After a long, long winter season – spring is finally in the air and we are feeling that now is a good time to clean up our finances once again and get out of debt faster.
What I am learning more and more, is that by nature dealing with finances is an ongoing, never ending process! Even though there may be times when I really want to slack off and not manage our finances every minute – the truth is, I can’t. While, I realize that this probably sounds like the opposite of fun (to say the least), the thing is – in the long run, it actually makes our lives a lot less difficult, by avoiding running into major financial problem – and this alternative sits much better with me!
Just as the spring always feels like a bit of a fresh start as we close off the winter season, I am choosing now to get a head start at paying down even more debt and getting things in order for the upcoming months. And here is how I plan to do it . . .
My Financial Spring Cleaning How-to’s:
Paying Beyond the Minimum Balance
While we do have good intentions of paying more than the minimum balance on our credit cards and loans each month, the fact is – this is not always possible. My first spring cleaning strategy is to pay a larger amount off of loans, where we can. This will give us the jump start we need to pay down the debt a bit more, not to mention lowering our interest fees. If we are able to repeat these efforts for another month (or more), we will and this will make a difference in the following bill cycles.
Paying off the More Expensive Debts First
This point ties in nicely with the previous strategy, as I actually have plans to make a larger monthly payment off of one of our bigger loans. You want to get rid of any financial problem quickly as they can build up just like chores in the house or other things you don’t want to think of. Since this loan accumulates the most interest, this makes the most sense to tackle first. The idea is that once you have paid a good chunk or even all of your most expensive debt off, you move down the line to the next largest debt, and so on. This appears to be an effective strategy that many individuals rely on to help them lessen their personal debt and I look forward to making this work for us and to track our progress over the next couple of months.
Spend even Less than you are Playing to Spend
Of course, I already have taken advantage of many of the money saving tips that I have talked about in this blog and my ever evolving budget can speak to this fact. Overall, I have been quite successful with our saving feats over the last several months. We have designated a certain amount of income for various different monthly expenses, and then we save as much as we can. This strategy takes it even one further – and suggests that you should spend even less than what your monthly budget dictates, whenever and wherever you can. For example, if some months I spend even less than our projected monthly savings plan, then I am doing something right and as you have already heard this before – but every dollar does count! Part of this spending scenario means that you are required to show self-control and don’t spend beyond your means, aka – only buy something if you have the money.
Secondly, even if you do have the money – it is a good idea to ask yourself once, twice, even multiple times – “ Do I really need this?” If you give yourself time to think it through, it is often likely that you will realize that you don’t actually need and in some cases even want the item you have been eyeing. I know I definitely feel conflicted about making whimsical purchases – and later even feel guilty about it. By giving more thought to your personal purchases and in turn avoiding these negative after thoughts, I think this is actually a highly effective deterrent in itself, not to want to over spend.
If you are suddenly, feeling excited and more motivated with the arrival of the warmer weather – take a cue from me and take advantage of this time to rework that financial plan and pay off some more of that debt, I am sure you will feel a lot lighter going into the spring.