Getting Frugal: How To Declutter Your Finances To Take Charge of Your Money

by Andrea Norris-McKnight

Declutter Your Finances photo

Decluttering your finances may seem like a chore, but it is necessary if you want to take charge of your finances. Start with these steps to get organized.

Decluttering has been known to help individuals reduce stress, feel empowered and have more clarity. We are not just limited to Marie Kondo’s philosophy in our living spaces; why not take decluttering to your finances?

Getting organized is the first step towards improving your money management skills. It’s important to understand your cash flow and how each and every cent you have is being spent. If you are looking to get your finances in order, read on to discover our practical tips for taking charge of your finances and life.

Monitor and Track Your Credit Health

The saying cash is king can’t be further from the truth, but having a good credit score, however, is extremely valuable. Many people forget about their credit when it comes to finances because it is not something that is necessarily visible day to day. However, it is important to stay on top of your credit and have it as part of your financial organizational plan.

It is important to know your credit health, where it stands, and how you can improve it. You can check into credit monitoring tools, and even order a free credit report. It is important that you do so and keep them on file for safekeeping. Be sure to look through your credit score carefully. This way you can check for any errors on your credit report that may be lowering your score. Should this be an issue, you can even ask for a correction in this case.

Your credit health can really impact your overall financial health and path. Understanding what credit score is and how it works is necessary for you to accomplish your goals. For instance, if you are looking to upgrade your home, knowing what credit score you need to buy a house can allow you to live comfortably now and in retirement. Also knowing how to balance your different credit cards, and how soft and hard inquiries are impacting your score can help you get a better idea of what is worth applying for.

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Evaluate Your Personal Money Habits

Being conscious of and understanding your money habits can help you to feel confident about getting your finances organized and upping your frugality game. Are you aware of your attitude, perception and habits with money? It is important to have a healthy relationship with money, and not feel intimidated by personal finance and how to approach it.

Take a pulse check on your sentiment around money. Do you “stress spend”, and feel anxious about saving money and your financial well-being? Is it possible that your emotions are making you poor or you are spending too much? If so, don’t shy away from or neglect to address your financial needs.

Think about what is a priority for you. You may find investing in something like a personal trainer, or monthly book subscription is worth the spend rather than a coffee at the drive-thru before work each day. This does not mean you can’t enjoy life, but instead of buying pre-made coffee, why not save money by brewing your own and still enjoying a cup? It is about knowing what to prioritize and how that will help your financial health now as well as set you up for a successful future.

Frugality is not about cutting and passing up on opportunities, but it is about getting smart with spending and getting the most out of your dollar. In fact, there are plenty of fun frugal hobbies for those looking to have fun without breaking the bank.

Discover and Commit to Tools That Work for You

In order to declutter your finances, you need the right tools of the trade. Are your bills piling up and do you know where your money is going? Perhaps you have some subscriptions that are on autopay that you forgot about and are not even using. Little things like this add up month over month and as soon as you know it, you have spent money unnecessarily.

In order to help you monitor and track and organize your money, try out some tools that can help you. Depending on your style you may find keeping a ledger and balance sheet can help you get things in order. If digital tools resonate with you, and you like online banking, don’t leave things on autopay. Set aside folders and personal spreadsheets that help you balance your books. You can even try an app or online service to help you master your money management.

Start Planning and Set Money Goals

Having clear financial goals can help you get more serious about your money and appreciate your hard-earned dollars. If you don’t know where to begin, treat financial goals as you would any personal goals you have for yourself, for your career or for self-improvement. Start small at first. For instance, you would like to save X dollars of your paycheck a week in order to reach a monthly savings goal which will add up to your yearly savings goal. Once you are able to take small steps, planning for longer-term money goals like a major purchase or retirement will become easier.

In order to get started with setting goals, get yourself a financial journal to put your thoughts down on paper. A financial journal can help you stay disciplined and dedicated to your financial well-being. Write down what you would like to accomplish and create a list of steps that will act as your roadmap to get there. For instance, paying off debt can seem overwhelming. Break the payments down into digestible chunks that work with your current spending. This way you don’t get into more debt in other areas of your life by attempting to pay off too much at once.

Create Spending & Saving Bucket Categories

Just like organizing a closet, organizing your finances is no different. Having a container or space for each item makes it easy to see and find what you have. Think of your spending in the same light.

Create spending and saving bucket categories to track your cash flow. Break things down into buckets like housing, medical, food, transportation, travel and leisure. Have a cap limit for spending at which you will consider your bucket to be full. This will not only help you make sense of your spending obligations but keep you from overfilling your bucket and going over budget.

The same goes for saving. Create categories for savings goals, perhaps you want to save for a bigger home, and set aside some money for that goal. Or perhaps you want to travel with your family, and you can start to build your savings bucket to reach your goal.

Have a Space That Inspires Your Money Mindset

Decluttering your finances won’t happen overnight. It will take time and dedication to consolidate things and get them in the right place. Therefore, create an environment that will make you comfortable and inspire you to get organized. Don’t let your receipts, bills, and subscription reminders get tossed to the wayside; give your physical documents a home.

To make sure you don’t forget to file something important, start with a checklist of important financial statements to make things easier. Then get yourself some great document organizers or a stylish rolling filing cabinet to keep important financial documents together and in the right place. File as you go, this way you won’t be stressed looking for a document when you need it. This will make tax season easy, as you will have everything ready to go when the time comes. Although, you may opt for digital notifications, have these organized as well. Create folders and subfolders in your email account or virtual files.

Getting your finances organized may seem like a chore. However, you may actually end up finding it rewarding and fun. Decluttering your finances can help you feel happy and fulfilled. You work hard for your money and you deserve to get the most out of it.

Reviewed January 2023

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Subscribe to get a daily dose of money-saving content aimed at helping you get better with money, fix your finances, and live better for less.

Since one of the biggest hurdles to achieving financial independence is debt, subscribers get a copy of Do You Have Too Much Debt? A Checklist and Solutions for FREE!

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

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