“Spring is the time of plans and projects” said noted author Leo Tolstoy.
One common seasonal activity for individuals and families is the annual ritual of spring-cleaning. While it requires some extra effort, I find the experience to be immensely gratifying. So what if you applied that same springtime effort to an annual analysis of your spending habits? I call it a spending cleanse.
A spending cleanse is a way to reset your money habits. It means paying attention to where your money goes, to determine if your spending aligns with your values and goals.
We all need a periodic spending cleanse because it’s so easy to let good money habits slide. It’s surprising how quickly we get off track.
No one is perfect with money; we’re all creatures of habit. When we’re stressed out or bored or unhappy, we spend more, which can contribute to our bad feelings. It can become a vicious cycle.
A spending cleanse is a time to step back and be intentional again. It’s a way to enhance your financial wellbeing and diminish your stress around money. A cleanse is appropriate anytime you want to become more aware of your spending habits.
Here are a few options for how you can do a spending cleanse.
1. Take a week off of spending
Buy nothing with plastic, and nothing with cash. Purchase your groceries and pay your bills the day before you begin, and then stop. You might want to jot a note when you feel an impulse to spend.
2. Do a credit card cleanse
Put your cards in a drawer and don’t touch them for a month. Live off of cash only.
3. Spend only on needs
Don’t buy any wants—only purchase items that are legitimate needs.
4. Track Your Spending
Track every dollar you spend, using all payment methods. Before you start, create a spreadsheet or find an online tool to help you track your spending.
Remember: If you’re in a relationship or part of a family, get others on board with this ritual/experience. You will all benefit from the effort.
A spending cleanse heightens awareness about how, when, and why we spend money. It gets us away from mindless outlays and helps us focus on aligning with our goals and values; essential elements to an increased sense of wellbeing.
Whatever method you choose, make an appointment with yourself to evaluate where you’re doing well, as well as, discover any not-so-great habits.
Gotta Have It Now! Wow! People spend 12-18% more when using plastic (credit or debit ) instead of cash–Dun & Bradstreet