I’ve shared a lot about how to declutter spaces at home and how to tackle MESS. Decluttering offers an opportunity for new life in rooms and areas previously occupied by disarray. Once you have organized your rooms, shelves and garages, let’s take it a step further and declutter your money! Cluttered finances can be causes of stress and anxiety. We’ll explore strategies to declutter your money by minimizing spending triggers and budgeting wisely.
When I think about what I need to declutter, I usually start with something like my closet, the kids unloved toys or the basement. I need to remind myself how decluttering applies to mental health, social responsibilities and last, but not least, finances. When I say declutter your money, I don’t just mean throwing out old receipts from the depths of your purse. I mean a deep dive into what you’re spending your money on and trimming the fat on waste spending.
Declutter your money: how to get started
I used the phrase “trimming the fat on waste spending”. Identify your challenges and strengths around money. If you want to declutter your money, you have to identify a starting point. What are your spending triggers? For me, it comes down to junk email. Junk email equals junk spending. What do I mean, you might be asking? Ok. I am opening up my email account right now and have an abundance of examples. “Early access up to 50% starts now!” “BIG weekend = BIG deals —> 50% off!” “Up to 75% OFF! Reveal. Your. Deal!” Not to mention the retail language designed to pull you in, “BOGO”, “scored”, “rare”, “savings”, just to name a few.
Even thinking about it right now, it’s hard to resist the pull of the deal, the idea of “saving” money. I know I’m not alone in this. One way to minimize this trigger is to unsubscribe to the companies that send these emails. This is a time consuming task for sure, but the pay off is better than any deal you might score and allows you to declutter your money with confidence. You will still get emails that break through the barrier, but it is a dramatic difference you will notice sometimes within just a couple of days. By unsubscribing, you take the impulse out of shopping and then, when you do make a purchase, it is more intentional and controlled. You are able to approach decluttering your money in a practical way.
One of the toughest steps to decluttering your money is figuring out the realities of your spending. It can be harder to keep track of what is coming in and what is going out with the ease of online banking and services like Venmo or Paypal. I’m not going to encourage you to go cold turkey on your virtual money management, but make an effort to track it better.
In order to declutter your money, you need to ask some tough questions. For example, do you pay bills online? Do you use Venmo or Paypal for a side business? Do you order lunch using GrubHub with your bank account/ credit card linked up? What about online subscriptions? Before going into a tailspin, take a breath and get started on organizing the money flow. Go through your credit card statements, look at your iTunes subscriptions and list out what you’re paying for weekly, monthly, annually. Get a handle on what gets paid automatically. I found that changing some things to regular invoicing instead of automatic bill pay helped lessen some stress on my end.
Identify the holes
Hidden money sucks in your accounts typically fall to things like subscriptions for services you don’t use at all or use infrequently. It’s time to throw some garlic at these financial vampires and cancel, cancel, cancel. Declutter your money by eliminating the drains on your money ship. Do you need unlimited music access? Do you actually go to the gym? Don’t forget all the streaming services!
Some things may be unnecessary to some people, but vital to you. Perhaps you need access to fresh tunes, and that gym membership is your mental health support. Identify what is critical to YOU. What needs to stay and what can go? There might be some things that you can eliminate for a month or two and then start up again when you feel more stabilized. The key is BALANCE.
Experiment: Try tracking what you are spending each month. Spend as you normally would without making any adjustments. Save your receipts, use this monthly spending log to map out the big picture of your spending. This is a good way to get a solid grasp on the realities of your spending and help you to set up where to make healthy changes.
Declutter your money with this budget challenge!
What are your biggest expenses each month? Mortgage? Tuition? Car payment? Student loans (ugh)? These are things that you obviously can’t cut out, but can allow yourself to plan better for each month. Creating a budget to declutter your money is a basic way to see what you have and allocate it across the necessities. Depending on the size of your budgeting needs, you can go big by using a budgeting software to track expenses or on a smaller scale, create your own. You might try using this Monthly Budget Template to get started on decluttering your money. You can personalize it any way that best suits you and your family’s needs. Keep in mind that the apps will cost money. Oh, the irony.
Go easy on me, baby
Adele said it best. Go easy. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t or don’t make major changes right away. Like so much in life, budgeting is a process. Find your stride, test out what works and determine what doesn’t. Seek out some Facebook groups that offer support for budgeting. It’s always great to have someone on your team who has been there too! Whatever you do, don’t limit yourself. Do some research online to find what apps are available and free! Get your family in on the process too. The more the merrier. We would love to hear your tips and tricks for family budgeting. Leave them here in the comments!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.
Natalie Mangrum says
I love all commentary on finances. It’s definitely a passion of mine! So thank you for the reminder to ignore Bath and Body Works emails that call to me on a daily basis! Ughhhh…. but they smell so good! 😉
These ideas are all so great! I love going on an unsubscribe binge.
I also try real hard to wait for a sale if I want something…then when it does go on sale I feel like I won for having patience 😀