After You Spring Clean Your Home, Check Your Pocket Too

In times of economic uncertainty, everyone tends to second guess their spending. Impulse purchases are questioned and bargains are sought on everything. Food, clothes, and even gas which is expected to top $4.00 a gallon by summer, are all among the first targets; primarily because these are all things that will have an immediate impact on a budget. While, I encourage cutting back on these type of expenses whenever possible, there is another area in our lives that we tend to neglect because the result isn’t realized immediately. This is our bank account. So with the entry of spring, as you begin to declutter and spruce up your home, take some time to spring clean your finances by looking into the benefits that you are getting from maintaining checking and savings accounts with your bank.

How long have you been banking with the same financial institution? Eight, nine, may be fifteen years. When was the last time you compared rates to see if you are getting a decent return for allowing that bank to hold your money? If it has been a while, now is the perfect time to shop around for a better deal. Bankrate.com offers an easy to use compare rate feature that will allow you to compare rates on everything from home equity loans to mortgages to checking accounts.

For those of you with interest earning checking and savings accounts, has the rate changed with the frequent lowering of interest rates by the Federal Reserve? Even if you decide to remain with the same bank, this spring cleaning/comparing exercise will make you aware of the interest rate, after which you should commit to checking back every month or two to see if it has changed.

If you have a free checking account, look into upgrading to an interest earning checking account. While some banks require you to maintain a minimum balance or pay a fee to keep this type of account open, there are some that don’t. Isn’t that great! While some of you may feel loyal to your current bank, features like that make it worth your while to switch. If they were in your shoes, they would do it.

Now I am not suggesting that you bank hop every time you see a higher interest rate, but I am suggesting that you keep yourself abreast of what you are earning. I know that not everyone enjoys reading the latest financial news, in fact these days it can be particularly nerve wrecking, but you can also stay on top of the going rates for interest earning accounts and financial securities by reading the financial ads in your favorite magazines and major newspapers. That’s how I learned about an incredible deal from a credit union that I am eligible to join. And yes, I did join.

April is Financial Literacy Month and it is important more than ever that we stay on top of our money. Have you ever heard, “earn money while you are asleep”? Switching to a higher yielding bank account will certainly allow you to do that. So educate yourself, compare rates, and make a decision. Then take some more time over the next 30 days to learn something that you don’t know, that you’ve always wanted to know to help you improve your financial situation.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA author and editor of Family Finance, is based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.
Michelle Sharrow
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2018/09/payment-3411414_1280-1024x682.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2018/09/payment-3411414_1280-150x150.jpgMichelle SharrowFamily FinanceAfter You Spring Clean Your Home, Check Your Pocket Too By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBAIn times of economic uncertainty, everyone tends to second guess their spending. Impulse purchases are questioned and bargains are sought on everything. Food, clothes, and even gas which...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids