Spring signifies new beginnings, and as flowers bloom and nature is reborn, there’s no better time to refocus and get your finances in order. After all, the color green is commonly associated with springtime, and green represents growth, success, and of course, money. However, before you can reap the money benefits the season has to offer, you first need to spring clean your finances.
In truth, spring is the perfect time to shift your money mindset and focus on working towards your financial goals. Whether you’re looking to improve your financial wellness, update your budget, or manifest abundance, we’ve got you covered. This is your 10-step guide to spring cleaning your finances. Keep scrolling to learn more.
1. Check in on your financial goals
As we enter the new season, check in your current financial goals. Take inventory of your finances to find out whether or not you’re on the right track. If you are, reward yourself with a little treat like a mani-pedi, mini fashion splurge, or celebratory cocktails with the girls. If you’re not, however, assess where and how you veered off path. Did you go over your allotted budget? Did groceries cost more than you anticipated? If sticking to a budget is difficult for you, try using a budgeting template or app like Goodbudget, Mint, or YNAB, setting aside more money for savings and investments, or embracing a more minimal lifestyle.
That said, don’t be afraid to tweak your goals if you need to, especially if you have to account for unforeseen circumstances or inflation. Maybe you slightly lower the amount of money you want to invest and instead use it to pay off debt. Or, maybe you give yourself less spending money so you can still save and simultaneously battle inflation. Whatever the case may be, use this as a learning opportunity. It’ll give you insight into how you can roll with life’s punches and how to adjust your finances accordingly.
2. Refresh your budget
It’s easy to overspend as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, and while you are absolutely allowed to go out and enjoy yourself, it’s important that you’re still actively working towards your goals. So, account for changes in the season and refresh your budget for spring. This will replace your current budgeting plan and should leave you with enough money to comfortably pay for living expenses, spending money for spontaneous activities and upcoming events, as well as contributions to savings, investments, and debt. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider using the 50/30/20 rule as your guide.
3. Cut out unnecessary spending
With inflation currently being what it is, cutting out unnecessary spending is more important than ever. Take a look at your expenses and recent credit card statements to determine if there are any areas you can cut back in. Something as simple as opting to make coffee and meals at home or borrowing books from your local library can make the biggest difference. These changes may seem small, but saving where you can in your daily life will help you save more in the big picture and give you more flexibility when it comes to spending, which is a win-win all around.
PayPal’s Vice President of Financial Services, Shanthi Sarkar, echoes this sentiment. “In today’s environment with soaring inflation and rising costs, every dollar counts,” she told me. “Financial wellness is about making smarter choices to ensure a brighter financial future, and it starts with regaining control and working towards financial security step by step.”
4. Negotiate all your major bills
Learning how to negotiate is a life skill that’s worth developing now. Having the courage to ask for what you want and being unafraid to take your business elsewhere is something all financially independent women do, and financial expert Nicole Lapin is no different. “Look at all your major bills and call up each company accordingly, then ask for a discount or better packages, and threaten to go to a competitor if they don’t offer you anything,” she recently told me. “The worst that can happen is that they say ‘no’, which is exactly what the answer will be if you don’t ask.”
5. Cancel or consolidate subscriptions
Subscriptions can be sneaky—most payments are automated, so it’s easy to miss when and what they’re taking out of your bank account. Sit down and review all the subscriptions you’re currently paying for, and cancel any you’re not using. For the ones you want to keep, look for alternative free or low-cost options (think: free workout classes on YouTube, etc.), or ways you can consolidate and save. Be sure to take your time and do your due diligence in order to get the most bang for your buck.
6. Re-evaluate your relationship with money
No matter how you feel about finances, there is always room for improvement. Deep breathing, meditation, journaling, or writing a letter to money are great tools for gaining clarity into your spending habits and money patterns, as well as your financial situation and how you want to improve it. Taking the time to re-evaluate your relationship with money and having this newfound insight will help you set yourself up for success moving forward.
That said, if money is a particularly emotionally charged subject for you, try doing one of these practices outside. The energy of the earth can be very grounding, which can be helpful for sorting out complicated emotions. Likewise, if something’s blocking you from manifesting success, business mentor and CEO Andrea Donnelly swears being in nature can help you release whatever’s holding you back. “The earth is wildly abundant,” she explained to me. “The more you connect to it, the more you’re able to joyfully receive everything life has to offer, which includes opening up the door for more money to flow into your life.”
7. Declutter your bank accounts
Nothing says spring cleaning quite like decluttering. Many of us have more than one bank account, but this is the perfect opportunity to condense and consolidate your money to cut back on the amount of open accounts you have. Likewise, be sure to research and shop around for a new bank so you can take advantage of higher interest rates and passively grow your wealth with a high-yield savings account.
8. Make a plan to pay off high-interest debt
With high-interest debt, the amount you owe compounds very quickly, so this spring, make a plan to pay off high-interest debt. This might mean shopping around to see if you can get a lower interest rate from other competitors, consolidating debt, or giving yourself less spending money so you can aggressively pay back what you owe. Likewise, Consumer Financial Advocate of Credit Karma, Courtney Alev, told me that using your tax refund to pay off high-interest debt can also be a great money move this spring.
9. Review your credit report and credit card rewards
There are many reasons having a strong credit score is vital, but you can’t improve it or use it if you don’t know what you’re working with, so set aside some time to review your credit report. Generally speaking, it’s good to try and aim for a score that’s at least in the low to mid 600s. Committing to paying your bills on time is the easiest and fastest way to improve your score, so make sure you’re not floating everything on your credit card and sticking to and following your budget.
Additionally, take the time to check in on your credit card rewards. Depending on what you have, you may be able to put some extra money into your bank account or use your travel rewards to start planning your next trip.
10. Create a financial vision board
A vision board is one of the best manifestation tools out there, so take some time and really think about your long and short-term financial goals. Maybe you want to be debt-free, see the world, splurge on a luxury purchase, get promoted, run your own business, or build your dream home. There are no rules when it comes to your vision, so don’t be afraid to give yourself permission to feel your own dreams and desires.
Once you know what your money goals are, make a detailed vision board with them. You can do this by-hand or online with an app like Pinterest or Canva. Then, create a plan that helps you bring those goals to fruition. For example: If you want to build your dream home, build up your credit score so you can get the best loan available to you when the time comes, and start saving more out of your paycheck. If your goal is to travel, invest in a travel-rewards credit card and check in on your PTO or unused benefits to find out what’s available to you. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to remember that while manifestation is all about mindset, things will not just fall into your lap—you still have to work for them.
In addition, intuitive consultant Janet Rae Orth told me that she strongly implores everyone to place their vision boards out of sight. “If you hang it where you can see it daily or carry it around with you, you’re holding onto it. It can’t come back to you, and your goals are always in the future,” she explained to me. So, create a detailed financial vision board, plans to make those dreams come to fruition, and hang it out of sight. This will help you set future you up for success, and your future self will thank you.