Many people think of spring cleaning as a term used only for your house, but I think it should apply to your finances too. And as the weather starts to get warmer, now is the time to start thinking about spring cleaning your finances.
Moving from the cold winter months to the spring helps you look forward to what’s coming in the year, and it’s a natural time to think about what’s happening with your money in the coming months.
Today, I want to talk about spring cleaning money tips, smart money moves, and having a spring cleaning financial checklist to help you make spring a productive and good season.
This is a great time to start thinking about what you can do to save some money, prepare for the following months, and improve your life.
The tasks on this spring financial checklist will help you remember to prepare your home for the warmer months, gather important documents, declutter with easy tricks, and more.
Now, not everything on this checklist will apply to each of you, but this list is a good place to start.
Here is my spring cleaning financial checklist.
1. Declutter your closet with the hanger trick
If your closet is bursting at the seams or if you simply find that you wear the same clothing week after week, then I recommend this easy decluttering trick.
The hanger trick is when you hang all of your clothes in the same direction. Then, as you wear something, you flip that item’s hanger so that it is opposite from where you first started.
This will help you see exactly what you are and aren’t wearing. At the end of the month, season, or year (whichever timeframe you want to use), you will have a good idea of what items you can get rid of.
The hanger trick is great for spring cleaning because you’ll find clothes to reincorporate back into your outfits and some that can be donated or sold.
2. Sell the items you no longer use
Spring cleaning typically means decluttering, and selling unused items is a great way to get rid of things and make some extra money.
Here are places where you can sell your stuff:
- Decluttr – Decluttr is a website where you can sell your old cell phones, CDs, DVDs, games, and books.
- Facebook buy/sell groups – You can sell furniture, clothes, electronics, and many other things on Facebook.
- Craigslist – You can sell cars, clothes, electronics, and many other things on Craigslist.
- eBay – You can sell books, cars, games, electronics, and many other things on eBay.
- Poshmark – On Poshmark, you can sell clothing, shoes, beauty items, pet items, home decor, and more.
This is a great way to free up space in your home, get rid of waste, and make some extra money.
3. Start a no-spend challenge
No-spend challenges are a fun thing to start during the springtime. I think that’s because it’s a way to reset after the expensive holiday months.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, a no-spend challenge is when you challenge yourself not to spend any money for a certain period of time, like a weekend, week, month, and so on. You can do it for specific budget categories, or you can completely eliminate all of your spending.
You may try not to buy any new clothing, clean out your pantry before you go back to the grocery store, etc. Some people may apply no-spend challenges to all spending in their life (other than normal monthly household expenses such as electricity, mortgage/rent, etc).
A no-spend challenge may benefit you in ways such as:
- Stop you from wasting money on things that you do not need.
- You can finally use things that may have been sitting around your home for a long time.
No-spend challenges make sense as you spring clean your finances because they help you declutter your financial life. You’ll essentially cut everything else out but the basics as you get your budget back on track.
4. Avoid online shopping with a separate email address
If you’re struggling with online shopping, this is one of my favorite money tricks. Just set up a separate email address that you use only for online shopping.
Not only will you declutter your email inbox, but you’ll also be less tempted to buy things online.
The email you set up is the one you’ll give to stores when they ask for it, and this is the inbox where you’ll get promotions, coupons, sales, etc. You won’t be as tempted to spend money because those emails won’t be coming to your regular inbox.
I like having a separate email address for something like this because:
- You can keep all of your shopping separate from everything else in your life.
- You can worry less about giving out your email address.
- Your main email inbox won’t be cluttered with sales emails from companies.
If you are tired of your email inbox being cluttered with sales emails, but you also don’t want to miss out on a sale, then this spring cleaning finances tip is for you.
5. Prepare your home for hotter months
Depending on where you live, the spring and summer months may mean that it can get quite hot. If that’s the case, then there are some things you can do to save money in the coming months on cooling costs.
Plus, regularly maintaining your home will help you save money in the long term.
Here are some spring cleaning tasks to prepare your house for a new season:
- Inspect your roof, clean gutters, and more.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Complete maintenance on your AC system. This may mean replacing the air filter, cleaning leaves off of the exterior system, and so on.
- Install or replace old weatherstripping or caulking around your windows and doors.
- Clean your refrigerator coils.
- Install ceiling fans.
And much more. Every house is different so your own home may have a different spring and summer home maintenance checklist.
6. Check your credit report for errors
You can receive one annual free credit report from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). This is a great time to look through your credit report and check for any errors.
You can get one free report from each of the three main credit bureaus, so three each year. I recommend spacing them out so you can get one every four months.
The spring months can be a great time to get a hold of your free credit report from one of the credit bureaus.
7. Find cheaper car insurance
If you haven’t shopped around for new car insurance in a while, I highly recommend that you do so. It’s pretty painless and doesn’t take a long time. Plus, you don’t have to switch if you don’t want to – instead, you can simply see if you are overpaying on your car insurance or not.
By comparing insurance rates once a year, you may be able to save over $1,000 annually.
A close family member had been paying around $2,200 a year for quite some time until I reviewed their budget and noticed that they were significantly overpaying for car insurance.
I easily helped them find car insurance with better coverage for just $600 a year. They were able to save around $1,600 in less than 30 minutes. They were completely shocked, and I’m sure they were a little upset that they had wasted so much money over the years.
