Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Finances
Spring is officially in full swing. This usually means spring cleaning the house, but this is also the perfect time to take a deep dive into your finances. While you're cleaning the cobwebs in the corner of your formal living room, don't forget to break out your financial dustpan and clean up your budget as well. Here are some easy ways to help you breathe easier® about spring cleaning your finances:
- Call the customer retention department of your cable (does anyone even have cable anymore?), internet, and phone companies to request a lower rate. Why is it only new customers get introductory deals while the loyal customers pay more out of pocket?
- Get a list of your subscription services that auto-pay. There's a good chance there are some you can reevaluate!
- Take a closer look at your monthly budget. Make it easier on yourself by utilizing a tool like Mint.com. At oXYGen Financial, we have a personal financial dashboard that links in all of your accounts, so you can see all of your transactions at once. This shows you concrete numbers on how much you are spending on food, gas, entertainment, etc. per month.
- Look at your property & casualty insurance and health insurance to see if you can afford to raise your deductibles which should lower your premiums.
- Implement the 50/20/30 rule. Automatically put 20% into savings, 50% is your fixed expenses (utilities, cell phone, etc.), and 30% is for fun. You won't feel guilty about the money you do spend if it's planned for.
- Combine your home and finance cleaning into one task. Sell your old electronics, furniture, clothes on Craigslist, eBay, or Etsy and recover some of your initial costs - you'd be surprised what people will buy! What you can't sell, donate to a charitable organization. Make sure you keep your receipts from donations in case you decide to claim a tax deduction for charitable giving.
- Set and track your financial goals for the remainder of the year. Spring cleaning your budget is a perfect opportunity to evaluate your spending, savings, and investments to put yourself on track for hitting your short-term targets for the end of this year. Make sure to set up a meeting with your Private CFO® to make sure you're sticking to a plan for success!
The key to budgets is to think about them as a way to help you become financially free instead of being restrictive to your lifestyle. If you take on this mindset, it will be easier to cut out wasteful spending and save more.