|Springtime brings better weather and more daylight, all of which is great ó except that it also means itís time to move our clocks forward for daylight saving time. When is daylight saving time, again? Sooner than youíd like; clocks will be set forward at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9.
So, for at least 23 hours this Sunday, when you feel like you could use just one more hour in the day ó youíre actually right!
An hour might not seem like a lot of time, but the truth is you can actually accomplish a fair amount in 60 minutes, especially when it comes to fine-tuning your finances. In honor of daylight saving time 2014, here are a few simple things you can do in the course of an hour that can help you get your finances organized and save money.
1. Take stock of your net worth
Itís hard to figure out where youíre going financially, and how youíll get there, if you donít know where to start. Fill out a simple spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Docs (or just write it out with the help of a calculator) that calculates your assets (things of value that you own, from cash and investments, to cars, to home equity and valuables) and your liabilities (debts you owe to others).
This will tell you your net worth; and, by updating it each month (which shouldnít take long), youíll be able to see what kind of forward progress youíre making.
2. Automate everything
The great thing about automating your finances is that you invest some time to do it once and then get to enjoy the benefits for a long time. Log into your accounts and set up automatic payments and withdrawals based on your paycheck.
Plus, there are a lot of other advantages to putting your money on auto-pilot. Youíll be less likely to miss paying a bill on time and youíll also be able to save more, as itís less tempting to spend cash thatís automatically being siphoned off into a savings or retirement account.
Donít feel comfortable with auto-pay? Get automatic bill pay reminders from account management service Manilla.com, which will tell you when your bills are due so youíll never have to pay late fees.
3. Fill out a new W-4 form
Are you finding yourself either overpaying or underpaying quite a bit for taxes?
If so, youíre either giving the government an interest-free loan or running the risk of having to pay an underpayment penalty. The good news is that most people can easily fix this mistake by updating their W-4 form at work to better reflect their filing situation.
Use the IRSí withholding calculator to figure out your expected refund for 2014 (which youíll get when you file next year) and youíll receive advice on how to update your tax forms at work so that your employer withholds an amount closer to your proper tax obligation.
The above steps wonít necessarily revolutionize your money management skills, but they are a few simple ways to make a big difference in your finances in a short amount of time during daylight saving time.
Kate Furlong is a financial contributor to The Manilla Folder at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that helps you simplify and organize your daily life. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, and more ó all through Manilla.com or the top-rated iOS and mobile apps.