I love a good system, but managing your money in a sustainable way (that feels good) is also about your habits.
Money habits tend to have a mind of their own. If you ignore them for a while they get dusty, grow weeds, and result in wasted money.
Spring is the perfect time for a check-in because it’s natural to let some cobwebs accumulate on our money habits through the winter months. Just like our homes and gardens, spring is the perfect time to give your money habits a good scrub.
Plus, with summer around the corner, most people are trying to find money to refresh their wardrobes, plan vacations and attend all the fun events that summer brings.
If you can clean up your money habits, you can find money that is being wasted and redirect it towards those fun summer activities that will be fun and rewarding for your family. So much better than wasting money!
Let’s dive into the 5 steps you need to spring clean your money habits:
Step #1: Clean out your wallet
The main way most people interact with money is through their wallet. Simple things like making sure you have some cash on hand, making sure your debit card is easy to access and keeping your receipts and papers organized goes a long way in supporting the practical way you deal with money every day. But it also supports the energetic way you interact with money, which is just as important. When you organize your wallet you send the energetic message that you are taking care of the money you have, which will also attract more money to you. So let’s clean out those wallets! Here are some tips to get you started:
- Throw out old items
- Arrange your bills neatly, in ascending order
- Take out items you don’t regularly use or important documents that would be devastating if they got stolen (i.e. social security cards)
- Have a plan for receipts and change (i.e. have a designated spot to collect it in your home)
- Keep some cash in your wallet, even if you don’t use it often (it just feels good)
- Evaluate if you need a NEW wallet. A tattered, worn out and maybe even ugly wallet does not have a good energetic vibe!
Step #2: Clean up your language
If I could eliminate one phrase from the vocabulary of anyone working on their money habits it would be, “I can’t afford it.” It’s almost never about being able to afford something, truly. It’s almost always about the priorities you have in your life. For example, let’s assume you think you ‘can’t afford’ a luxury $50,000 boat. But you live in a 3,000 square foot house. And your family owns two SUV’s. And you were recently able to scale back your work to 30 hours per week. In this example the big house, two cars and working less are the top priorities and owning a boat must fall further down that list. If owning a boat was a top priority, the house, car or working style would have to be adjusted. It’s not a matter of not being able to afford it, it’s a matter of priorities. Here are a few more examples of common money phrases that should be reconsidered:* It’s not fair for me to be wealthy when others have so little (Instead, make more money so you can make a big impact)
- I’m successful because I got lucky (Instead, work on owning your accomplishments)
- Making money is difficult, or money doesn’t grow on trees! (Instead, work on the idea that you control the flow of money in your life)
- Better to be happy than wealthy (Instead, start to internalize the idea that you can have both)
- I don’t have control of how much money I make (Instead, see step #5)
- Money is stressful and lowers my vibe when I have to deal with it (Instead, change the frequency because energy matters)
Step #3: Clean up your habits
Money is a problem solver. Spending money to help you solve a problem can be a really great use of your resources. But over time, needs and problems shift. As the seasons shift, it is the perfect time to evaluate which of your spending habits need to be adjusted. There might be some areas you need to start spending more money. And there are probably some areas you could be spending less. And of course, cut out the subscriptions and services you no longer need. You can go line by item in your budget to identify the shifts that need to happen, but you can also use the three questions below as an intuitive check-in. For example, my answers would look a little like this: “I’m overdoing it on meal box delivery, in the summer we can just use the BBQ more! I have enough books, I need to read the ones I have this season. I need more childcare support, I would love to redirect more funds there.”
- Where am I overdoing it?
- Where do I have enough?
- Where do I need more?
Step #4: Clean up your credit
I don’t know what I would do without the ability to shop online! It makes my life a whole lot easier and I bet you feel the same. However, it also means my information is stored in a lot of different company databases and websites. So it’s more important than ever to be checking your credit report regularly to make sure there is no fraudulent activity on your report. Your report will show you what accounts you have open in your name, what the balances are on each account and if anything is past due. It’s important to check your reports for accuracy at LEAST one time per year. And if you plan on borrowing money anytime soon, you should also be working to increase your credit score to save big money on your interest rates. The best way to check your credit is to sign up for the free service, Credit Karma.
- Sign up for Credit Karma (or if you have a credit card that pulls your credit you might be able to use that)
- Check your credit report for accuracy and anything that might have fallen off of your radar (like old credit cards or parking tickets)
- Check your credit score, it will need to be in the ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ categories to get the best rate
- Do you need to borrow money anytime soon? If so, use the strategies Credit Karma recommends to increase your score.
Step #5: Clean up your mindset
If you are still thinking these habits won’t find you enough cash for your summer vacation plans, then it is time to shift your mindset. It doesn’t matter if you have a big-time career or are semi-retired, it benefits you to know all the different ways you can make money. Opportunities to increase your income are everywhere, but you have to go looking for them. So I want you to create your WOW list. This is a list of all the different things you are qualified to do and important contacts and connections that you have. The WOW list helps remind you that YOU are in control of your income and that you are pretty awesome too.
- What types of formal training/degrees/education do you have? What types of jobs does this qualify you for?
- What would be the easiest way to get a new client or make more money in your 9-5 job tomorrow?
- What types of jobs have you done in the past that you enjoyed?
- What ‘for fun and for cash’ jobs could you do?
- What kind of stuff do you have lying around that could be sold?
- What contact or connections do you have that could make any of the above happen?
Working to improve one money habit at a time is enough to start to create big change in your life. Frequent check-ins are important to make sure that old habits aren’t creeping back into your life. And Spring is the perfect time to find the money cobwebs that are holding you back from your goals.
When you shift your money habits, you will become more mindful of how your habits, mindset, and language impact your relationship with money. Take stock, make shifts and see the big results that will follow in your life.