Well, the Marie Kondo tidying craze has gone mainstream. There’s a new Netflix series, and a long line of products now available in retail stores.
Now, I haven’t transformed my entire closet yet, but I am folding things differently. I like to think that counts for something. My drawers of t-shirts and sweaters look amazing!
As I watch the miraculous transformations in spaces on her Netflix show, I’m struck by how the change always goes deeper than just the organized closets and junk drawers.
You can see the weights that have been lifted off the shoulders of the participants. They seem happier with less stuff. Less stuff makes their life better. They have more joy, know where everything is and find effective systems to keep things Kondo’ed.
Of course (as I do), I kept relating the process back to money.
Money and finance cause so many people so much stress. We worry when things are due. We’re cluttered in our minds, in our finances. We’re not really sure, when we open that money drawer, what we’ll find or what might fall out! We need to bring simplicity and joy to our money. We need to change our money story.
But how? Is it possible to Marie Kondo our finances?
I’ve gone through six steps of the KonMari Method to show you that tidying up your financial house is not that different from tackling your sweater drawer.
With the pressures of career, family and life in general, it isn’t easy to start this process. I like to think of this step as crossing over the line from being interested to being committed. If I’m interested in dieting, I’ll have good intentions but still accept excuses for going offside. If I’m committed, I’ll stay on track and keep moving forward. Commit yourself to organizing your money. Schedule time in your calendar, even if it’s just an hour a week until you get it done.
No, it’s not easy to balance the competing demands of enjoying life today and saving for rewarding experiences down the road too. But one thing’s for sure: you can’t save for goals you don’t have.
Don’t squirrel money away because you think you ‘should’ — that’s not enough motivation to make tough choices.
Get yourself out of the shoulds and list some real short term and long term goals. When you know exactly what you’re giving up in the future because you think you want something today, you may find it easier to make a different choice.
I think of this as a mindset issue. Discard all the negative stories and mindset issues you have about money.
Don’t be scared of it.
Don’t resent it.
Don’t fear its lack or its abundance. Learn to love it. It’s incredibly important to recognize the issues that are keeping you from taking control of all aspects of your financial life. Nothing will change until your mind does.
Let’s divide up your financial life into four categories: spending, debt repayment, investments and insurance. (…recognizing that these may not all apply to your financial life at all times.) The first two are where you’ll focus your KonMari energy — they are the foundation on which your financial health is built.
Spending: A great way to approach this is to evaluate your spending for the last three months. So haul or print out the statements for your chequing accounts, lines of credit and credit cards and look at how you’re spending your money. There’s no wrong or right here! This is just to make sure you bring any unconscious spending back into the conscious realm. With the ‘tap’ system and other quick & easy ways of paying, we can quickly lose track of how much things cost and how fast it adds up. Just getting some totals can be sobering. Now you can notice whether your spending aligns with your priorities (see step 2).
Debt: Totalling your debts, including your mortgage, is an important part of your complete financial picture. So make a list: credit card debt, lines of credit, student loans, car loans, outstanding CRA bills, mortgages. List the interest rates by each of them and then figure out how much carrying a balance is costing you in interest.
By this, I mean spend in the right order.
Step 2 made us evaluate what we wanted today to live our best life, and what we would decide to do without so we could enjoy an ideal future. We set our (reasonable and balanced) goals, and now it’s time to stick to the plan.
The best way to set yourself up to stay on track is to go back to cash. So, add up what you’d like to spend on lifestyle items – eating out, entertainment, convenience foods, gifts, clothing, small luxuries — then take out that amount of cash. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
We see so much unconscious spending in the world. And it’s getting worse as the way we pay for purchases becomes easier, faster and less intrusive. We tap and swipe our way into debt, into worry, into oblivion.
That’s why I like cash.
The cash system keeps us honest. It makes us conscious about everything we spend. Cash in our pockets is a tangible, physical, and limited resource. Which means every time you hand it over, it’s a choice. You have to ask yourself – does this purchase spark joy? Is it worth dwindling down my cash allotment to buy?
“In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.” – Marie Kondo
When you’ve discarded your old money hang-ups, you have a clear picture of where your money’s going, you’ve imagined a life you love now and later, and you’re spending consciously only on what you need and what sparks joy, I think you’ll find your finances start to feel refreshingly manageable and tidy!
And if you’re curious about how to build your wealth in this new tidy financial house of yours, book a complimentary Wealth Acceleration call with me here!
Top Photo Author: www.netflix.com//MarieKondo
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