Netflix’s hit show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” has viewers looking through their closets, picking up each item and asking themselves, “Does this spark joy?”
If the answer is yes, then that item gets to stay. But if the answer is no, then it goes into the donate pile. The KonMari Method™ is all about clearing out the clutter and choosing joy. Sounds great, right?
What if we applied a similar logic to our financial life?
Throughout the years we acquire different savings accounts, retirement accounts, or have subscriptions that continue to be automatically deducted from our bank account. While doing this in your financial life is going to pose a little more of a challenge since you can’t pick up your gym membership fee and ask if it brings you joy, we at least have the basic idea down – clearing out the clutter and choosing joy.
Here are four ways to “Marie Kondo” your finances:
1. Assess Your Monthly Subscriptions
As I pointed out, we can’t hold that gym membership up and ask if it brings us joy. Let’s face it, the answer is probably no anyway. But seriously, does it bring you joy? Are you getting your money’s worth?
We can apply that same logic to all of those other “extra” monthly subscriptions – Netflix, premium cable channels, donations to certain organizations, clothing subscriptions, etc.
Apps such as Truebill and Clarity Money that will aggregate your monthly payments and give you the option to cancel those that you no longer want. (Bonus: it gets you out of having to call the customer service line only to sit on hold and be cancel shamed!)
2. Go Paperless
Paper is the top contributor of clutter. We all have that filing cabinet or stack full of papers that haven’t been looked at for years. Instead of filing the papers away in the physical cabinet, we can store the same information electronically in super-organized digital folders (aka “the cloud”). Going paperless will instantly help minimize the clutter.
Some companies even offer a discount for enrolling in e-statements or paperless billing. Not only are you saving trees, but you could save some money, too!
3. Boost Your Credit Score
Your credit score is the number that lenders use to judge how financially trustworthy you are. This score is based on 5 factors – payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit, and new credit. Being aware of your credit score will help you take ownership of your financial life. Higher credit score = more joy!
There are some free resources that will help you monitor your credit score without a negative impact such as Credit Karma. Credit Karma will calculate and analyze your credit score on a monthly basis and offer suggestions on how you can to increase your score.
A few tips to get you started are requesting a credit line increase to decrease your percentage of credit utilization and keeping your older credit cards open to increase your credit length history.
4. Take Inventory and Consolidate
During our lives we have different jobs, get married, divorced, and have children. This can lead to having multiple retirement, savings, credit card, and other accounts. Take the time to compile a list of those accounts. Consolidate those accounts when possible (tip: use balance transfers to reduce your balance on high interest rate credit cards, but do not close the account). This will allow you to focus on fewer accounts, and more easily manage your money since it’s in fewer places.
Download our free financial inventory workbook to help you aggregate the information for your accounts. This workbook will help you keep track of which account is where and who you can contact regarding it. Plus, it is a great way to organize your financial life for you and your loved one’s future reference.