Spring is almost upon us! We can look forward to warmer weather, flowers blooming and the fact that summer is that much closer. You might be getting the urge to start cleaning. Your closets will need to be cleared of your winter garb. You can get to all the outdoor chores that couldn’t be done in the frigid temperatures. This all sounds good, right? As we prepare for a new season, we want to make way for a fresh start. Did you know we can apply that same mindset to our money?
Instead of focusing so much on spring cleaning your home in the coming weeks, get into spring cleaning your finanancial worries away. It’s the same concept, but will benefit you much more in the long run.
Here are seven steps on how you can get your money ready for spring and your future!
1. Look through your financial statements. This is just like looking through your closet to see what you can get rid of. Look at what you’re spending the most money on. If it’s a non-necessity like eating out, shoe shopping or cable, get rid of it. Now I understand, some things can be harder to cut out than others. In those cases, see if you can cut back to lower the cost instead of cutting it completely.
2. Fail to plan, plan to fail. According to a recent MarketWatch article, 50% of people have less than $500 in emergency savings. What would you do if an emergency arises? Would you have the money to take care of it? Or would you have to put it on a credit card? If you have to rely on credit to take care of emergencies, then you need to set up an emergency savings fund. Figure out how you can save $1,000 to get you started as quickly as you can. Planning for emergencies is one of the smartest things you can do, because, as I’m sure you know by now, they WILL happen.
3. Calculate your debts. This is such an important step that many people miss. If you owe money, you need to see the total picture of how much you actually owe. From there, devise a plan to pay off your smallest debts first and work your way up to the bigger ones. Remember, the only way to get out of debt is to STOP using debt!
4. Dream a little, summer is coming. No one wants to be stuck in a cubicle looking at friends’ vacation photos on Facebook. Start thinking about those places you said you always wanted to visit. Write down those dreams and research how much money you’ll need to bring them to fruition. But don’t stop there. Do you want to buy a home? Or quit your job to start your business? Now is the perfect time to start planning and step 5 will put you closer to achieving them!
5. It’s budget time! With the use of technology, budgeting is easier than ever. There are several apps at your disposal. You can also use a spreadsheet if that works better for you. And if you’re real old school, good ol’ pencil and paper will work, too. I suggest doing a zero-based budget. In a zero-based budget, you’re going to put every dollar you earn into a spending category until you hit zero. You’ll want categories for your bills, obviously. But don’t forget your pets, charities, tithes, fun stuff and those dreams you wrote down in step 4. Your budget is what you make it.
6. Once you’ve completed the first 5 steps, now comes the most difficult task: STICKING TO YOUR PLAN! Your finances should be a life-long commitment, not something that just gets a spring overhaul. Budgets and financial plans only work if you stick to them. Consistency is key. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
7. Do you know one of the fastest ways to get results? CHEAT! Yep, I seriously told you to cheat! When we all went to school and were taught that looking at your neighbor's paper was cheating, but we aren't in school. Learning to do this on your own will take more time, why would anyone want to do that? I'm completely debt free and having more success with money than ever before. We have helped thousands of people by teaching them a simple process that shows them how to save money, pay off debt, and kick financial stress to the curb! I want you to cheat and look at our papers because we can show you how to have success with your money FASTER! Our membership site, Roots of Personal Finance will give you everything you need to kick-start your finances this spring. Get started today!