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After a long, grey winter, the signs of spring feel invigorating. The days last longer and you can spend more time out after work before it gets dark. It’s a commonly-held theory that when Daylights Savings springs forward, people spend more money and enjoying things as weather gets warmer they might otherwise put off in colder weather.
The arrival of spring isn’t always the best for your personal finances. But with a bit of preparation, you can make sure your finances make it through as the weather gets warmer.
#1 Spring Clean Your Debt
Is debt dragging you down? If you’re carrying credit card debt, it’s gobbling up your monthly budget. Interest rates stretch your purchasing power thinner and leave you scrambling to catch up. This spring, find a way to dust debt out of your life. You might want to talk to a certified Credit Counsellor to find the best debt relief solution for your situation.
There is an alarming number of people who spend half their monthly income servicing debt. That’s a precarious place to be and even harder to get out of. Once you are out of debt, you’ll notice that you have a lot more money in your pocket every month. Getting debt-free can help start a positive cycle of savings.
#2 Track Your Spending Habits
A simple but effective solution is tracking your spending habits. Use an app, keep your receipts, or just write down your everyday purchases and you can see how the warm weather affects your spending. If you have problems with overspending, tracking your purchases helps you identify when you’re about to pass your limit and warn you to slow down.
It can be helpful to break down your monthly budget week-by-week, and to account for one-time purchases that add to your everyday expenses.
#3 Automate Savings
If you really want to get serious about saving, automate payments to the appropriate account. It’s easy to set up monthly or bi-weekly automated payments to a savings or investment account. With the money automatically withdrawn, before long you’ll get used to it. You won’t even think about it as money that you could have spent.
#4 Sell Unwanted Belongings
With the better weather comes open windows and a sudden desire to spring clean. With new buds on the trees and flowers in the garden, there’s a sense of freshness to the world that we often want to replicate indoors. Your annual spring cleaning is a great opportunity to get rid of unwanted belongings like furniture, clothes, electronics, collectibles or media. You can pad your savings by eventually selling them online.
#5 Re-evaluate Your Year-End Goals
What goals did you have for the end of the year? Was it saving for retirement, getting out of debt, building a deck, or buying new patio furniture? Spring makes the end of the year feel that much closer, and if you’re going to reach your goal, there’s no more time to procrastinate. Take a good look at those goals and decide: are they still within your reach? What has to change financially for you to reach them?
Spring is a great time to breathe new life into your financial goals. Re-evaluate, get control of your spending, get debt free, and find more room in your monthly budget.