We have come to the last topic of our Spring Clean Your Life series. This week we are going to clean up our finances. I get a lot of my knowledge on finances from Dave Ramsey. He seems to make things pretty easy and has a great plan to help people take control of their finances. This topic could also go along with spring cleaning your house. Some of the larger items I am getting rid of in my own house I am putting on craigslist.com or Facebook market place to earn a little extra money. Another option after completing a major tidying of your house, is to have a garage sale. Yes, they are a lot of work for probably not much money if you don’t have large items to sell. You could make it fun and do it with a friend or neighbor so you can have an excuse to hang out or share time covering the sale. That money would be a good way to start with the first task Dave advises people with financial troubles to take care of - creating an emergency fund of $1,000 that you don’t touch unless it is an emergency, an unexpected event you can’t plan for in life. You would open a separate checking account so it doesn’t slip into your regular spending. Then when you pop a tire or your lawn mower shoots a rock at your window, you can get it fixed and not stress your budget. Then work to build it back up again and move to the next step. PAY OFF DEBT! He calls it a debt snowball. It is kind of like the spring cleaning/tidying up concept of that book I mentioned earlier, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. As you take care of the smaller debt first, you build excitement and see that it could be possible to do, a snowball effect. So make a list of all your debt, even that $100 you owe Aunt Betty. Then start chipping away at it with any extra money you get, like from the sale of unneeded stuff. The next step is building a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. This will cover loss of job, unexpected unpaid time off work, major health issue, etc. If you are to this point and don’t know how you could save that much, start getting creative. Get a part time job, ideally one that is something you enjoy doing. Are you a walker or enjoy animals, maybe you could be a dog walker or walk a person who just wants a buddy to walk with to stay in shape or chat with somebody. One major item you could look at to save money/get out of debt is your car. It’s really just a tool to get you from here to there if it’s not used for your job. Ideally you are paying cash for a car. If you are making payments, that’s a place you could do some major spring cleaning. Look for another car that cost less and trade down for now. I’m not saying get a beater that will cost more in repairs than your current car, but find an economical car that is a few years old. Then put $200 aside each month into a car savings account every month you aren’t making repairs. Well I hope you have enjoyed my Spring Clean Your Life series. I have enjoyed writing it. I would love your feedback as to the topics – which you liked, didn’t like, what I missed or should have left out. It all comes down to creating a happy and healthy life. If you can relieve some stress in the area of finances, you will be happier and have better health, because your body doesn’t have to deal with the stress. As always, if you would like to work further on any of these areas of your life, let me know and we can set up some time for coaching.