The final weekend and challenge of the Declutter Challenge by Femme Finance! We feel like it flew by! This weekend we are focusing on decluttering your finances, friends…and all importantly your car.
Have you ever had that feeling that your physical environment is impacting on your mental wellness? Where the piles are affecting your mental focus and that sense of overwhelm is setting in due to what seems like a lack of control. This leaves you open to the option of physically improving your environment and tidying it up, putting things in order and ultimately getting that rewarding dopamine hit to remind us that we achieved something by tidying up around us. That achievement is visible and tangible to us and those around us. It leaves us with extra head space to focus on other and more important things as we are less distracted by the chaos. If you have been joining us in the Declutter Challenge, you will have first-hand knowledge of how this feels!
But what about the matters that are unseen? How do we make conscious choices about decluttering areas of our lives that may create stress, worry or anxiety that are not physically in front of us? In particular, areas such as our finances or our friendships.
We do love to talk about all things money and finance so let’s start here. We all know that money is one of the greatest stressors in our modern world so it goes without saying that we could all benefit from decluttering our finances. Taking time to refine, revise and re-prioritise all that’s important to us in our lives and our budgets is key, but where do you start? Well, first it comes down to our values and what’s most important to us. Working with your beliefs and values, and understanding what they are, is an important first step in identifying what to prioritise when you are making personal and financial decisions in your life. From there, we can create a framework that matches with our own individual preferences and goals.
Starting with financial decluttering, we’d suggest that you review your current expenses. A great way to do this is to check over your bank statements for the previous few months and reflect upon what you’ve spent in different categories. Do you feel good about what you see? Are there any items on your statement that make you feel regretful? These are obvious items to address.
You could either cut these out all together or consider scaling them back if you’ve been excessive in certain areas. Becoming conscious of what has been spent, is also a great way to identify “money leaks”. Those costs that are coming out that you forgot about and are no longer adding value to your life. Those unused memberships and subscriptions are lowing hanging fruits and are as easy to cancel as an email or a phone call. If you’re like us, you enjoy spending time with your loved ones and this might include meals out, but does this need to be your go to? Would you enjoy the company or your friends and family with a walk on the beach as much as you would with a dinner out? It’s all about rethinking what the value of spending that money brings. Ditching comparisons (after all it is the thief of joy) and living with intention, is a fabulous starting point to decluttering your financial life. There might even be opportunity to increase your financial position by deciding that certain items that you own no longer serve you and the act of decluttering means you’ve now got items to sell! Cha-ching!
We do love goal setting and once you’ve reviewed your finances, it’s a great time to set some new financial goals based on your newly identified values. (Read our blog about Goal Setting here An Om Moment – (femmefinance.co.nz)) Once you’ve established these, setting up some financial budgets and strategies to meet the goals is a key step to mindfully implementing them. This may involve setting up automatic payments, direct debits and automating your finances as much as possible to free up some head space and worry. There is something rewarding in a ‘Set and Forget (but still check)’ system. Your goals might include debt reduction, savings, investing or even just simply spending less on items that don’t actually contribute to your happiness. We’d also encourage you to think about not only short or medium term goals, but also long term goals. If you genuinely want to be financially independent and retire early, how are you physically going to achieve it? Are your goals lofty or is there actually a path that you can take to achieve them? Being honest with yourself (and your significant other if you have one) about what’s important and what you value most, will help pave the pathway to the actions that need to be created to achieve the big values based financial goals. If being mortgage free as quickly as possible is a dream, then would you consider tiny house living? Or if you want to live in the dream home by the beach, are you prepared to work for the extra years that it will take to pay off the much higher home loan? These are the big questions to consider when setting values, decluttering and taking control of your finances. Being in control of your finances reduces stress, anxiety and helps you sleep better at night. We promise you that this time and consideration is worth the effort! (Have a browse of our FREE Finance downloadable’s here… Shop/Resources – (femmefinance.co.nz))
Decluttering doesn’t just apply to our physical space and our finances. What about the people that we surround ourselves with? Do you think there is the option to more purposefully choose how we spend our time and with whom we spend it? Do you have friends or family members who lift you up, inspire you, make you laugh and are a pleasure to hang out with? We hope so! Contrary to that, do have other people in life who are an absolute downer? They leave your tank empty and are a drag to be around? Have you ever considered decluttering when it comes to people?
It’s a hard concept to work with, especially with people that you’ve know for a long time. However, if the quality of your life is going to improve by “decluttering” all areas of your life, would you consider moving your boundaries when it comes to your relationships? This doesn’t need to mean cutting people out of your life completely (although it’s an option), but it may mean reducing the frequency of seeing some people or having the hard conversation with them about what you are prepared to discuss in order to keep the experience positive, when you do spend time together. It is your right to set boundaries and if these boundaries are not acceptable to these folk in your lives, they have the right to walk away too!
Now whilst this one is more in the physical realm, what would the decluttering challenge be without some mention of tidying up our acts around what is often our second most expensive asset? Our cars of course.
We may know those people who love their cars so much that they keep it immaculate 24/7, but for many of us this is not the reality. It seemed a bit judgey but we recently read a book that alluded to the idea that you can’t be a “wealthy woman” (you can try and guess which American financial author this is) if your car looks like a garbage can. Whilst we understand that the sentiment that cleanliness is about respecting the importance of order and organisation, and we don’t disagree, we know that in reality we all lead busy lives and sometimes having an immaculate car doesn’t rank at the top of our list of priorities. We also know though, that it feels so good for the days following a good clear out, vacuum, and clean of our car. In fact, who is not inclined to declare that they’ll never let it get messy again?
We like a plan, so here’s what we are going to do:
- Have rubbish bag at the ready
- Start from the front
- End in the back
Keeping it simple!
We will leave you to mull over which of the areas needs your most immediate attention over Weekend 5 of The Decluttering Challenge by Femme Finance, and we would love to hear what your experiences are.
This is the last challenge, and we encourage you to consider the elements of minimalism and keeping on top of the clutter be it physical, mental, or spiritual.