Mention the word money and you’ll evoke a different emotional response in everyone that you speak to. If you’ve been conditioned to believe that enough is always out of reach, it’ll spur a burst of anxiety. If you grew up experiencing nothing but abundance, it’ll feel like a positive topic of discussion.
Today we’re discussing 10 concrete steps to spring cleaning your finances and invite financial abundance. These are tips that can be adopted by anyone and everyone, but are specifically aimed at those who fall into the category of ‘the struggle is real‘. The aim is to kick-start a shift in your thinking from one of, ‘Never have enough. Life is hard. *sad face*‘ to ‘OK, if I do this, this and this, I can save up for that one thing I really want *gears start turning*’
At its most basic level, money is tangible energy. It was created so that we wouldn’t have to rely on trading goods and services with each other. It’s a universal currency that we can earn and spend on things that we want. Another useful concept to ponder is that what you spend on is what you’re giving your energy to. To explain it slightly differently, what will you have to show years down the line for a lifetime of work? A bounty of enriching experiences? Or material possessions that sat unused and collecting dust?
It’s March, so what better time to tackle your finances than while you’re already in full spring cleaning mode? Welcome to the financial reset.
10 Steps to Financial Abundance
Piggybanking your accounts is a useful tip I learned from a financial expert some time ago. Essentially, it means setting up multiple accounts for different kinds of expenditure and putting money into them each time you get paid. Rather than having one pot for all spending to come out of, allocate some of your paycheck to each of your different funds, watch them grow, then spend the money without it feeling like your bank account has taken a huge blow. These piggies commonly include: Travel Fund, House Deposit Fund, New Car Fund, Christmas Fund, Emergency Fund etc. But adapt them to suit you and your lifestyle. ‘Feed’ the piggies by standing order every month the day after you get paid and you won’t even see the money to be able to devilishly fantasize about spending it.
Withdraw the cash for your biggest expenditure at the start of each month. For me, it’s food. I’m totally guilty of shopping for food almost every day, spending more than I’ve budgeted for and then feeding myself the excuse that, ‘oh, it’s healthy food and I love cooking so that’s OK, right?‘ Wrong. Withdrawing my total food budget in cash at the start of the month ensures that there’s a tangible, finite resource that I must spend from. Seeing cash in hand is always a more powerful budgeting technique. When you run out, you run out!
Budgeting, if you aren’t already is the answer to all of your problems. Whether you physically write it down in a notebook, or keep a spreadsheet on your laptop, budget where all of your next paycheck is going and relax through the month knowing that you won’t spend the last week trying to scrape by because old you considered future you and has your back. Use the piggybanking tip above to do this, as well as adopting the discipline of paying your bills first, before any of the fun stuff. If you can’t keep a roof over your head, there’s no way you should even be thinking about frivolous expenditures. Prioritize.
Review your direct debits and see if there are any that can be culled. Often we sign up to things and then after a while discontinue using their services, but – conveniently for the companies – completely forget about the odd $10 that’s taken out of our account each month to pay for it for many months after. Review everything that comes out of your account each month and see if any of these can be canceled.
Sell your junk. Whether it be clothes, books, kitchenware or larger items like furniture, that canoe you’ll never use or that guitar you’ll never play. Make some extra cash and clear some space in your home.
Beat credit card debt by transferring the balance to a 0% interest account. It’s a huge selling point for a bank to offer 0% interest on balance transfers, because they know that people who already have debt are highly likely to accumulate more and when they do, they’ll be paying the bank interest charges. If you’re starting the year anew and getting on top of your finances, start by transferring credit card debt to another account with 0% interest.
Pay off debt with savings. This is the number one rule. There is no point having a pot of savings collecting interest if you’ve simultaneously got debt charging you interest. Interest rates are always higher on debt than they are on your earnings. Do yourself a favor and spend the money that you would do on savings instead on paying off debt that’s charging you high levels of interest. Once that’s cleared, then you can start saving again.
Budget spending money per week, not per month. Most of us get a monthly paycheck and it’s easy to live like queens for the first week, then feel like we don’t get to do anything fun for the rest of the month. Ease this contrast by budgeting your spending money per week, instead of per month. If part of your personal budget goes towards eating out, make it once per week rather than four times the first week and nothing for the rest of the month. And if there’s a slightly more expensive item that you want that costs more than the week’s budget, make the pact with yourself that you can buy it only if you make it through a week without spending anything and let it roll over to combine with the following week’s money.
Meal planning is a real game-changer for several reasons. It’s also the most efficient way of working with a budget. It means that you can take your shopping list with you, purchase the items on it and rest assured that throughout the week you’ll have everything you need in your kitchen. No longer experience the stress of wanting to cook dinner at 9 pm and realizing you don’t have half the things you need, subsequently ordering take-out and then feeling regretful.
Make the most of coupon and reward schemes. Whether you have a search online, in the newspaper or a magazine, use every coupon you can. (I feel literally no shame in embracing the crazy couponing lady in me.) At the end of the day, you have the last laugh when you’ve got more money to play around with each month! And if your local grocery store has a rewards scheme that benefits you, get on board and sign up.
There are a whole host of ways that you can spring clean your accounts and start getting a better hold of your finances for financial abundance. What are your favorites?
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!