As I tell my clients regularly, developing a solid savings and spending plan (a financial plan, if you will) is only a part of the puzzle when learning how to proactively manage your finances and live more abundantly.
If you think about it, the financial plan is the scientific part. It’s the part where we look at your net worth and how you’re using your cash flow each month, and we get to redesign how you’re using it to align with what matters to you and what your goals are. This is the skill we know and love as proactive money management.
But there is also an energetic piece of the equation and that’s how does money move in your life? In a nutshell, what is the energetic flow of money in and out of your life? As I’ve said before, money is a divine tool to be used to support you in your life, however in order to attract abundance it needs to flow and not be “stuck” anywhere.
Which is why financial clutter can be such a challenging issue when it comes to wanting to attract abundance into your life. Financial clutter stops the energy flow of money in your life and ends up leaving no space for abundance to land. It can keep you from having a true sense of financial freedom and financial independence if the energy of financial clutter is in some way holding you back (and sometimes you don’t even know it).
While there are many examples of clutter, I tend to find that there are 5 main ways that financial clutter shows up in our lives:
- Bills & Receipts Clutter – We’ve all had those moments where we’ve got a stack of financial paperwork (bills, receipts, etc.) piled up on our desks, right? While it’s energetically fine to have a short stack with the intention of filing it away later, there comes a point where the energy of the pile starts to take over your space. You know the point I’m talking about….where the pile looks like it’s going to fall over on its own it’s so big? That’s the point where having a filing system for bills and receipts is helpful. I’m a big fan of 12-section accordion-style organizers (one section for each month of the year) that you can buy at your local supply store (Staples, Office Max, etc.) and having one to file away the monthly bills that you’ve paid and another to store your receipts. At the end of each year, you can clean out the organizers and file anything that you need to keep more permanently into a folder and filing cabinet (or other storage container).
- “Ugly Wallet Syndrome” – Does your wallet look like it was run over by a car, chewed up by your dog or run through the washing machine one too many times? Or is your wallet decent looking but it’s jammed with so many receipts and cards that you can barely close it? “How you do money is how you do anything” is one of my favorite quotes. So how are you “doing” money when it comes to what your wallet looks like? If your wallet is worn down and shabby looking or if it’s packed to the gills, are you truly demonstrating respect for the money in your life? The good news is that Ugly Wallet Syndrome is easily cured – simply clean out what you don’t really need from your wallet (receipts, things you don’t use) and if you’ve been needing a wallet upgrade for a while now invest in a new one for yourself (and it doesn’t need to be expensive either…there are plenty of nice inexpensive wallets available at local department stores).
- Loose Money and/or Unused Gift Cards – It always amazes me how when we really stop to think about it how many places there are where we just leave money lying around disregarded. Whether its loose change in your car or on your kitchen counter or dollar bills floating around your purse or in your pants pockets, this disorganization can demonstrate a lack of respect for money. So let’s treat our money like we love it (because we do, right?) – go on a “money hunt” in your house, your car, and wherever else is appropriate and round it all up. And make sure to include any unused gift cards you find too (check your drawers) as this counts as financial abundance as well!
- Lack of financial automation and routine – Many people that I talk with often indicate that they don’t have any type of financial system or process in place for how they use their money. This can include everything from not having payments automatically scheduled (whether via EFT or by using your bank’s systems) to not having a regular time each week to connect with your finances and make sure all of the bills are paid and financial matters are handled (a “money date” if you will). Without these types of streamlined routines and processes in place, managing your money can feel like a stressful and chaotic “up and down” experience where you feel like you’re always having to hustle to figure things out, instead of a more methodical and thought out process. If you don’t have payments automated, take a moment or two to sit down and think about which payments could be scheduled in advance. And if you don’t yet have a weekly money date scheduled, pick a time of the week that will consistently be a good time for you to sit down and pay the bills, transfer money, and even follow up on any unusual charges (i.e. credit card statements, monthly bills higher than usual, etc.)
- Unacknowledged money that you owe to others or that others owe to you – Energetically, this type of clutter tends to be pretty heavy from what I’ve seen. If you owe money to others or others owe money to you and there isn’t some type of acknowledgement of that, resentment can build (on either side of the situation). Acknowledgment can mean something as simple as a verbal commitment to pay someone back by a specific point in time, to an actual payment plan for paying someone back, to an actual legal document signed by both parties. Additionally, sometimes this category can include unpaid taxes (you owe the government and/or you haven’t filed your tax returns on a timely basis) and any rebates you haven’t filed for money owed to you (i.e. equipment purchases, fitness rebates from your health insurance, etc.). While it may be hard to acknowledge what you owe to others or follow up to ask others about money they owe to you, it is important to do it so that you can stand fully in your financial power.
So, do any of these types of financial clutter show up for you in your life?
For the most part, we all tend to have one primary area where financial clutter always shows up. For me when financial clutter creeps in from time to time (I’m being honest here!), it tends to be with either bills and receipts or loose money (usually in the consoles of my car).
It’s best to take care of your financial clutter as soon as you identify it, however with the active lives we lead these days sometimes I recognize that this isn’t always possible. Sometimes it’s best to break it down into smaller tasks over a period of weeks, however I do recommend that once you’ve identified where the financial clutter is in your life that you do your best to clear it within a month. Otherwise, you’re consciously aware of the clutter and the challenging energy may intensify since you no longer have the excuse of not understanding what financial clutter is and its impact (ignorance was bliss before, right?).
If you have financial clutter in your life, do yourself the favor of cleaning it up as soon as possible to allow the money to flow cleanly into and out of your life so you can attract all of the abundance that you so rightly deserve.