In January and February, we talked about getting organized with your expenses and setting some financial goals for yourself. I discussed the importance of keeping track of your expenses and setting up a monthly budget. Hopefully, you are now getting a better idea of where your money is going and are starting to feel more on top of your financial life. Perhaps this has lead you to make some changes in what you are spending your money on and how much is going out each month. If that is the case, good for you, you are on your way!
Now that winter is over and you are feeling more energetic and ready to give your house a good cleaning and get out there and clean up your yard to make way for the beautiful spring growth and flowers, you can also do some spring cleaning of your finances. Just as you declutter your house of unwanted extra stuff for a more peaceful environment and clean up all that yard debris for a tidier look, you can also take a look at your finances to clear out those unnecessary expenses that are keeping you from reaching your savings goals and from the peace of mind of living below your means.
Once you are organized and are keeping track of your expenses, then you can begin to go over them with a fine tooth comb and start eliminating the financial clutter. Simplify your spending! There are probably at least a few things that you have gotten into the habit of buying that you can do without. And there are probably a few things that you are spending more money on than is necessary. How quickly or gradually you go about this financial downsizing is entirely up to you. Maybe you are the type that likes to get used to things slowly, and form new habits one at a time before making the next change, or maybe you like to see the rapid results of all that “found” money you can have (to pay off debts or start saving money more quickly) when you really pare down your budget all at once. Proceed at your own style and pace.
Eliminating a few (or more than a few) daily or weekly expenses can really add up to big savings. Here are a few examples of how small savings can add up:
But don’t overlook those big (typically monthly) expenses too. Take a look at your phone plan, your utility usage and company, TV and internet providers, car/homeowners insurance. Shop around to see if you can get a better deal. Sometimes all it takes is the threat of moving on to spur your present company to offer you a sweeter deal. Even think about your mortgage or rent payments. Can you downsize? Refinance? Get a roommate?
Once you eliminate a lot of that spending clutter your psyche will feel lighter, and your wallet and bank account will now be able to grow and thrive like those beautiful spring flowers.
It’s a good deal all around. Give it a try!