By Samantha Stein

Summer is officially here, and it’s the best time to tidy up your homes and even your finances. The timing of sprucing up your finances is perfect since you’re just a few months away when the year started. You can use this time to revisit your goals and check what’s working right for you and what’s not and make the necessary changes.

Here are some tips and little changes that can put your financial life in order, can help you save more money and can give you a more comfortable retirement.

Review your budget

Having a realistic budget is the core of a successful financial plan. It’s not fun and easy when you’re starting but you’ll get the hang of it as you go along and following your spending limits. Whether it’s setting aside your money for emergency funds, vacations or your usual monthly expenses, budgeting allows us to handle our money wisely.

Negotiate credit card interests

Did you know that you could request to lower your credit card interest rate? Yes, you can! You’re welcome.

If you’ve been paying your credit card bills on time and you’ve been using the card for a couple of years already, you should be able to lower your interest rate.  Bringing your interest rate down from 20% to 16% or 14% can have a significant impact on your finances in the long run.

You’re not sure how to do it?

Keep things simple by letting the credit card company know that you want to make sure that you have the lowest rate possible. If not then say that you may consider looking for alternatives. Don’t worry because light threats will not backfire. Credit card companies usually do what they can to make you stay.

Review insurance policies

Insurance policies and investments are usually the things people run on autopilot. This is the common practice of most people, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right and you should follow suit.

As you grow older, your insurance needs change. When was the last time you checked on your health, disability, life and long term care insurance without assessing your needs first? Make time to review your insurance plans to make sure that they can still cover your future needs.

Another factor you need to consider is the price of your insurance policies. Are the premiums still reasonable? If not, it’s time to consider making adjustments to your policies like decreasing your benefit amount, increasing your elimination period and making changes to other policy features.

Reviewing your insurance policies can help lower your monthly premiums, which can free up more money that you can use in other ways.

Boost retirement contributions

It doesn’t have to be maxing out your 401k contributions. Revisit your contributions first and see if you can manage to shell out more money than your usual contribution. An increase of 1% or 2% will come a long way if you start today. It’s small enough to make a dent in your take-home pay.

If it does not make you squirm at the thought of putting more money into your savings plan, then do it. You may not reap its rewards now, but you’ll be thankful that you bumped up your contributions come retirement.

De-clutter financial documents

It’s time to sort and shred documents if they date back ages ago. You should start by determining what documents you need to hold on to and what documents you can shred and throw.

Not sure how long you can keep your documents?

You can keep your tax return for at least seven years after you file the return according to the IRS. Check your tax files, shred old documents and assemble a simple yet effective filing system that can help organize your tax returns and other financial documents.

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for Association for Long Term Care Planning (ALTCP). Her works focus on long term care information that covers long term care insurance, financial planning, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

Bucket stock photo by Lightboxx/Shutterstock