8. Organize your important documents
No matter what time of year it is, I highly recommend jumping on this as soon as possible.
Right now is a great way to organize your documents, finances, and more, all into one place. After all, it’s spring cleaning time, right?
One way to organize your important documents is to create an emergency binder.
An emergency binder is a way to store financial information, such as health insurance, financial accounts, where to find certain documents, medical information, and more.
I recommend having an emergency binder if:
- You have a family
- You have children
- You are single – this is because someone will have to handle your affairs if something were to happen to you, and they’ll most likely have no clue as to where to start. The binder can guide them.
This can be useful in non-emergencies as well. Creating a binder like this organizes all your family’s information in one place. It makes finding any piece of information quick and easy, and you’ll probably refer to it often.
The In Case of Emergency Binder can help you with creating your own emergency binder. This is a 90+ page fillable PDF workbook.
9. Get life insurance
If you don’t have life insurance yet, I highly recommend getting some now!
Life insurance is probably something you can afford. I did a quick search through Bestow, and I was able to find a $1,000,000 policy for 20 years, for less than $27 per month.
Life insurance is money for your family if you were to pass away. And, if you are the sole or primary earner in your family, then there are probably a lot of people who rely on you financially.
Life insurance is money that can be used to pay for funeral expenses, day-to-day bills, pay off debt, etc.
10. Have a money meeting
Spring cleaning your finances wouldn’t be complete without a money meeting!
During your spring money meeting, you may want to discuss money topics with your family such as:
- What can we do to lower our electric bill as the temperature increases?
- How are we doing with our financial goals so far this year?
- Are we on track with our debt payoff plan?
- How is our monthly budget looking? Should we adjust it now that it is spring?
- Do we plan on going on a vacation this year? What will we budget for it?
- Are we on track with saving for retirement?
- What money issues are we currently having? How can we solve them?
Now, what you discuss in your money meeting will vary from family to family. But, the list above is a great start.
Remember, money meetings do not have to be super formal! Try to have a little fun with it.
11. Cancel some of your TV bills
As the months get warmer, you may find yourself spending more time outside or away from your home. If that’s the case, definitely look at what you’re paying for cable, satellite, or any TV subscriptions, and see which ones you can cancel.
If you’re trying to find ways to save money on your monthly budget, and you have an expensive TV bill, I recommend finding an alternative.
12. Sign up for a rewards credit card for travel
Do you have any summer or fall vacations planned?
One way to get cheaper travel is to use travel rewards credit cards.
Using a travel rewards credit card means that you can earn rewards points towards cheap travel or cash back. You can get airline tickets, gift cards, hotel stays, cash, etc., all for simply using your credit card
If you travel a lot and/or already use credit cards, then signing up for the ones with the best rewards can help you earn free travel or cash back.
13. Find a work from home job
Are you looking for a new way to make money?
Here are work from home jobs that you may be interested in checking out:
14. Join a Buy Nothing group
The Buy Nothing Project was founded in 2013 with the idea of helping people buy less and share more. It’s an environmentally and financially friendly way to fulfill your needs and the needs of others in your area.
You can find a Buy Nothing group near you by searching on Facebook.
Buy Nothing groups are a great way to declutter your house because you can gift things you’re no longer using. The group is also a good place to start looking for things instead of heading to the store first.
My sister-in-law is part of a very active group, and here are some of the things her group has given:
- Bicycle repairs
- A week of meals for a family who is going through a rough season
- A teaspoon of cinnamon for someone who didn’t want to run to the store
- Someone was dividing plants and gifted their extras
- Emergency babysitting services
- Tutoring help
- An extra computer monitor for someone who recently started working from home
15. Start meal planning
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to making dinner, but spring cleaning is a good time to look for new ideas and get you excited about eating at home.
Meal planning or meal prepping can help you save time and money. You’re less likely to grab takeout or go out to eat when you know you have delicious meals waiting for you at home.
Here are some of my favorite meal planning articles:
16. Make a plan to pay off your debt
In this spring cleaning financial checklist, I’ve talked a lot about decluttering, and one of the best things you can do to declutter your financial life is to pay off your debt, especially high-interest rate debt.
There is some debt that’s considered “good,” such as a mortgage. But if you feel overwhelmed with a mortgage, student loans, car loans, credit card bills, medical bills, and more, now is the time to make a plan to get out of debt.
This article, Pay Off Debt and Break Free of the Debt Cycle, will help you address the root causes of your debt and help you make a plan to break free.
Let’s start this new season with a plan to get ahead on our finances!
More spring financial to-dos
In case you’re looking for more spring financial tasks, here are more ideas:
- The deadline for filing your 2021 U.S. tax return is April 18, 2022
- Start or update your estate plan or will.
- Check in on your net worth, such as with Personal Capital
- Update your monthly budget
- Plan out any spring or summer vacation spending that you may have, and create budgets for them
- Check in on your financial goals for the year
What is the importance of spring cleaning?
People say that spring cleaning your home is important to remove any dust and allergens that have built up over the fall and winter months. The same is true for spring cleaning your finances.
It’s easy to fall into bad spending habits, overspend during the holidays, and get off track with our budget. Spring cleaning helps you remove all of that funk from your financial life.
You can get a fresh start, set new goals, and look forward to the year with confidence.
What’s on your spring cleaning money to do list?