Spring is almost here! Time to spring clean your debt. The start of Spring is usually a cue for us to toss out things we don’t need. But what about our budgets? They need Spring Cleaning, too! Here are four things to get rid of to Spring Clean your budget.
1. Non-Essential Subscriptions
Now, I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t buy. But I’ll just say that if you’re on a journey to achieving a financial goal such as paying off debt or saving for a wedding or retirement, it’s worth your consideration to cut expenses wherever you can, including subscription services. A big culprit, of course, is subscription TV. It can be an expensive, and maybe unnecessary monthly subscription. Nowadays, most people can still find entertainment online, including on YouTube. A lot of shows are streamed on lower costing subscription services like Netflix. But it’s also worth your time to tally up how much you’re spending on the lower-cost services to see if “lifestyle creep” is happening to you. If you have a single R100 a month service, that may not be a huge deal. But if you have the R100/month service plus another R100/month service for music streaming, plus another R300/month service for subscription boxes, plus another R200/month subscription for at-home food services, weigh if this is in line with your financial goals for the year.
2. Old Insurance
I often tell people that your insurance company is counting on you assuming that you have the best rate. It could be that you do! But it’s also possible that you could save money by going with another company. So get quotes online for car insurance, renter’s insurance and others you may have. It doesn’t hurt to check, and you could save yourself some money by spring cleaning out some unnecessary costs.
3. Old Money Mindsets
As your tossing out old seasonal clothes, it’s also time to throw out old money mindsets! A big one: trying to keep up with the people on your social media feed. It’s so easy to look at the “highlight reel” of someone else’s life and start comparing it with your own. Spring clean that! Unless your a tween (and even then you shouldn’t!), gone are the days when you should be buying things to impress others. Focus on achieving your financial goals and aligning your budget and spend with them.
Another old money mindset to spring clean: That you can’t pay off debt. Most of us have had debt for so long that we treat it like a pet. Every time we move, we take the credit card debt with us. New job? Same student loan debt. There are certain life circumstances that can prolong our becoming debt-free, but most people, never even stop to consider what they can do to decrease and/or eliminate debt. Maybe it’s time to start.
4. Spending on things you don’t need
In our culture, we are constantly being targeted by marketing and advertising messages. There’s always a company telling us, “This is what’s wrong with you…now, buy this product to fix it!” And it’s all around us on television, on social media, on other web sites, on the street. I’m not against marketing, because when done well, it helps match the right solutions to the consumers that need them. But when we start spending mindlessly and without consideration, it can derail us from reaching our financial goals.
So whether it’s the last-minute candy bar purchase in the checkout line (I’m also guilty of this!), or always upgrading your phone because your mobile carrier says it’s time to, think about whether you actually need what you’re about to spend money on, or if you’re just mindlessly going with the flow. (PS – also watch the purchases for the kids; marketers are really good at getting them to want things they don’t need, too!)
New seasons bring new opportunities for mindset growth. Now that it’s time to spring clean your house, closet and your budget, what are you tossing out?