found more than $1,000 in change scattered around the house when they packed up their belongings to move. That money could have been making interest for them.
Mark CD rollover dates on your calendar. If you own CDs or any other type of investment that needs to be renewed, be sure to read the fine print and cash in the investment before it is automatically rolled over for a longer term than you wanted. Cashing in these investments at the appropriate time ensures you get their full value and helps you avoid any early withdrawal penalties from automatic rollovers.
Pay your bills on time. Save on late fees and keep your credit score high. If you expect to be unable to pay the full bill, call the company and try to work out payment arrangements before the due date.
Clip coupons immediately. Some coupons have very short expiration dates. If you use coupons, be sure to clip them as soon as you can and organize them in some sort of container or folder so that you will be able to find them when you need them. (I organize coupons in an index card box, sorted by type of product and chronologically within categories so that I can easily pull expired coupons from the front of each section.)
Submit rebate forms as soon as possible. Companies that offer rebates count on some people forgetting to submit them. Don’t miss out on getting your money back.
Don’t neglect the basics! Even the most beautiful people in the world still have to brush their teeth and take showers. I suspect that most millionaires would tell you that they made these financial chores a priority while they were accumulating their wealth; many of them still do these things themselves.
Image courtesy of beanie’s mama