Spring-cleaning means more than just lightening your closets and wiping down window sills – it means taking a look at your finances and clearing away those items that are holding you back from being as financially stable as you’d like to be. Certainly there are subscriptions you acquired or memberships you took up that you didn’t get as much use out of as you thought. Now is the time to take a good hard look at these expenses and decide if they are necessary.
Obviously there is not a single task list that applies to everyone, but for some guidance on how to spring-clean your finances, check these out:
Review your budget
Take a look at how you spent money during the winter to find areas for improvement. While you paid additional for items like heating and you think these expenses won’t be included in the spring or summer budget, these warm months have expenses unique from other seasons. When the sun comes out, it is easier to walk to your favorite restaurant or find a beer garden, not to mention the family vacation.
According to Reliance Bank, it is important to not only eliminate expenses you find to be not worth it, but also apply this attitude to similar expenses going forward. After all, what is the point of eliminating these expenses from your budget if you are going to find new items to fill it up with? The point of shedding your budget down is to keep it down, not build it back up in a new way.
Eliminate unnecessary cards
“Discount or not, spending is spending.”
If you are like most people, you have a collection of credit cards in your wallet from various stores or food establishments. These are seen as efficient because they make it so you can shop easily without always having to pay for items on the spot, but this is not a good habit to get into. When spring-cleaning, go through your collection of cards and remove those that are causing you to spend more than you should, as noted by freecreditscore.com.
Maybe you rely on your Starbucks card every day, keep eating at the local sandwich place because if you buy 10 items then the 11th is free or perhaps you just can’t get enough of the discounts your department store membership card provides you. The truth is, if you left these all at home, then you would be less likely to go into these stores at all. This doesn’t mean you have to throw the cards away, but save them for when they are necessary. If they are just always in your purse or wallet, you may use them, and discount or not, spending is spending.
Stop carrying so much cash
Cash is easy to spend, which is why you should only carry a small amount with you. If you get in the habit of only taking a little bit wherever you go, you can also get into the habit of only spending that much. Sure, there is nothing stopping you from using your credit card if you want, but have some restraint and limit yourself to a certain amount of cash for the week. Use your credit card for bigger purchases, or items for which you’ll receive rewards back. But when it comes to cash, Dominion Credit Union recommended a good rule is to carry only as much as you are willing to lose.
Apply spring-cleaning to all aspects of your life, including your wallet, and take the spring and summer on with a clean slate and attitude.