Spring cleaning your spending

How a regular spending detox could help you maintain great financial health.

Spring is a chance to start fresh after a long winter. People often do a more thorough house cleaning and get rid of things they no longer need, want or use. Spring can also be a great time to clean up your finances.

This doesn’t necessarily mean your finances are in bad shape. However, purging unnecessary expenses can be a great way to bolster your financial health and make strides toward your future goals. Let’s take a look at a few steps and their benefits.

Taking stock of your spending habits

Before you begin cleaning, it’s a good idea to understand your monthly expenses. With this information, you can analyze where you could possibly save. For example, you may find you have too many subscriptions. Each of those streaming services may seem inconsequential on their own at $9.99 per month, but when you add them up, they can make a significant dent in your budget.

Reviewing other regular expenses — ones that might be more flexible than say rent or mortgage payments, like cell phone plans, meal services or gym memberships — will also help give you a clearer picture of where your money goes each month. Automated payments can be a good way to ensure you’re never late, but they can also make it easier for some costs to slip by.

Preparing for your purge

Once you understand what you’re spending money on, set aside some time to focus on what you can eliminate. Then, find some tools to help you determine the impact of letting a few things go.

If you’re old school, a calculator, checkbook and notebook might be all you need. Or you can go deeper and use budgeting software. The program could become your dynamic information hub — one place where you can track your spending, accounts, due dates, income and so on.

Remember, this process will require patience and potentially some sacrifice. It might be hard to decide what expenses to remove. But like a good purge of your closet, it can be a very satisfying exercise. Here are a few suggestions to make cleaning up your finances more manageable.

Conducting a spring spend cleanse

  1. Make a list of your regular, outgoing expenses, and rank them from highest to lowest priority.
  2. Look at the bottom 10% of this list. If they’re at the bottom, there’s a good chance they’re unnecessary expenses and will be easier to eliminate than you might have thought.
  3. Rank the remaining expenses on the list by cost.
  4. Conduct a bit of research. You may be able to find services or products that are cheaper overall. Or you could possibly uncover a few deals.
  5. Check into which accounts for must-have expenses might offer a discount for autopay.

 

Overall, if you have a lot of loans or credit accounts that are costing you money, you might want to look into consolidation to save. There also may be credit cards that maximize what you do spend by providing bonus points or rewards for certain subscriptions.

Improving your life through financial health

If done right, the benefits of cleaning up your spending can extend past your wallet to your overall well-being.

According to a study from the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, people with improved financial literacy were healthier overall. The study suggested this sentiment was true for both physical health and mental health. Other research shows that financial health could also help you maintain higher quality relationships.


This page and the information contained herein is for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product, service, or strategy to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Any links to other websites are included for your convenience only. Bread Financial does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of the information, made available through such sites.