You might have read her book or watched her hit show; there is no denying that Marie Kondo is a guru when it comes to minimalism and organization.
When you think of Marie Kondo, people often think of her organization methods for your dressers and cabinets. But these decluttering principles can get applied to your personal finances by taking stock of what you have and organizing your accounts. So Marie Kondo your finances with these simple techniques.
Imagine Your Ideal Life
“Imagining your ideal life serves as your motivation and clarifies your goals before you tidy.” – Marie Kondo.
Visualizing your ideal financial life helps you identify the gap between where you are today and where you’d like to be in the future. This will help you figure out what your next steps should be.
You can consider various milestones in your life, such as the age you want to retire at, where you would like to be living at each milestone, and how much it would cost to live that type of lifestyle.
Taking Stock of What You Have
Just as you sort your clothes in piles to determine what you have and picking items to throw out, the same sorting method applies to your finances. Sort them in the following ways:
- Income: Take a look at the last three months’ bank statements and determine how much money you have brought in. Consider working from the last six months’ averages and getting a baseline income if your earnings fluctuate.
- Savings: Only use the savings accounts in your name and include savings accounts, liquid accounts, and any long-term retirement accounts.
- Debt: Have a very clear understanding of all your credit cards, loan statements, and any other debts you may have.
- Credit: Does your credit report need work? Analyze your credit rating and determine if things need to be disputed and have an accurate number.
Organize Your Spending
Once you’ve taken stock of your finances, you can start to organize your spending. To create a budget, look at your monthly income and expenses. You can examine all of your bank statements to see where your money gets spent.
Begin by allocating budget lines to items that cannot be changed immediately, such as your car payments, home loans, and student loans. Then set a goal for yourself to spend as little money as possible on things like meals and other shopping.
Streamline all of your financial documentation in true KonMari style. Sign up for e-statements to avoid receiving too many in the mail, and design a basic file system for the documents you must keep on hand. This helps you stay on track and locate the information you need quickly.
Have a Long-Term Plan in Place
It’s time to think about what makes you happy and re-prioritize your goals. The KonMari approach emphasizes focusing your energy on what will help you become the person you want to be. When it concerns your financial goals, you can think of it as striking a balance between spending on what you need right now and saving and planning for bigger things down the road.
Consider your long-term goals once you’ve gotten a better handle on your day-to-day finances. You can choose to concentrate on improving your credit to increase your future financing options. Alternatively, you might want to consider setting up automated savings to ensure that your funds are prioritized with each payment.
You might have to make some financial adjustments, but keep in mind that you’re concentrating on what you and your family find most important.
Clean Up Your Budget
Your budget might look like your messy top desk drawer at work – there’s a lot of important papers in there, but you just can’t seem to find the time to go through it.
As Kondo puts it, tidying has a long-term benefit when done in a sprint rather than a marathon. It won’t feel like you’re going on an unending task this way. So set aside a few hours to go over your home budget and, if feasible, complete it all at once.
Gather all documents you have of your expenses from the previous month, such as bank or credit card statements. Take note of how each expense makes you feel as you go over it, especially the dollar amount.
If evaluating your spending line by line seems daunting, consider breaking down your budget into categories. When it comes to decluttering a home, Kondo recommends going by item category, such as books or clothing, rather than room by room. You may similarly approach your budget, examining categories of spending such as food and entertainment.
Get Your Financial Documents Sorted
When it comes to paperwork, Marie Kondo’s rule is simple: get rid of everything. But don’t get too stressed out about this, as you still need to keep some documents.
Your paperwork can get divided into two categories:
- To be dealt with: includes bills that must get paid or forms that need to get completed and submitted. This category must get empties weekly or daily.
- To be saved: tax returns, insurance documents, account information. Further, categorize this section into “frequently used” and “infrequently used.”
There’s no need to sort further, according to the KonMari approach, as you’ll know where to look if you need to review your documents later. Finally, keep all of your paperwork in one location, such as in a filing cabinet at your home office.
Marie Kondo’s decluttering guidelines are intended to help you feel more in control of what you have by keeping things organized and simple. The same can be said for your financial situation. When everything in your finances is in order, you can be assured that you’re just focusing on the things that bring you happiness.
This article is contributed by Michelle Lee @ Legacy Edge ™