Spring clean your finances

Woman going over home finances

Spring is in the air — and we thought it’d be a good idea to not only spring clean your house, but also your finances. What a perfect time to get your house, money and budget in order, for good!

Get your money cleaned up

Finances. Money. Budget. Savings. These are all words we cringe at but know they’re essential to our lives. Our finances and money allow us to provide for ourselves and our children, our budget keeps our spending in check and our savings help us prepare for the future. While in the spring cleaning mode (and with tax season right around the corner), let’s get our finances in order along with our kitchen pantry, hallway closet and guest bathroom. After all, our money situation is way more important than a clean house, so here’s to spring cleaning our finances!

Track spending for one month

Before you can get your finances in order, you need to know where exactly your money is going. We challenge you to keep track of your money coming in versus your money going out for one month. Make a simple Excel spreadsheet, leaving the top 5 rows for incoming money and the rest of the rows for outgoing money. This includes bills, credit card payments, gas, trips to the grocery store, fun money, trips to Starbucks and anything and everything in between. If you spend, record it. It’s as simple as that. No need for anything fancy — just record it.

View the results

Are you spending more than you’re making each month? Or are you making more than you’re spending? Hopefully, you’re making more than you’re spending. If not, some adjustments need to be made. It’s vital to save every month, and it’s possible for every income. Some tips for learning to save money include:

  • Switching to less-expensive cell phone and cable/internet plans
  • Buying generic food and cleaning products when possible
  • Asking credit card companies to lower your interest rates (it works!)
  • Treat savings as a bill and pay yourself first

Click here for 10 Easy, everyday ways you can save money >>

Look at places you can cut back

Even if you’re saving money each month, it’s important to be aware of how much you’re spending so you can pinpoint any areas in which you could cut back. Let’s face it — we can all cut back. If you spend a lot on work lunches, commit to bringing your lunch once per week. If you find a good chunk of your money is going to hair and nail salons, take out a trip or two per month. Do you go to Starbucks every morning? Downsize your drink or only go three times per week instead of five. The little things do add up — and you’ll sleep better and be happier knowing you’re saving more!

Go through all financial documents and paperwork

box of receipts

This one could take some time, but it goes hand-in-hand with spring cleaning your house. Sort out all of your financial documents — including bills, pay stubs, credit card statements, tax returns, insurance policies, deeds and investment statements. Anything that’s old or no longer necessary, shred. For the remaining documents, purchase a file cabinet or file box to keep everything organized. Now, whenever you need to access an important document, you’ll know just where to go.

Do this every year. Spring cleaning is no longer just about deep-cleaning your home, it’s about getting down and dirty with your finances!

Tell us

Do you have any tips for cleaning up your finances or saving money? Share in the comments below!

More on finances

Secrets of successful home budgets
Financial records: What to save and what to toss
5 Great budgeting apps

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Comments

Comments on "Spring clean your finances"

Hannah March 16, 2013 | 3:00 PM

Loved this!! It's so important to get our finances in order along with our houses when we spring clean. To save money, we try to not go out to eat all the time and do fun, cheaper things around the city as a family.

Stacey March 16, 2013 | 2:47 PM

I'm a firm believer in the idea that financial security is always more about what you spend than what you make. If people could make a conscious decision to always live within their means this country would be sooo much better off...

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