How to Reduce Debt and Ditch Your Financial Clutter

Spring is here…sort of, and the pact you made with yourself to reduce debt this year still stands. Unfortunately, after months of winter hibernation, your goals might be buried somewhere under stacks of papers, unable to see the light of day.

Now is a great time to focus and start tackling those goals.

Start shedding some layers

Warm weather brings motivation. That’s a fact. Once we hear birds chirping and see the grass getting greener, we feel energized to make our spaces beautiful. So, before you begin digging up your flower beds, let’s start digging into your financial clutter. Here’s how:

  • Organize your bills. Grab a few cheap binders from the dollar store and label them. Keeping your finances organized will help you keep on top of your bills and make sure they’re paid on time. You might want to sort them into “Paid”, “Due”, and “Old” bills. If you prefer digital bills, even better! Automate your payments and use a digital calendar to track your payment schedule.
  • Review your budget. Planning to landscape your yard or renovate your home this summer? Where will that money come from? Pump the brakes and take some time to look at your budget first. What’s changed since the last time you adjusted it? Update your budget now to reflect those changes. Then, print it off and post it where you and your family can see it at all times.
  • Re-set your debt priorities. Being in debt sucks. It can prevent you from achieving other financial goals, and it eats up your monthly income. That’s why tackling those outstanding consumer debt balances can only help propel you toward bigger goals. First, choose a debt repayment strategy that works for you, whether that means consolidating your debts or asking a professional for help with debt. Compare your options here, so you can weigh out what works for you.

Visualize your goals

People are visual creatures and talking about your goals isn’t as concrete as creating a visual map. If you’re comfortable with it, create a version of a vision board that includes all your goals for 2018 and beyond. This might consist of text or pictures that remind you of what you’re working toward, whether that’s paying off debt, renovating your home, or buying new furniture. If you feel you’re getting off track, review your goals or change them to reflect new ones. Dream it, create it, put it somewhere you can see it every day. It’s that simple.

3 ways to get a head start on upcoming expenses

  1. Set yourself up for success by making your financial plan easy to follow. When you’re decluttering your finances, set up a method for easily accessing your bills or financial records. Use automatic reminders, budgeting apps or digital coupon apps that keep you within your spending parameters, yet make them easy to use. You should also set a reminder to review your credit report semi-regularly. Look for any unfamiliar charges or work towards increasing your credit score over time.
  2. During the summer months, it’s easy to get off track. The cost of day trips, picnics, family vacations and home improvement projects can all add up. Not to mention everyday expenses like summer childcare and camp fees for your kids. That’s why it’s imperative to start saving now. Use the next couple of months to squirrel away any extra money, such as your tax refund, for upcoming expenditures.
  3. Think ahead to longer-term expenses such as your best friend’s wedding, back-to-school shopping, holidays or a winter vacation next year. It may be the last thing on your radar while the weather is warm, but it’s worth packing away some extra money now so you won’t add to debt when the time comes.

Want more motivational money tips? Follow Young and Thrifty for a refreshing approach to financial freedom. Or, join our Twitter conversation and share how you plan to reduce debt and get organized this spring, using the hashtags #DebtSolutions #MoneyGoals