Save Money with a Monthly Cleanse
Many people have heard of a financial cleanse. And if you have not, it is a way to understand where your money goes and ensure that those expenses align with your financial goals and values. It focuses on changing the relationship we have with money.
This NBC article advises picking one expense each month that you are willing to live without, temporarily. These could be expenses like alcohol, eating out, subscriptions, new clothes, new books, etc. You will find it easier to trim your spending if you know it is just for a month. Then, deposit the saved money into your savings or checking account. Over time, you will have more discretionary cash to spend on essentials like food, rent, transportation, utilities, etc. The idea is that after you have lived without the expenses, you may be less inclined to add them back into your regular spending.
We will break down how to do this into basic steps.
- Money Exits: Look at your current expenses. Where is your money going? Look for expenses that would not be considered essential – to YOU. That could be dining out, buying coffee, subscriptions, movies, etc. Think about which expenses are discretionary vs. mandatory. For instance, rent or mortgage is a mandatory expense that we cannot change. What someone spends on eating out is up to them.
- Decisions: Decide what you want to do with your money – your financial goals. Would you like to build savings so you can avoid using a credit card to pay for items? Do you want to make larger mortgage payments to pay the house off earlier? Or, maybe you are looking for more funds to invest. Be clear about what your goal is and why it matters to YOU.
- Income: If you are not sure about the income you have coming in, your next step is to determine all sources and amounts of income.
- Find Areas of Potential Change: This is the fun part. Look back at your expenses. What is an expense you are willing to let go of? It does not have to be a large expense and it should not be something that will feel like a punishment. For instance, I had a genealogy account. I looked at that $27 deduction from my account and thought, “when was the last time I logged in?” Then I realized, I can always rejoin. I decided to cancel and see how I felt without it.
- Save: My next step was to put that $27 in my savings account. If I do not set the money aside, is it really saving?
- Reevaluate: At the end of the month think about the changes you made. Ask yourself:
- Is this something I can continue to do without?
- Would adding this back into my expenses align with my goals and values?
- Is there another expense I am willing to try and let go of?
Over a year later, I still have not reactivated my genealogy account. Turns out my curiosity about the past was not high on my financial goals and values list. In comparison, I did not give up the $7.46 coffee (including tip) I buy every Saturday. The little bit of joy that coffee brings me each week is worth it.
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Published Aug 30, 2022.