Tidying Up Your Finances: Clean Up Your Budget the Marie Kondo Way
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Marie Kondo, author of the phenom book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, now has a show on Netflix.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is a sweet show that focuses on a variety of families and their struggles with clutter. In each episode, Marie and her interpreter visit the featured home and guide the family along her personal method for tidying.
Now that I have approximately 5 episodes of tidying experience with Marie, I recognized that her system works with more than just clothes and clutter – it also works with your finances.
Tidying Up Your Finances
When you’re ready to get organized with your budget and change your financial path, follow this method. You will need a pen and paper, a calculator, your calendar, and all your monthly invoices for everything you spend money on (including the little things like dry cleaning receipts and your iCloud membership).
Greet Your Budget
In every episode, Marie starts by greeting the home. She finds a spot, kneels down, calms her mind, and focuses herself fully in the moment.
So, at the beginning, amid your pile of papers (or in front of your computer if you do online banking), take a minute to calm your mind. Focus on your mission to tidy up your finances, and thank your money for its work in supporting your life.
Tidying Up is a judgment-free zone. Set your standard to avoid any negative self talk about past financial choices. Remember, tidying up is your personal declaration that you are the one guiding your money from now on.
One Section at a Time
Marie has a very specific flow to her tidying system. She starts with one room, organizes it, and moves on.
How does she organize? I’m glad you asked!
She gathers all the items in a certain category (“clothes” is usually chosen for tv purposes) into a pile and goes through everything all at once. And then moves on to the next category, and the next, and so on.
For this section, take your piece of paper and draw a line down the center, forming two columns. On the left side of the paper, write down all your bills. Everything you spend money on. Don’t forget your dry cleaning bills or your iCloud payments or your Dollar Shave club subscription. Write it all down.
Does it Spark Joy?
If you have ever heard of Marie Kondo, you know this is her signature question. On the tv show, when asked what the feeling of something “sparking joy” actually feels like, she does a little happy gasp and bounces.
So now, line by line, go through your list of everything you are currently spending your money on. Does it spark joy in you?
For me, things like my mortgage and electric bills spark joy in me because I am so happy to have the house that we live in and the energy to keep it warm!
Take note of everything that doesn’t spark joy in you. Draw a star next to the items that do spark joy, and write them on your second column on your paper.
Thank You, Next
Now it’s time to cull your spending the Marie Kondo way. Rather than just going through and slashing your excess spending, take the time to say “thank you” to each item before releasing it.
Marie encourages this with all items of clothing before they hit the donation pile. At first I thought it was curious, and then I realized that this method is extremely intentional.
If you thank an item before releasing it, it lets your brain know that it served its purpose and it is finished. It seems that this practice would limit the feelings of lack afterwards, because you are verbally recognizing that you kept the things that are the best for you, the things that spark the most joy. The people on the show express feelings of fulfillment with their closet selections afterwards, because they know they kept things they truly loved the most.
Take note of the things that do not spark joy in you, and jot down some things you might do to change that. Do you honestly dread paying your mortgage each month? Then maybe it’s time to look at something drastic like selling the house and moving to a different place. Do you hate your phone bill? Shop around to find a better plan, or request your current service match their competition.
Take this time to cancel any superfluous subscriptions. When was the last time you really used Amazon Prime? Is it worth the $13/month for you? This is just an example, but be honest with yourself!
When you’ve finished this exercise, add up your new budget (all the items on the right column). Is that better?
I absolutely love helping people overhaul their budgets to live their best lives. I created a free 5 day Budget Reboot program, with easy-to-follow ideas delivered straight to your inbox that will get your finances beautifully organized in no time. Sign up today and get started tidying up those finances!
If this has helped you, don’t forget to save it for future reference!