3/11/2019 2:00:00 PM | Money Matters

Give Your Finances a Spring Refresh

If you’ve ever picked up a home and garden magazine or vegged out on an hour of HGTV (and, honestly, who hasn’t?) you’ve likely seen how a fresh coat of paint or some new throw pillows can easily make a home feel like new.

The same is true with finances, and spring is a perfect time for a refresh. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing thoughts, tips and advice for springing forward this season. To kick things off, here are some easy and impactful ways to refresh your financial life and make it feel like new.

Watch the road ahead:  You’re getting your oil changed and – surprise – the mechanic says you need new tires.

Building up a rainy day fund is a smart way to cover emergency expenses. But what about “predictable emergencies”? Unlike a sudden trip to the ER or fender bender, these are expenses you can plan for, but if you don’t they hit you like an emergency. Those tires were good for a certain number of miles, so you can guess when you’ll need new ones – and save up little by little to be prepared. The same is true for laptops, water heaters, and all kinds of expenses.

That’s why it’s good to look for a checking account, like some of Umpqua’s checking accounts, that come with a complimentary savings account. Then set up small automatic transfers in online banking to remove the element of surprise.

Netflix and cancel: Take stock of how much you use your subscriptions, from newspapers and magazines to streaming services. Cut out the ones you haven’t been using. You can always re-subscribe. These small subscriptions can really add up – just ask Rachel from Umpqua’s home lending team, who made small changes like these to save up for a down payment on a first home.

Get right with the taxman: Did you get a big tax refund this year or owe a hefty amount? It might be time to update your W-4, which sets how much of your paycheck is withheld for taxes. You can do your own "paycheck checkup" through your company’s HR department, giving you more control over your finances. The IRS has a withholding calculator, which has been updated after the big new tax law, to help you figure out whether to make a change.

Free money, get your free money here!  We said it once before but it bears repeating, now: Many employers offer to match some of your 401(k) contributions, which is essentially free money. Ask your company’s HR department for details.