Back to School shopping has ended and Christmas shopping hasn’t begun so there is plenty of time to do a little “financial cleansing”.
Why? Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to stop and think about how and what you spend your paycheck on and maybe do a little “resetting” for your finances. Me and the team have tracked down some great ideas that you can do right now to put more money in your pocket.
- Track what you spend. While it may sound tedious, start by monitoring your spending. This will help you see where your money is going and to pinpoint any “money pits,” areas in your budget where you’re spending too much. These days, there are plenty of great budgeting apps at your disposal to make it easy. While tracking your spending gives you information on your spending woes and saving wins, it’s putting the work into changing your habits so you become a successful saver that makes the ultimate difference.
- Know what you actually have. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t go grocery shopping without a list, why would you spend randomly online if you don’t either? While taking inventory of your possessions, use it as an opportunity to do some decluttering. It’s a great way to see firsthand how much stuff you end up not using and can stop you from buying stuff you don’t need. A great rule of thumb for many items is if you haven’t used it in the last six months, get rid of it. And guess what? You can likely sell some of those items on Ebay and pocket a little extra cash! Whatever you do, make sure you get rid of stuff shortly after you’ve decided to toss or donate it. Otherwise you may find yourself having second thoughts.
- Go on a digital cleanse. The Internet can be a huge gateway to impulse shopping. Sometimes all it takes is an email notification to pop up about a flash sale to trigger an impulse buy. To curb buying things you don’t need, unsubscribe from your favorite stores’ email newsletters and unfollowing them on social media. Be sure to also unsubscribe from lifestyle blogs, as they can also create unnecessary material wants.
- Remember the frivolous stuff. Everyone has bought something dumb. Remember Fidget Spinners and Pokémon Go? How about creating a list of recent purchases you regret. Keeping this list in your wallet or on your phone to serve as a reminder will help you from continuing the same habits.
It’ll also help give some insight to when you made emotional purchases and impulse buys. Were there certain times during the past year where you were going through a difficult time in your life, such as stress on the job or a bad breakup, and splurged to boost your mood? Or maybe you tend to fall prey to super sales? By pinpointing circumstances that caused you to make these purchases, you may think twice the next time.
- Stop spending for one week. To help you change your bad money habits, you can go on a “fiscal fast,” which is when you stop spending money for a week. This forces you to make do with items you already have in your home. You can turn it into a group event, where you do it with your family, friends, or co-workers.
Once you’ve completed your fiscal fast, you may find out that there’s a lot you can do without. It can also help you realize that a lot of the times we may spend out of habit and not from necessity. You can do this once or twice a year for a week or commit to a longer amount of time
Going on a financial cleanse will help you develop a better relationship with your money and develop saving habits. By going through a cleanse, it will put you back the driver’s seat so you can take control of your finances. At the same time, don’t be afraid to look at the “big picture” items, too. Is it time to downsize the car payment? Refinance the house? Pay off the lingering effects of a credit card balance? With the time you’ve saved in your own personal cleanse, you can investigate the bigger financial questions, too and when you need answers to some of those, we’re ready to help you find them!