6 Action Steps to Take When You Need a Financial Cleanse

financial cleanse

Not feeling so fiscally smart lately? Even if you have some bad spending habits, by reading this list you can set yourself up for success. Start today, not tomorrow in order to get a financial cleanse.

Who knows – you may be able to put that saved money towards that dream vacation at the end of the season, pay off looming debt or save up for an emergency fund. Below are six steps from CO-OP Financial Services on how to go about it.

Track your spending.

While it may sound tedious, start by monitoring your spending. This will help you see where your money is going and to pinpoint any “money pits,” areas in your budget where you’re spending too much. These days, there are plenty of great budgeting apps such as Personal Capital or Mint at your disposal to make it easy. While tracking your spending gives you information on your spending woes and saving wins, it’s putting the work into changing your habits so you become a successful saver that makes the ultimate difference.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.04.24 AMTake inventory of what you have.

While taking inventory of your possessions, use it as an opportunity to do some decluttering. It’s a great way to see firsthand how much stuff you end up not using and can stop you from buying stuff you don’t need. To start your purge, you can apply Marie Kondo’s ever-popular KonMari Method. Make sure you get rid of stuff shortly after you’ve decided to toss or donate it. Otherwise, you may find yourself having second thoughts.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.37 AMGo 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, Flanders suggests unsubscribing from your favorite stores’ email newsletters and unfollowing them on social media. Be sure to also unsubscribe from lifestyle blogs, as they can also create unnecessary material wants. “Don’t feel bad about it—even if you know the store owner,” says Flanders. “You need to remove all temptations.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.03.41 AMKeep a list of your spending regrets.

We’ve all experienced buyer’s remorse at one time or another. We would suggest creating 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 the same habits.

It’ll also help give some insight to when you made emotional purchases and impulse buys. Were there certain times during the past year where you were going through a difficult time in your life, such as stress on the job or a bad breakup, and splurged to boost your mood? Or maybe you tend to fall prey to super sales? By pinpointing circumstances that caused you to make these purchases, you may think twice the next time.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.04.40 AMGo on a fiscal fast

To help you change your bad money habits, you can go on a “fiscal fast,” which is when you stop 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, where you do it with your family, friends, or co-workers.

Once you’ve completed your fiscal fast, you may find out that there’s a lot you can do without. It can also help you realize that a lot of the times we may spend out of habit and not from necessity. You can do this once or twice a year for a week or commit to a longer amount of time.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.03.31 AMStay accountable.

During your financial cleanse, you may find it difficult at times to stay on track. If you’re determined to stick to your financial cleanse, stay accountable by partnering with a friend or make an agreement with someone. Besides support, your friend can also offer you financial tips. If you fall off the bandwagon and relapsing into a bad habit, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to the best of us. Just recommit to your goals create checkpoints to help you along.

Going on a financial cleanse will help you develop a better relationship with your money and develop saving habits. By going through a cleanse, it will put you back the driver’s seat so you can take control of your finances.

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Brian Meiggs
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Brian Meiggs

Brian is the founder of My Millennial Guide, a website aimed to help people take control of their financial lives. When not helping others reach their financial and career goals, Brian can be found at the gym, traveling, crossing items off his bucket list, or exploring Washington, DC! You can learn more about him here.
Brian Meiggs
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  1. I like your suggestion, “Make sure you get rid of stuff shortly after you’ve decided to toss or donate it. Otherwise you may find yourself having second thoughts.”

    I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through the process only to hold off actually getting rid of stuff because I wanted to think more about it.

    A few months later, it’s all still there and then you really feel uncomfortable getting rid of it because you can’t remember exactly what was it was. So you start over.

    • I know exactly what you mean, it can be a repetitive cycle if not done shortly after you’ve decided to toss or donate it. For those reasons, I like to get rid of it right then and there otherwise it will likely stick around for the next few months.


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