We all know how important it is to cleanse our bodies.
We cut down on processed foods, drink less caffeine and alcohol, and detox from ingredients like sugar and gluten.
But what about a cleanse for our wallets?
Food and money have a lot in common. We deal with them on a daily basis and need them to survive, and both are emotionally charged. You might feel a surge of joy followed by an immense guilt after eating three slices of ice cream cake; similarly, your emotions might spike and plummet after you splurge on three new bikinis for beach season.
A lot of what we spend and eat on a day-to-day basis is based on habits that can become very automatic and hard to break; consumption that is ingrained into our daily routines.
It’s time to get these toxic habits out of your system! It’s immensely powerful to break the spending cycle of joy and guilt.
Cleanses are all about getting back to the basics and breaking those bad habits, so that you can form new, beneficial ones. With some structure, it’s not as restricting and daunting as you might think!
Here is a breakdown of how you can embark upon a successful money cleanse, in five simple steps:
1. Introduce yourself to the bare necessities.
Cut out all frivolous spending, so you can get to the bottom of your relationship with money. You can spend on groceries, bills, transportation, and health expenses—nothing more.
2. Convert to cash
When we use cash, we become more aware of our spending. It might sound counterintuitive, but managing your spending habits becomes simpler without a credit or debit card. Either your wallet is full, or your wallet is empty. You see the flow of your money in real time.
3. Monitor your spending
Over the course of a week, you can begin to monitor what you really miss and what you are surprised you can easily live without. You’ll be motivated by the amount of money you’re saving in the meantime, and you’ll likely think to yourself, “This is a lot easier than I thought!”
4. Learn to forgive, in order to learn
Even with all the progress you’ve made so far, you’ll most likely slip up and purchase something you didn’t mean to. It’s very important to forgive yourself.
Like I said, our habits become very automatic and as soon as we let our guards down, we may catch ourselves swiping a credit card on something we are in the habit of buying. Take this moment to truly consider your motivations behind your spending.
5. Reassess your values
Understanding your values and what’s really important to you is the key to financial wellness. Your spending and use of your time should point to your values—meaning, you should be spending the majority of your time and money on things of utmost importance.
If you’re not, you’re unaligned with your spending and have the opportunity to use your money in much more meaningful ways. For example, if family is really important to you, but you spend no time with them and no money on spending time with them, you’re missing out on very fulfilling spending.
You may want to plan more trips with them, or even plan to visit them if they aren’t nearby. I call this putting your money where your heart is.
When you get back to the basics, you can really see where your money is serving you and where you’re spending due to peer pressure, habit, or lack of awareness. When you maximize each dollar, you’re really living at the source of financial freedom.
If you want to cleanse with more structure and an amazing support system, check out my 30-Day Money Cleanse that launched July 1st. After the 30-day cleanse, you will break bad money habits, flush money toxins and feel confident, powerful, and in charge of your financial health! I invite you to Money Cleanse with me here.
This article was originally published on GoGirl Finance.