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.
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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.
Before you jump into your wardrobe and fearlessly tackle your forgotten shower door, let’s look at the basics of financial spring cleaning:
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 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.
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 joy! If you completely forget, you just dodged a bullet and saved yourself from a useless buy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 into 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 in your spring cleaning routine and that’s another thing you can tick off your list!
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Want to read more? Check out the 7 ways you could bring spring into your home this season and discover whether you’re getting the right amount of exercise.Apply Now
Since founding Nifty in 2016, Bell has continued to make waves within the local financial sector for his continued ambition and willingness to adopt emerging technologies.Read More