Declutter Your Finances In 3 Easy Steps

I was recently thrilled when a family member of mine visited my home and told me that they loved how decluttered my home is. They said they left and told their spouse that my home looks the way that they wish their home would. As nice as the comment was, it got me to thinking about how nice it is keeping a decluttered home.

For the most part. Weekends get a little rough.

And that got me thinking about how you could take some of the principles of home decluttering and apply them to personal finances. And if an organized home feels fantastic, then how stellar would it be to have decluttered finances? Here are 3 ways to declutter your personal finances.

declutter your money

Pick a System and Stick With It

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when organizing a home is creating multiple receptacles for the same sort of item. You know, like two places for coats, spare change, or dishes. That can get out of control quickly! This is true of personal finance systems.

With so many apps and sites available, it can be easy to try several and end up with your financial life in pieces with bits here and there. By all means, sample what’s out there. Whether it be Mint or Quicken, Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System, or the good ole’ pencil and legal pad, find one that you feel at home with… then commit. That way the next time you go looking for information, you can look in one place. The same way that when I need an important document, I go to the bookshelf where I keep those.

Choose a Set of Goals and Stick With Them

A major part of having an organized home is having a theme that carries throughout the space. The same way that your home cannot be all things, like a beach house and a log cabin and the same time, you personal finances cannot fully go in multiple directions at the same time.

Do you want to buy a house? Then set that as your goal. Do you want to have a dozen children? Then set up your finances so that you can do that without wrecking lives.

So sit down (either alone or with your loved ones who will play a role in your personal finances) and set up your goals. Once you set them, consider them set in stone… for a period of time. How long? Well, that’s up to you. It could be a year, five years, ten years, or somewhere along those lines.

Whatever you decide, make a pact with yourself that you won’t change your major, long-term goals until you have reached the end of a period of time that you choose. This will do a couple of cool things. First, it will keep you from changing major, long-term goals every time the wind blows. Second, it will make you make sure that the major, long-term goals that you choose are ones that you really want.

Clear Items From Your Wish-List Before Making A Purchase

A fun way to declutter a home is to take everything that you have and mark it with a piece of tape. Then you go about your business as usual, but with one change. Every time you use an item, you remove the piece of tape from it.

Then after a few months, you go through your house, find all of the things that you haven’t touched in months, and you sell it or give it to charity.

Sound crazy? Sound like getting rid of stuff that you need? It may sound that way, but if you’ve gone a few months without touching something, chances are that you don’t really need it. The same principle can help save your wish-list.

The next time you see something that you want, don’t buy it. Write it down instead. Then do the same thing when you see something else that you want. Do that over and over again until you’ve got a pretty good list. Around 10 items. Then, look at your wish-list and preen any things that you wanted, but don’t want any more. Maybe you don’t have to have those headphones after all!

Next, take you list and put it away. Then take out a blank sheet (or open a blank document) and recreate the list from memory. Anything that you include, chances are higher that you really want those items, and that you’ll be happy with them. Anything that you forget? Well, what are the chances that you really need to purchase something that you can’t even remember?

After giving these three tips a try, tell me… how did they work for you?  Have you changed your mind about purchases, thanks to your wish-list preening? Have you found a financial system that you can call home? How are your goals? Did you surprise yourself by throwing some out or adding some?

12 thoughts on “Declutter Your Finances In 3 Easy Steps

  1. I like the “pick a system and stick with it,” to a point……you have to give a system time to take root and see the positive benefits. But you also have to have the flexibility to tweak parts of a plan that aren’t working.

  2. We’ve switched our budget tracking methods throughout the years and I think I’m ready to head back to a more automated system now.

    As far as simplifying finances, the best thing we did was move all our joint account, credit cards, investments and mortgage to the same bank. No more transferring money everywhere.

  3. Keeping the house free of clutter is not one of my strong suits. I like your idea with the tape.

    For financial things, I use Mint to pull everything together. It makes it much simpler.

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