Financial Friday: Time to do Some Financial Housecleaning
Every year most of us do a spring cleaning to spruce up around the house and discard the things we no longer need. However, rarely do we take a look at our financial house to spruce it up and discard the things we don’t need and that could be dollars wasted.
Last week I decided to fluff up the pillows on my sofa and vacuum out under the cushions. There is a particular place on my sofa in the living room and in the downstairs theatre room where my son likes to sit. Pulling up the cushions I found almost $4 in change in one sofa and $2 in the other. Considering I only vacuum under the seats once a month, I thought this was a pretty good return. A great source of passive income. That got me thinking about other ways to find small-dollar amounts.
I’ve decided to create a yearlong challenge for myself and my son with a reward at the end. We are getting three large containers each and will earmark them for deposits for money we would have normally spent but keep instead. For instance, instead of going to the coffee shop, we will take what we would have spent and deposited it into the eating-out containers. Other things we are looking at are automatically renewing subscriptions. Do we still need or use them? If not, we will cancel and put those dollars in our entertainment containers. What about eating out and going to the movies or other events? Since COVID very little if not any of these has been pursued. So, into the container goes what we would normally have spent on these activities every day or week. Also, we are looking around our home to declutter and donate to charities, sell online or recycle. Potential tax write-offs.
We are also planning our annual Home Spring cleaning outside. Instead of hiring someone else to do our gardening, gutter cleaning, window cleaning, we have decided to do it ourselves. After being in the house for the last 8 months and coming off of winter, spending time outside will be so welcomed. What we would have spent now goes into the household savings container.
How about the money we’re saving on travel expenses to and from work or perhaps the grocery, the hairdresser, the gym? This would include gas, maintenance cost, and we’re adjusting our insurance policy accordingly and saving money. Since I am working from home I’m saving on dry cleaning, clothing purchases, and vacation travel. Now I’m directing what I would have spent into the miscellaneous container. These are all ways we can easily save without really making changes.
The COVID-19 isolation period can allow us to look at opportunities that can help us reshape our spending and savings habits. The return on our efforts can be quite surprising.
Now for a real treat! What do we do with those dollars saved at the end of the year? Perhaps pay off debt, put into an emergency funds account if they need to be boosted, or take a much-needed vacation. Just the idea of having possibilities is a win-win in and of itself.
Diahanna Vallentine, BCPA
Myeloma Financial Coach
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