If you’ve been accumulating “bad money karma” and would like to purge yourself from money mistakes of the past, maybe it’s time to realign your goals with your finances and do a financial cleanse.
- Track your spending. While it may sound tedious, start by monitoring spending. This will help you see where your money is going and to pinpoint any “money pits” in your budget where you are spending too much. These days, there are plenty of great budgeting apps at your disposal to make it easy. Once you’ve gotten used to tracking your spending, putting the work into changing those habits will help you become a successful saver.
- Take inventory of what you have. We forget how much stuff we own so start by taking inventory of items you have the most of, according to Blonde on a Budget's Cait Flanders, who is on a two-year spending fast. “For example, if you have five bottles of lotion or 17 T-shirts, you don’t need to buy more. Use this as an opportunity to do some de-cluttering,” said Flanders. Make sure you get rid of stuff soon after you’ve decided to toss it or donate it. Otherwise, you might get second thoughts.
- Go on a digital cleanse.The Internet can be a huge gateway to impulse shopping. Sometimes, all it takes is an email notification to pop up about a flash sale to trigger an impulse buy. To curb buying things you don’t need, unsubscribe to your favorite stores’ emails or newsletters and unfollow them on social media. You need to remove all temptations.
- Keep a list of your spending regrets. We all experience buyer’s remorse from time to time. Create a list of recent purchases you regret. Keeping this list in your wallet or on your phone to serve as a reminder will help you from continuing bad habits. It will also help give some insight about when you make emotional purchases and impulse buys. Were there times during the last year when you were going through a difficult time like a job stress or bad breakup and splurged to boost your mood? By pinpointing these circumstances, you may think twice the next time.
- Go on a fiscal fast. Help change bad money habits by not spending money for a week. This forces you to make do with items you already have in your home. You can turn it into a group event and invite family and friends to join you. Once you’ve completed your fast, you may find out that there is a lot you can do without. It can also help you realize that a lot of times we may spend out of habit and not necessity. You can try this once or twice a year or commit to a longer period.
- Stay accountable. During your entire financial cleanse, you might find it tough to stay on track. Help stay accountable by partnering to make an agreement with someone you trust. Besides support, your friend can also offer financial tips. If you fall off the bandwagon, don’t feel bad. It happens to everyone. Just recommit to your goals and start again.
Going on a financial cleanse will help you develop a better relationship with money and develop good habits, putting you back in the driver’s seat and in control of your finances.