You know that feeling where you think everything is fine, but then you read a listicle online and you realise you don’t exercise nearly as much as everyone else, or that everyone has actually cut gluten out of their diets, whilst you chomp down on a 1kg’s worth of cheesy pasta? Well, sometimes we know it all seems a bit negative, and with the 24/7 dump of articles letting us know we need to do better, we could all use a little less negativity. That’s why we’re talking about cleaning up your finances, so they work for you, and not against.
As the flowers are blooming, and we say goodbye to our ankle boots, the task of spring cleaning looms around the corner. You’ve already begun repeating the ‘does this spark me joy’ mantra over and over again in your head. Have you thought about applying these Marie Kondo words-to-live-by to your spending and finances? If not, perhaps it’s time to.
Why it’s important to keep your finances clean
You may be thinking your finances are already squeaky clean. You have separate accounts for your rent, income and savings. What more can you do? Well, not only can a deep-dive into your financial habits prevent a late bill, or help you save for your Contiki summer extravaganza, but it can also offer clarity into a seemingly uncontrollable future. So this spring, swap out your set-and-forget-attitude for financial spring cleaning basics.
What are the 8 financial spring cleaning basics?
Before you jump into your wardrobe and fearlessly tackle your forgotten shower door, let’s look at the basics of financial spring cleaning:
- Sweep out old spending habits;
- Vacuum up impulsive purchases;
- Blow the dust off your budget;
- Own up to past late repayments;
- Be honest about your debt;
- Don’t leave your future to chance;
- Don’t just survive, thrive;
- Brush up on your taxes.
1. Sweep out old spending habits
Take the time to have a good comb through your past financial habits, and we mean right in the belly of the beast. So, if you dare, it’s time to investigate your ASOS and Ubereats receipts and ponder whether that 9 pm 2nd dinner was a good idea. Of course, we all need to treat ourselves every now and again, however, it becomes a little redundant if you’re treating yourself every day.
When analysing your spending habits, it’s best to leave the negative thoughts in the cupboard. As the wise baboon, Rafiki from the Lion King once said, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it.” The best thing about a spring clean is a clean slate. So, learn from your past spending habits and keep the ones that spark you joy and work on throwing the rest in the trash.
Not all your spending habits have to go. If you notice you always have brunch with your friends on Saturday and you love it, then keep it. But maybe those late-night ASOS purchases could be kicked to the curb. With change all around you, it’s the perfect time to change-up your spending lifestyle.
2. Vacuum up impulsive purchases
Impulsive spending can be an enormous roadblock on your path to financial zen. So, one of the first steps in your financial spring clean should be to pinpoint impulsive buying and when it’s most likely to occur.
To combat that all-too-tempting impulsive buy, when you spot something you really like (but may not need), don’t buy it straight away. Wait a week, and if you’re still thinking about that new skirt or fancy candle, then you know it’s a buy that sparks you joy! If you completely forget, you just dodged a bullet and saved yourself from a useless buy.
3. Blow the dust off your budget
Your budget may have been one of those things you crafted on a spreadsheet months ago, and haven’t touched since. That’s okay. It’s spring! So, it’s the perfect time to do some good-old-fashioned dusting. Before you tackle the bookcase, take a look at your budget.
It’s your budget, so the best way to manage it is on your terms. You can either go old-school, write it out and stick it on your fridge or download one of the myriads of budgeting apps available.
Top 5 budgeting apps the ultimate spring clean
- Mint: The All-rounder
- PocketGuard: Protects your wallet against impulsive buys
- YNAB: For Hardcore Budgeters
- Wally: Just Budgeting
- Goodbudget: For the lovebirds
When it comes to spring cleaning your budget, there is something for everyone. Budget your way, and you’ll find it a lot easier to stick to.
Budgeting is like dieting, if you set an unrealistic goal, you won’t meet it and all that planning has gone to waste. So, pick your budgeting forte and structure a budget around what works for you, and your lifestyle.
4. Own up to past late repayments
You know the old adage “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Well, it certainly rings true when it comes to the odd late repayments. It happens to the best of us. To give your finances a good spring clean, it’s time to face up to past mistakes and of course, learn from them. Take a bit of time to understand why you missed a few payments, and adjust your budget accordingly.
5. Be honest about your debt
Whilst we’re on the topic of facing mistakes, a good spring clean means it’s time to face some of those debts you may be carrying around. Staying in debt is like wearing clothes that no longer fit. Leftover debt may include some cash you owe a friend or family member. If you can’t afford to repay the whole sum right away, set up a repayment plan, or even just take them out to a nice dinner to show you’re thinking of them.
The best way to tackle pesky debt is to set up a debt repayment plan and start off your spring with that debt-free fresh feeling.
6. Don’t leave your future to chance
As part of your spring cleaning regime, you may start nurturing and growing your garden for next year. Well, the same goes for your budget and banishing some of those ‘weedy’ financial habits. Take some time to check on your super (trust us, 60-year-old you will thank you). Or think about making some voluntary super payments for a nice little tax break.
Set aside some time to have a think about where you want your finances to carry you in 5 years time. Do you want to own a house? Travel around America? Start a family? Whatever your long-term goals, there is no time like the present. Write them down, and then start planting the seeds for your future goals.
This spring clean, it’s time to plant the seeds for your financial future. Open a high-interest savings account, and you could make a little on the side just for saving your moolah! Take charge of your financial future NOW.
7. Don’t just survive, thrive
It may be cheesy, but why not make your money work for you? But how? It’s an easy question to ask, but hard to action. Well, here’s a nifty tip, make your money work for you by saving it. And saving it right. Start with a high-interest saving account, and then work your brand new saving goals into your weekly, or monthly budget, depending on when you get paid.
8. Brush up on your taxes
Much like spring, the taxman is around the corner. However, there’s no need to go running for the hills just yet. Submitting your tax return online is pretty simple. Log in your MyGov account, and click ‘lodge your tax return’ and you’re on your way. Sometimes our tax is something we can leave till the last minute, so include it your spring cleaning routine and that’s another thing you can tick off your list!
Loans for when you’re in a pickle
Nifty Loans is your trusted local lender for when you find yourself in need of cash, fast. Have a case of bank-anxiety? You’re not alone. When it comes to managing your finances, people are moving away from large banks and looking to smaller, quicker options. Like Nifty Loans. We’re committed to providing a fair go to every Nifty applicant, whether they have bad credit, or receive Centrelink.
Complete a Nifty application in just a few minutes. Begin with our loan calculator, select how much you wish to borrow and for how long. Then, click the ‘Apply Now’ button, enter a few more details and submit your application. It’s as easy as that!
After you submit your application, our team will do their best to deliver an outcome within the hour (depending on when you apply). Apply with Nifty for fast, smart loan outcomes.
Instant cash in 60 seconds*
Recently, Nifty Loans launched instant banking. So, what does that mean for you? It means if you’re loan is approved, most of the time you can have the cash straight to your bank in 60 seconds! That’s cash in a flash. Say goodbye to transfer times, and say hello to painless lending. That’s Nifty.
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Want to read more? Check out the must-see acts at Brisbane Festival 2019, 7 ways you could bring spring into your home this season and discover whether you’re getting the right amount of exercise.
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