My Attempts at Spring Cleaning Our Finances and a Challenge

Here in Minnesota, the spring season brings us green grass and all-out cleaning. Everything from the windows and automobiles, to the porch and our personal finances.

Yup, even the finances. While we’re cleaning up everything else – why not our bills and other money matters?

With the budget tightening around the house (due to my wife leaving a steadier part-time job), it’s time for my wife and I to revisit some of our expenses and also to address some other things related to our financial lives that we’ve been putting off. Spring is a great time for this.

Here’s a look at a few things that we’re going to clean-up this spring season.

financial spring clean

Will and estate planning

I know, I know. This should have been done years ago! Especially since we have a grown-up son (not to mention a rascally rabbit!). I’ve also been pretty convicted that we’re getting older and was struck with Eddie’s recent post about his father who didn’t have a power of attorney. We should have done this yesterday – but even us personal finance bloggers don’t always have our act together!  We’ve already got a meeting set-up with a lawyer to go over the details of our situation this month – so I’m looking forward to getting a will, a medical directive and power of attorney completed.




Cost for these items: Approximately $850 (but a savings in potential heart and headache)

Of course, you don’t need a lawyer for wills or even power of attorneys. LegalZoom offers you the ability to draft most of these forms online and at a lower price.

Bill reduction

Along with the estate planning – I thought I would it would be a good time to revisit some of our expenses. Charlie always recommends looking at cutting reoccurring expenses, as they can really eat up your budget. Here’s a few:

cable

Last year, the wife and I were able to get rid of cable and opted for streaming some of our “tv” instead. While we dropped cable, we did subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. The savings has been worth it however, as we’ve cut about $100 off our monthly cable/internet bill (though, I’m not sure I’m watching less tv with all the shows you can access). With Netflix and Hulu being about the same price as getting DirecTV ($19/month for starters), it may be something I want to consider – as I do miss watching golf.

insurance

Another costly and reoccurring expense that I like to take a look at every year is insurance. We’ve already been saving some money by replacing an older, used vehicle with an even older, nicer vehicle.

other subscriptions/dues

I just learned about another, cheaper online accountability software that I use to help keep me on the “straight and narrow“. I was paying $10/month for this service and now will only be paying $5/mo.

Check out Accountable2You if you’d like to help keep yourself and/or family members safe online. $4.99/month for individual – $8.99/month family.

And, our company just switched new healthcare plans this year – and with that one of the benefits is a free / reduced health club membership. We are currently members of Planet Fitness for about $22/month. But, I can see this fee getting covered once we signup for the benefit.

cell phone

I’ve been with Republic Wireless for about a year and a half now, and I don’t see myself switching back. The savings has been wonderful and service is all I need (I mainly use a WiFi connection 60-75% of the time). This alone has saved us anywhere from $20-30/month. Now, if I could just get the Mrs. on board…

Savings: $150

Group buying and bartering

Another thing that I’m a big fan of is getting others to go in on something that we all need. This month I was able to get about 7 of us neighbors together for a bid on window washing. What would normally cost us about $100-120 will only cost us $70 with the group discount price.

Along with the idea of group buying – I want to take advantage of bartering. I haven’t quite figured out what I will be bartering for this spring – but it’s on my radar and something that I want do more of.

Savings: $30

A challenge

I don’t want to stop with these items as I think there is more “financial spring cleaning” I can do.

Would you be interested in joining me? Next month (5/5/16), I hope to report back with any other things I’ve been able to cleanup in our finances – and share some successes. I’d love it if you would join me in the attempt!

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6 comments

  1. Charlie says:

    I am using antenna for TV and I’m pretty happy about it. For cell phone, I’m with Cricket Wireless with a reasonable $35/mon(tax included) plan with unlimited text/data and 2.5G 4G LTE data. Your $10/mon sounds enticing but I’m not sure if I’d like to give up 4G LTE data. I’ve also shopped around for insurance and with my current plan I could not find anything cheaper unless I reduce my insurance limits. Not really sure what else I can save on. I should probably give it a good think.

  2. Lake Girl says:

    Thanks for a good reminder to do some financial spring cleaning. It is easy to get to the point where you think you have done it all. I used to work at a restaurant and they did a lot of bartering. Maybe you could barter your eggs for some nice meals!

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