Spring cleaning your finances

Think of making a budget like spring-cleaning: It’s a great way to get things in order around your house, and you’ll feel so much better after it’s done.

I know lots of people think of a budget as something that limits freedom. (I know because I was one of them!) But just like getting all those old clothes out of a closet and into a yard sale or finally Marie Kondo-ing your kitchen cupboards, there’s a sense of relief once it’s done. Both spring cleaning and budgeting give you freedom and space to do more of what you want to do!

Here are three things to remember that will make budgeting and spring cleaning much easier:

  1. Tackle one area at a time

Don’t think you have to clean the entire house in one fell swoop. Pick a small room to start and go after it. Once you have a little task done, go on to something larger. Same goes for your budget. Don’t focus on saving 15% of your income or tens of thousands for your kids’ college fund—that gets overwhelming fast! Start with Baby Step 1: Get $1,000 saved for emergencies. Then, tackle each Baby Step as you get there. For more on the Baby Steps, go to www.rachelcruze.com.

  1. Start with a small task

If you begin cleaning and organizing in your bedroom, do something small and simple like cleaning out a drawer to get yourself into a work groove and see some progress. Just like budgeting for your debt snowball where you target one debt at a time (starting with the smallest), this approach will get you motivated to clean the rest of the rooms in your house.

Here’s the next small thing to check off your list! It couldn’t be easier to make sure your family, your savings, and your identity are covered with the right insurance policies. Take this 5-Minute Coverage Checkup to see what you need and what you don’t:daveramsey.com/coverage-checkup.

  1. Give yourself plenty of time

You don’t need to have a schedule that would make the hosts of Hoarders beg for a rest. Set a timetable for yourself for each task. It’s your house, so that means you get to operate onyour clock. There’s no need to compare your progress to anyone else’s—and no need to think you’re not winning because you’re not at their level. Same goes for your progress as you budget, save money, and pay down debt.

You may feel like your house and money situation are both in a mess—and who hasn’t at one time or another? That’s totally normal. But the good news is, both situations can change starting right now!

About Rachel Cruze

As a #1 New York Times best-selling author, host of The Rachel Cruze Show and The Rachel Cruze Show Podcast, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at www.rachelcruze.comyoutube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.