Why Spring Cleaning does good for more than just your house
Spring is a time of great motivation for people, a time for cleaning the house, giving yourself a fresh start, and maybe even organizing your finances. This article will go over some of the spring cleaning tasks that can renew your bank account as well as your house.
Update (or create) your budget
Your income may have changed. Re-do your budget to update for additional (or less) expenses, alterations in income, and changes to your partners’ income as well. This is also a great time to take a look at the expenses and make sure that there’s nothing you can afford to cut.
Examine your filing system (or create one)
The smartest financial advisers are the ones that tell you to keep your own records, and to keep them organized. Pay attention to your medical expenses and travel expenses, some of them may be able to come back to you at tax time. The main point though? None of it can come back to you if you aren’t able to present evidence of the expenses in an organized fashion, so take a look at your filing system (or get cracking on creating one).
Look in your wallet
Take time this cleaning season and check out what you’re carrying around. File necessary receipts, throw out unnecessary ones. Look for credit cards you’re no longer using and cancel them. Analyze the gift cards you have and how you can best make use of them before they expire.
This one simple organizational task really goes a long way to preparing you financially for a good year, both by organizing receipts that could get you money back at tax time, and by taking the time to make the best possible use of the treasure trove of gift cards and spare change you’ve been ignoring because it’s “somewhere in that mess”.
Take advantage of cleaning to maximize supply use
Do you have unused hairspray that’s been hiding in the corner of your bathroom? What about expired medicine or spices? Use spring cleaning as a good time to throw out supplies you’re never going to use, or that have expired, and to remind yourself of what you do have (and thus save on spending on that item next time you’re at the store).
Analyze your wardrobe
Figure out what you have, what you want rid of, and what you’re lacking. This will help in a few ways. First, extra closet space is great, and you’ll feel great knowing that there’s nothing in your closet that you wouldn’t wear. Second, you can donate the clothes you no longer need to some one less fortunate, giving them the opportunity to make use of something you won’t, and passing the bargain karma on (haha). Third, and most importantly for your wallet, this inventory will stick with you. You won’t be able to convince yourself so easily that you “desperately need sweaters” if you know that you already have ten; conversely you’ll also be able to take advantage of that pant suit sale guilt free – knowing it’s something you actually do need.
Spring cleaning may not make you a millionaire, but it can add a little bit back to your wallet, and more importantly it can help you get organized for the new year. Organization enables you to put your best financial foot forward, something that every one should be resolving to do.