Spring cleaning for your monthly budget


Spring Cleaning for Your Monthly Budget

Give your monthly budget a spring cleaning like you would your home.

You need to spend time evaluating and changing your budget to make sure you remain on track. Now is the perfect time to give your monthly budget a dusting and clean out those cobwebs. Here are a few tips to look back over your spending and focus on tidying up your excessive spending.

Start By Tidying the Paperwork

All spring cleanings start with a simple tidying up of the odds and ends that seem to multiply throughout the home. With that in mind, you need to start by tidying up your paperwork. Put it away in the right folders, open anything that you haven't touched yet to see just how much you're spending, and throw out anything that you really don't need.

Once you've cleaned up the mess you can then work on organizing it; just like you would with giving your drawers a reshuffle. Create a folder for your household expenses, with different sections for your gas, electric, car costs and home maintenance. Put the paperwork in the different sections and make sure you follow that each week to stay on top of everything.

Throw Out the Bad Habits

Out with the old and in with the new. Get rid of the bad habits, like leaving your paperwork lying around or using the credit cards for your purchases. This will help you stop overspending and actually stick to the budget you've set.

While throwing out the old habits, bring in the new ones. The next time you really want to buy something, make sure you have the allowance in your expenditure; don't spend money needed for something necessary or already set aside. If you don't have that money, you can't buy the item. You need to save up for it instead.

Get your finances in order to avoid problems in the future.

Clean Up Your Expenses

Look for ways to save money in your expenses if you find you're overspending. It could be reducing your gas consumption to reduce your gas bill, or you may decide to cut back on the manicures to save that $50 each month. Every little bit really does help.

If you find that you have more disposable income than you expected, save more or use it to clear more of your debts. Clearing the debts will mean you have more to spend in the long-term.

Dust Off the Resolve

Make the effort to really stick to your budget. This is the most important aspect. You can set a monthly budget as much as you like, but you need to follow the plan and manage your finances. The budget is only as useful as the paper it's written on if you choose not to stick to it. Make this one of your new good habits, and it will soon become second nature.

The best thing to do is make it as easy as possible to stick to it. Invest in software, such as Mint's free budgeting software, so you can check your account on the go and see at a glance if you have the money you need.

There's no better time than right now to give your monthly budget a spring cleaning. Look back over your spending, re-evaluate it and get back on track with your financial management.

Alexandria Ingham is a freelance writer with experience in technology, business and personal finance.