How cleaning up can turn into more cash in your pocket.
March 20th marks the official start of spring with the spring equinox. For many, this means blocking out some time to take care of a laundry list of spring cleaning tasks. After all, this is the time to knock off the dust of winter, clear out the clutter and get your life refreshed for warmer days ahead.
While getting organized is reason enough for spring cleaning, there’s an even greater benefit to be had when it comes to your finances. By adding a few simple tasks to your spring cleaning to-do list, you can find savings to freshen up your financial outlook. This can give you extra cash to cover trips the summer or to knock out that last bit of holiday debt still hanging around and gathering interest on your credit cards.
Here are three ways you can turn spring cleaning into substantial savings:
Freshen up to save at home
According to the Department of Energy, the average family spends about $1,300 on energy bills. If you want to save money, simply find ways during spring cleaning to shore up your home to reduce your energy costs.
- Start by checking door and window frames for cracks or gaps that can develop with seasonal temperature changes.
- Clean out the lint traps and vents in your large appliances, like your dryer, to save money and avoid expensive repairs or costly fires.
- If you’re repainting your house, freshen up your paint job with lighter colors that reflect sunlight.
In addition to energy savings, if you have a lot of items (clothes, toys, etc.) that you want to get out of your house, have a yard sale or sell the items online to generate some extra spending money.
Clean up when you clean out your car
Your transportation costs are extremely dependent on how much gas mileage you can get out of your car. When you think about it, even 5 extra miles per gallon on a 10-gallon tank means 50 extra miles you can travel before you need to fill up. So it pays to keep your gas mileage as good as possible.
- Clean out clutter in your trunk and passenger areas. The more weight you’re hauling around, the lower your gas mileage.
- Get fresh oil ahead of hot summer weather. If you haven’t had an oil change in a while, you’ll be surprised how much new oil can boost your gas mileage.
If you’re also wondering whether you’re A/C or open windows is better for your mileage, it depends on the situation. The best strategy is to use A/C on the highway to reduce drag and then switch the A/C off and open the windows for city driving, since drag isn’t a problem at lower speeds.
Spring cleaning for your budget
So it may not exactly fit on the standard list of chores you have for spring cleaning, but it may be more important than any other task on your list. Now is a great time to review your budget to see if your spending is on target. Take an hour to evaluate your spending and see if your budget is cluttered with unnecessary costs. If you haven’t paid close attention to your finances in a while, there’s a good chance you have some areas where you could clean up your finances to save.
You can also make seasonal adjustments, such as increasing grocery costs since the kids will be home or boosting your gas budget since fuel is more expensive during the summer. In addition, if you plan on taking a vacation this summer, make sure to start setting money aside now, so you’re not relying on credit to cover your trip expenses.
If you’d like more information, visit Consolidated Credit’s guides to Cutting Energy Costs and Cutting Car Costs, and if you’re planning a summer trip don’t forget to visit our special section on Vacation Budgeting.