With absolutely gorgeous weather (at least here in AZ!) and flowers blooming everywhere, Spring Cleaning is definitely in the air. Instead of a traditional approach, however, let’s put a new shine on Spring Cleaning and clean out finances! Together we’ll throw away bad spending habits, dust off money saving ideas, and declutter debt.
It doesn’t take much for a budget to get cluttered with bills and jam-packed with excessive spending, but armed with the right cleaning tools, progress can be made rather quickly. Sharpen your pencil, have your calculator ready, and get your Financial Spring Cleaning muscle ready to go.
10 Tips for Financial Spring Cleaning
1. Track the Spending Trail – Keep track of EVERYTHING you spend money on for one week. Each pack of gum, latte, or fast food lunch needs to be accounted for. The results may shock you, but being armed with this insight will allow you to make effective and necessary adjustments. Try it once and you’ll see what I mean.
2. Create or Revise Your Budget – You’ve GOT TO KNOW how much money is coming in versus what is going out to stand a chance in managing your finances with any degree of accuracy and success. We highly encourage you to take a look at the mock budget we’ve created in Declutter Now!. It’s a great tool to help you start a budget, or perhaps, improve the one you already have. Also, check out Dave Ramsey’s online budgeting tool, everydollar.com. It’s free and super user-friendly.
3. Step Up Your Savings – Whatever you are doing, do more! No matter how much or how little you have to save, something is better than nothing. And as your financial situation improves, consistently step-up your savings account.
4. Credit Cards – Credit cards be gone – FOREVER! These are good for nothing more than paying off. No discussion. If you already have cards with balances, look into balance transfer options for low or no interest rates. After you transfer the balance, close the initial account AND cut up the new card as well. Your sole objective and focus is to pay off the debt without delay. Getting out from under the bondage of this stronghold is much more than a dollars and cents issue. It requires a mindset and behavior change.
5. Practice Intentional Spending – Don’t carry around large wads of cash and don’t use your debit card for purchases that aren’t already accounted for in your budget. This is a foolproof way to curb spending. Stick to your budget. Revise it as needed, but don’t stray mid-month because of an impulse issue.
6. Stretch the Stretchable – It’s incredibly easy nowadays to coupon. Newspapers are loaded with coupons and many can be found online. Some stores even link their coupons to your shopper’s card, so with one swipe, savings are automatic. Treat coupons like the cash they are. Do you want that money in your pocket or in the retailer’s? Oh, and when grocery shopping, DON’T SHOP HUNGRY!
7. Lunches – Skip eating out every day and pack a sack lunch. It’s generally healthier and more nutritious anyway!
8. Movies – A movie ‘in’ with the fam can be so much more relaxing and fun, never mind WAY CHEAPER – AND you can hit the pause button!
9. Books – Love to read? Have you been to your local library lately? If not, time to go! Even with the ebook trend, I’m still a fan of holding a book as I read it. That being said, ebooks tend to be FAR less expensive than paper or hard back books, so consider which titles might be suitable for an ebook read.
10. Plan, Plan, Plan – If you’re married, have a set dollar limit that each of you are allowed to spend without consulting the other. Anything above and beyond that amount must be discussed first. For larger purchases, have a predetermined ‘waiting period’ that you both must submit to in order to avoid impulse spending. You’ll be amazed at how many ‘desires’ fizzle out when you take a step back and remove the self-imposed urgency.
Lastly, check out the book review we did on MORE MONEY in Tough Times: Discover the $10,000 You Never Knew You Had by clicking here. Tom & Lindy Schneider are the Money Archaeologists and you are going to love this book!
What are the consequences if you don’t turn things around? Piles of debt and loads of stress which create fewer choices and less joy. YUCK!
How about the benefits? Freedom baby! Bathe in the peace of mind that comes from responsible living and God-honoring obedience. Enjoy the ability to do more with what you have.
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Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get down to some deep Financial Spring Cleaning? It’s time for a fresh, sparkling clean, totally decluttered budget and polished financial plan.
Overwhelmed? Stuck? Contact us for information about our Life Coaching Ministry by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help!