Declutter Your Budget

Minimalism spills into every aspect of your life. It’s about decluttering and simplifying your home, your calendar, your relationships, and even your budget! There are so many benefits to living a clutter-free life...but did you know that some of those benefits could be becoming debt free, building an emergency fund, and even retiring earlier?

Stick with me and I’ll help you learn how to declutter your budget!

1. Take control of your budget

Stop letting your money push you around. Just like household clutter, financial clutter can also steal your joy and your peace of mind. Purge your old mindsets, your guilt, and the clutter in your budget.

  • Understand your mindset towards money
    • Realize that you are not a victim to how you were raised to think about money.
    • Realize that it’s okay to have money and build wealth, let go of that guilt.
    • Realize that like any other habit, your habits with money can be turned into positive ones.
    • Address any other mindsets or emotions that have caused you to be irresponsible towards money in the past.
  • Commit to the process
    • Just like purging your home, you must fully commit to this process, and follow through.
    • Stay on top of your financial clutter, pay attention to your weak spots, and notice your flaws.
  • Determine your why
    • Why do you want to declutter your budget?
      • Do you want to become debt free?
      • Do you want to buy a home?
      • Do you want to build an emergency fund?
      • Do you want to retire at a decent age?
    • If you have kids…
      • What would you like to be able to provide for them financially?
      • Do you want to be able to buy them a car at 16?
      • Do you want to be able to send them through college debt free?
      • Do you want to be able to leave them an inheritance one day?
    • If you’re married…
      • Have a “dream date” with your spouse. Talk about your goals.
      • What are each of your short term and long term goals?
      • What would each of you like do with your money in the next few years?
      • What does each of you envision for retirement?
      • Write out a list of your whys and your financial goals.
  • Track your spending
    • If you’ve never created a budget before and you have no idea where to start, then track your spending for a few weeks or even an entire month.
    • Learn where your money is going.
    • Find your problem areas.
    • Reassess your priorities.

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2. Create a written budget

A budget is simply telling your money where to go on paper. Creating a plan for it, and sticking to it. Learn to make your money work for you, not the other way around.

  • Bills
    • Write out all of your bills in the order they are due. Include a short description, an amount, and a due date. Hang on to this sheet for reference each month.
    • Before payday sit down and determine which bills need to be paid and how much they total up to.
  • Spending
    • After your bills are paid, determine how much you have left over for your “Spending Section”.
    • The Spending Section should include items like groceries, gas, restaurants, travel, clothing, and anything else that would be considered an extra.
    • This section will make or break your budget! You have the most control over this section, so use that to your advantage!
  • Debt
    • If you have debt, use your money leftover after your Bills and your Spending to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
    • Debt is the biggest “clutter catch all” in your budget. This is the section that everyone tries to avoid. However, when this section is purged and clutter-free (aka you’re debt free) you’ll feel the biggest sense of freedom!
    • Write out all of your debts from smallest to largest.
      • Don’t worry about interest rates or monthly payments, the idea here is to build momentum by eliminating as many debt items as possible, as quickly as possible.
      • Start throwing every extra dollar at your smallest debt (only pay the minimums on the larger items for now) until that smallest debt is gone forever! Move on to the second smallest debt, and so on, until everything is paid off!
      • Don’t get discouraged! This process could take a few months or even a few years; but like purging your home, purging your debt is more than worth the work to have that end result of freedom!

 

  • Savings
    • To backtrack for a quick minute…BEFORE you start to fully tackle your debt you should put into place a small amount of savings.
      • $500-$1,000 is recommended depending on your job stability, family size, and annual income. Use your best judgement on how much will work best for your family.
      • This small savings is to ensure that you don’t go any further into debt when something unexpected arises. AKA...cut up and stop using your credit cards to bail you out!
      • Using credit cards or borrowing money while trying to declutter the rest of your budget is like purging your bedroom closet while actively piling up junk in your garage...it’s counterproductive!
    • AFTER your debt is paid off (except your home because that can take several years)...start to save your large savings amount.
      • 3-6 months of expenses is recommended, depending again on your job stability, family size, and annual income. Use your best judgement on how much will work best for your family.
      • This is to ensure you’ll never have to go into debt again when an emergency comes up. Think of this as your protection against your budget ever getting cluttered up again!
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3. Stay motivated

Decluttering your budget, just like decluttering your home, is no easy task! You sacrifice and do without; you invest your blood, sweat, and tears; you get discouraged; and sometimes you even want to give up. It’s hard! I know, I’ve been there! This is how I recommend staying motivated during this process...

Click here to read more about staying motivated while paying off debt! 

  • Keep your “why” in mind
  • Stick to the budget you’ve established
  • Work towards your financial goals every day
  • Use visuals
    • Hang up your list of goals
    • Make charts or graphs for your debt payoff amounts
    • Get creative, use Pinterest and Google for more ideas
  • Celebrate the small wins
  • Realize that time will pass one way or the other
    • In 3 years you could be free or you could still be right where you are now.
    • Time doesn’t care what you do, it’s going to pass one way or the other, so you might as well do something productive with that time.
  • Realize that it’s not a punishment
    • Don’t look at this time as a prison sentence, look at it as a journey.
    • Don’t focus on what you’re giving up, focus on what you’re gaining. It’s all about your mindset towards it.
  • Surround yourself with motivation
    • Find like minded people to share your journey with.
    • Read books and blogs, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, and join Facebook groups.


I once sat right where you’re sitting! I was up to my eyeballs in household clutter (3,200 sq. ft. of madness), financial clutter (a half-a-million worth of debt), and emotional clutter (depression, guilt, and lack of motivation). I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired...I wanted more out of my motherhood and my life!
I put on my big girl pants and I took control of my life...and you can too!