There’s nothing more refreshing than a good old Spring clean, where we can shed the winter skin and step into the new season with a spring in our step. Although it’s great to clean out your drawers, wardrobe, storage spaces and garage, what you may not have considered before is Spring cleaning your finances.
We give you our 5 tips on how to de-clutter for Spring and for your financial future!
- Receipts and paper
Although we live primarily digital these days, with most of us not even carrying cash around any longer and solely relying on tapping our cards, we somehow still continually accumulate paper and receipts. If you’d like to keep it all in the cloud rather than spread sporadically across your desk, room, office space and car, clean up the mess and consider apps such as Mobile Doc Scanner, Shoeboxed and Expensify. If you’re the type who needs to hold it and see it, find a way to sort your backlog of papers and records, such as via a filing system or a folder. Plus most of us love any excuse to go stationery shopping!
As Marie Kondo says “Does it bring you joy? If you answer yes, then keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, donate it or throw it out.” Have a look through your receipts and records and decide whether you need to hold onto it. Some things may be required, such as for tax returns, however the ATO states on their website that you’re not required to keep your original paper receipts provided you’ve kept electronic copies that are a true and clear reproduction of the original. The myDeductions tool allows you to take or add a photo of your receipt, provided the photos display:
- Name or business name of the supplier
- Amount of the expense, expressed in the currency in which it was incurred
- Nature of the goods or services
- Day the expense was incurred
- Date of the receipt.
If you change your device, you can use back up to transfer your myDeductions records to your new device, meaning there’s no need to keep the hard copies, provided you’ve backed up the digital copies of your relevant receipts and papers.
- Re-evaluate your budget
If you’ve had to deviate from our old budget, you may avoid looking at it again to forgo the guilt that comes with knowing things didn’t go to plan. However, a little self-forgiveness can go a long way, coupled with some motivation to jump back on the bandwagon. Use this cleansing season to look at your previous budgeting framework in a new light, to restart some structure behind your spending. You’ll likely find that your goals and aspirations have changed, your income may have altered and your bills (hopefully) may have dropped, so a new budget was in order regardless!
- Cull your unused items
A more traditional approach to Spring cleaning, but financially beneficial nonetheless, is culling your items whether that be unused items such as surfboards collecting dust or clothing you’ve buried in your wardrobe for years. 85% of Aussies have unwanted items they could sell, according to Gumtree’s 2020 Second Hand Economy Report, with approximately $5,800 worth of unwanted items in every household. You could use websites such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or apps such as Carousell and Depop.
- Take some time to contemplate your super
Consider whether you can plan to make an extra superannuation contribution before the end of this year. This extra contribution could mean an ample amount more money for you at retirement, all thanks to compound interest. Of the many benefits that come with an increased super balance, if you have to take time out of the workforce in the future, either to have children, as a result of illness or to take care of another, attending to your super sooner rather than later could be the key to a stress-free and more confident time away from the workforce.
- Review memberships
Perhaps this time in lockdown has helped you learn that a particular membership you’ve been paying for didn’t really leave you feeling as fulfilled as you’d expected. We’ve all had to be so creative during this time of staying put in our homes, and maybe you’ve turned into a home-gym lover and can forgo that expensive membership to your local health club. It also could be a great time to re-evaluate your insurance policies, potentially tempting you to contact the companies you’ve been loyal to and ask for a better deal, or shop around for a far more competitive price.