Naturally, the first thing one thinks of when you mention “Spring Cleaning” is the actual physical cleaning and organizing of your house, garage, or yard. But Spring is also a great time to ‘clean-out’ and reorganize your finances! Think about it…it’s this short break between all that Christmas shopping and the upcoming expenses of Summer vacations and/or Summer camp. Now is the perfect time to take a look at those finances!
While we won’t be taking any big vacation trips this Summer and our kids aren’t quite ready for Summer camp, we do have a few extra expenses on the horizon and we still have debt that we are trying to pay off (not to mention new hospital bills from Talon’s birth). So we took a long, hard look at where our money was going and what we could possibly eliminate.
First, we are not budgeters in our house. I admire people who can put together a budget and stick to it. We are not those people. I have a feeling that if we had a piece of paper telling us if we could or could not go out to eat on Friday night, that we would tell that paper where to stick-it and go out to eat anyhow. I have a feeling that we would go out to eat just because that paper told us we couldn’t. I know, it sounds weird. But that’s the way we are.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t keep a decent eye on our financial status. I keep our bills paid and I know what time of the month we need to be a little more hesitant on our extra spending because a good chunk of our bills are due. After much convincing from my husband, I’ve been using Mint.com a lot to watch over our finances. (He’ll be patting himself on the back when he reads this.) And I love that Mint now offers an iPhone app! So convenient!
Now, in regards to the actual ‘Spring Cleaning’ of our finances, we went through all of the ‘extra’ expenses we have each month and decided which ones we still wanted to keep and which ones were just not necessary any more. For example, we were paying $60 per month for a Verizon MiFi account (allowing us to have internet on the go). That has been a fun little bonus for my husband, especially as he travels and because his internet connection at work is so stinkin’ slow, but it’s just not a necessity at $60 per month. Instead he added internet tethering to his iPhone for a fraction of the cost. And he still has internet on the go!
The other item we looked at was our cable tv. This has been such a struggle for us! We’ve changed our service a few times in the past two years, really trying to figure out what we wanted vs. what we needed. Finally we came to the conclusion that we could do without most cable channels and live with just the basic major networks. We also got rid of our DVR…OUCH! That one hurt! It’s the one thing I miss the most. I can do without my TLC shows and Project Runway, but not being able to record a show when we are gone or pause and rewind…oh, that one hurts.
Despite the pain of not having the DVR, the cable downgrade just seemed logical to us. As Summer approaches we will be outside far more than we are inside, so we won’t be watching as much tv. Why pay for something we just aren’t using? Now we did invest in an Apple TV. The device itself was just a one-time expense and it allows us to stream or rent tv shows or movies from Apple’s iTunes store and Netflix.
Those are just two ways we are trimming the fat off of our finances. I’m hoping we can find a few other ‘over-stuffed’ areas, especially since it looks as though gas prices will only continue to rise and we alway seem to be on the go!
Do you ‘Spring Clean’ your finances? What items in your finances/budget are you looking to cut out or trim down?