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Spring Cleaning: Examine Your Finances and Spending Habits

Woman Holding Broom and DustpanSpring cleaning isn’t just for your house. You can also use this season of renewal to clean up your finances, develop new habits, and do some financial planning for the future. All of the work you do with a Fee-Only financial planner can be derailed if you cannot get your spending under control.

LearnVest readers offered some of their ideas for avoiding the temptation to spend frivolously:

  • Give your bank accounts new names: If you bank online, you may think twice about removing money from an account that is named “Emergencies ONLY” or “Do you really need that?”
  • Decide not to buy when you hit the stores: This is tough, but if you determine that you will visit stores to check for size and quality and give yourself time to think about whether or not to buy, you will not be ruled by your impulses. You can compare prices online and buy there or return to the store only if you really decide you need it.
  • Use cost per work hour as a reference: Think about how much you get paid per hour and then consider how many hours you need to work to pay for certain treats. You may find that when you frame it this way, you will give more consideration before spending money.
  • Commit to giving a similar item away for each thing you buy: If you give something away for each thing you buy, you will start to realize just how much you have. And you may even reconsider purchases if you know that you need to give something again.

Instead of leaving the money you save in a bank account you use on a regular basis, determine ahead of time what you will do with it. You can use it to meet a specific savings goal or use more money to invest in stocks and bonds.