The Netflix original series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has everyone (myself included) decluttering, reorganizing, and rethinking their belongings. The KonMari method can be been boiled down into a simple thought “Do the items you have spark joy?” Marie’s method includes how-to’s for tidying and organizing every area of your home. But can you use the KonMari method on your money?
I say, YES! Here’s how…
Using the KonMari Method for Tidying Your Finances
So many people are overwhelmed at the thought of managing their finances. Sometimes it feels easier to ignore your finances than it does to confront them…much like the families faced with tidying their homes in each episode of Tidying Up. However, ignoring your finances only leads to more stress in the long run. Stress does not spark joy.
Step 1: Establish Your Goals
At the beginning of each episode Marie Kondo tours the home of the family she is helping and then takes a moment to quietly introduce herself to the home. This is important in that it gives the family a moment to reflect on the goals and vision they have for their home. Doing this with your finances is just as important.
We all want to be in control of our lives, whether it’s the clutter in our homes or the money in our pocket. Taking time to establish specific financial goals, and envision what you want you financial life to look like, is the first step in tidying up your money.
We encourage everyone to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for their finances. That means goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. If you do not have well defined goals for your finances it will be very difficult to know if you are making true progress.
Step 2: Start by Organizing
The KonMari method segments your belongings into categories for you to focus on organizing step by step, starting with clothing and ending with sentimental items. Segmenting your belongings into categories is helpful in keeping the task of tidying manageable and keeping you on track.
You can segment and categorizes your finances too by using a budget. Just like you would with your clothes if you were on an episode of Tidying Up, you will need to lay out all of your bills, expenses, and income sources in front of you to get a full picture of your current situation.
You can use a variety of budgeting methods to help you organize your finances in a way that makes the most sense for you. However, you essentially need to sort your money into two categories: income (sparks joy) and expenses (does not spark joy). You can then segment your expenses into sub categories to help you stay more organized, such as utilities, food, entertainment, etc.
Having a deeper understanding of exactly where your money is going is key to knowing what’s holding you back from making progress toward your financial goals.
Step 3: Time To Declutter
With the KonMari method, decluttering your homes often means getting rid of many of your possessions. In the Netflix series some families have made hard decisions throughout the decluttering process and tears were definitely shed. But it’s okay, because in the end they’re moving closer to the goal of organization and control over their home.
The same is true when it comes to decluttering your finances. The process may require you to make some difficult choices as you reevaluate your financial priorities. You may need to ask yourself on a regular basis, not “does this spark joy” necessarily, but “does this move me toward my goal”?
Decluttering your finances means reducing and eliminating expenses wherever possible. To do this, you will want to first look at expenses that are easy to eliminate such as unused gym memberships or magazine subscriptions. Then look at the expenses that are a necessity but could be scaled back with a little work, such as utilities and grocery costs. Lastly, look at your purchasing habits overall. Are you buying items that are true needs or are they actually wants? While it’s okay to indulge yourself sometimes, over time it could mean the difference between having control over your finances and your finances being an unorganized disaster.
Do Your Finances Spark Joy?
For most people, their finances do not spark joy, mostly because they do not feel in control over where there money goes or that their financial future is heading in a positive direction. The first step in gaining financial control is to set goals, establish a budget, and understand which of your expenses are optional. Once you’ve KonMari’d your money, you will be able to see there’s now more space for saving money and working toward your financial goals than ever before. Now that sparks joy!