Money can’t buy you happiness but it sure can make the clusterfuck of life a little less sticky. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t blessed with Rockafeller riches and are left to hoard our pennies in our sweaty little palms as the evils of capitalism tickle our taints in the hopes that we’ll drop a few coins.
If you’re suffering from a lack of money and an abundance of bills, you certainly aren’t alone. There are many people out there who are bogged down with debt, or living paycheck to paycheck. Even for the most money-savvy among us, finances can be a fairly significant source of stress.
Whether you’re financially secure or need to unfuck your budget, taking some time now and then to take a deepdive and spring clean your budget is a great idea. It can be far to easy to neglect that part of your life, not taking the time to give your finances a “tune-up” as you would your car.
Here are a few ways to Spring Clean your budget, and make the most of your money.
4 Simple Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Budget
De-Clutter Your Subscriptions
If you’re looking to tighten up your budget, those random monthly subscriptions that somehow weasel their way in are a good place to start. Obviously there are some subscriptions we genuinely want to keep, but there are also some that we were using on a trial basis, or testing out, that seem easier to keep than to cancel. Many subscriptions are in the cheap range, so it can be very easy to just let them hang about even if they aren’t useful. However, that money adds up and it adds up quick. There are also cases where we hang on to avoid penalties, but it might be wise to do the math and discover whether it’s cheaper in the long run to take the hit and fingerbang that cancel button.
Re-Evaluate Your Budget
Now, if this is the part where you say “but I don’t have a budget!”, then you’re in for a treat. Get on that shit now. No, for real, I’ll wait.
If you have a budget spring cleaning your spending is crazy easy because you can do a quick once over and see if your needs have changed since you set it up. Maybe you need to put more money into groceries and less into clothing. Maybe you need to make some drastic changes to stay afloat. Maybe everything is going along just wonderfully- whatever the case may be it’s better to know and act accordingly.
Giving you budget a second look periodically is hella responsible, and it can be a major part of keeping your finger on the pulse of your financial wellness.
Check Out if You’re Eligible for Better Deals
Periodically checking whether you are eligible for better cell phone, internet, or cable packages is wise. The companies certainly won’t alert you if you are paying for more services than you use. Additionally, if you don’t mind the hassle that comes with switching services, you could always shop around to see what new deals are out there. The same goes for your bank accounts and credit cards. If you use a credit card a lot, you might be better off using one with some sort of rewards (such as cash back). Always pay attention to when they change their terms of service, because this can also be a good reminder prompt to shop around.
If You Haven’t Started Paying Off Debt, Start That Shit Now
Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can help your peace of mind. There is something very freeing about knowing that a random accident or appliance breaking won’t tip you over the edge into financial doom. When you’re too busy keeping up with the hamster wheel of paying off debt, it can be hard to save up for important things or to contribute towards an emergency fund.
The problem is, when you’re stuck in this cycle it can be incredibly hard to get out. Some things you can try are:
- Seeing a credit counselor
- Debt consolidation
- Do you even have a budget?! Wait, this should be first!
Budgeting is not a one-and-done thing
Think of your budget as an ever-moving system that needs periodic maintenance to run smoothly, like your plumbing, or your colon (I’m so sorry).
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