What’s more, as the world moves one step closer to getting back to normal, we all have an opportunity to revisit our expenses and do a little spring cleaning. That way, when the time comes to hit the streets, we can do so with the peace of mind knowing that our version of Quarantine Revenge doesn’t land us in a worse financial state then before the pandemic began. But, more on that later.
For now, let’s get into a few practical steps you can take to hit refresh on your finances ahead of this new season:
Spring Cleaning Your Finances
Review your monthly budget
If you’re one of those people who is intimidated by the word “budget,” have no fear, you are not alone. It’s through that fear that you’ll find breakthrough.
We want to encourage you to take a first step at budgeting by first learning about its benefits. Our partners at Capital One have great resources that break down one way to save, called the 50/20/30 approach. This method was coined by Elizabeth Warren and her daughter as a highly effective way to save and spend your money.
Also check out Capital One’s savings products to see if there’s one that meets your lifestyle: https://www.capitalone.com/bank/savings-accounts/
For those with a budget, you know it’s one thing to create a budget but another to go back and regularly review how well it’s working for you and your lifestyle. As a first step to spring cleaning your finances, we encourage you to take a moment to look at the numbers: how are you fairing when it comes to your actual vs. planned spending? Do you have any new income coming in that you’ve not accounted for? Are there any costs you can recover say by canceling those pesky subscriptions you don’t use? Take a look.
By assessing where you are financially, you can make adjustments that will ensure you are meeting those financial goals you set at the top of the year. You can also use the time to set new ones.
Automate your financial life
One way to automate your finances is through automation. Riffing off the 50/20/30 Approach, consider splitting your income into three buckets:
From there automate your paycheck accordingly to ensure a stress free approach to securing the funds needed to pay your bills. We understand that not everyone can divide their money in this way, especially as we all work through a pandemic and economic crisis. That said, one small thing you can do is to ensure the bills that you can afford are automatically taken from your account. This way you can stay focused on meeting your broader financial goals.
If you’re an investor, consider automating your finances with the help of this guide from Simplify.
Review your credit report for irregularities
Another financial term that can raise our blood pressure: Credit Score.
Truth is, financial credit bureaus make mistakes all the time. The Federal Trade Commission found that at least one in five Americans have errors on their credit report. That’s millions of Americans!
Give yourself some peace of mind by signing up for a free credit monitoring service like Karma and scroll through the details of your report. You owe it to yourself and your future self to do that due diligence.
Follow dope women who know money
We live in a world full of influences and influencers. Consider following these Boss Women who are disrupting the financial literacy game with relevant content:
Get into the three M’s – Mindful Money Meditation
Financial stress is all too common in our communities, and yet there’s little out there that speaks to how we can combat the anxieties. In 2019, 60 percent of Americans said finances caused them stress. We can only imagine what those numbers are in 2021.
Mindful Money Meditation is an approach which allows you to combat stress, grow your self awareness and make better decisions. This form of meditation can also increase your overall happiness.
It’s a practice that requires you to sit still, focus on your breathing and repeat financial truths that you aspire to build or maintain. You can sit for 5 minutes or up to an hour, the key is that you replace those negative thoughts about your money with affirmations that lead you to take control of your thoughts and habits.
For more information on this technique, check out Headspace.
Here’s to a happy, financially healthy Spring season!