By now, you’ve probably heard of Mari Kondo’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In the book, author and professional organizer Mari Kondo describes how to declutter and simplify your life using her methods. The #1 bestseller on the New York Times list has developed a cult-like following, according to the Wall Street Journal, with people all over the world thanking their possessions for their service before tossing or donating them.
If this all sounds a little “New Age” or hipster (“life-changing magic”? Thanking your possessions?), I would have once agreed with you. Then I read the book, and I realized that while Mari Kondo’s presentation style can be a little far-fetched, the whole decluttering and simplifying your life is fantastic for so many reasons.
I recently implemented the KonMari method (Mari Kondo’s name + method) into my finances, and I’ve realized using the KonMari method on your budget can help you save money, make money, and finally get your finances under control. Here’s how I use the KonMari method to manage my finances, and how you might want to as well.
Using the KonMari Method on Your Budget
The KonMari method is designed to help you declutter, simplify and organize your life – many things we all strive for in our budgets, too. The primary questions asked throughout the KonMari method is: does this thing give me joy? If the answer is no, Mari recommends you discard it (or don’t buy it if you were about to).
According to Mari Kondo, clients who truly embrace the course have the most success. In fact, Mari says that of those who embrace the KonMari method, there is a 0% failure rate. If you’re serious about managing your money, it might be time to try the KonMari method and see if it’s right – and successful – for you.
Using the KonMari Method to Save Money
What’s interesting about the KonMari method is that it’s all about working with what you have first. Mari Kondo requires you to go through your stuff first and discard everything that doesn’t immediately make your life better.The KonMari method actually asks you to touch and ask your possessions “does this bring me joy?” Surprisingly, this works!
What this means for your finances is reviewing everything you pay for now and asking if it really makes you happy. Yes, this includes your mortgage payments too! Almost everything in your budget can be negotiated, and if it can’t, consider downsizing or eventually making a move that makes you happier. (Note: this may not apply to debt you can’t discharge, like student loans or hospital debt. On the other hand, you could try to call your bank and see if your payments can be lowered).
In addition, you can use the KonMari method right away, every time you go out. The KonMari method is most useful when you’re contemplating buying a new item (i.e. not food). That new shirt? Really think about if it’s right for you. If you have another shirt that will work, save your money and make do with what you have.
Using the KonMari Method to Make Money
Once you’ve gone through your budget, use the KonMari method to help you make money! Define your goal (debt repayment, travel, retirement savings, etc.) then figure out how you can augment what you bring in every month.
This is where doing the other things Mari Kondo recommends, like cleaning out your home, comes in handy. Unless you regularly clean out your home of unneeded possessions, you likely have things in your home that are valuable and that you don’t use anymore. Once identified, consider selling these items to make extra money:
Don’t forget yard sales, Craigslist, and eBay too!
In the end, the KonMari method can be very effective for helping you get your budget in order. The premise of the KonMari method is not to overwhelm you: it’s actually to get your life simpler. Instead of having file folders for taxes, insurance, home, health, etc., keep 1 file folder with important, long term items (birth certificate, for example) and 1 for immediate things, like bills you need to pay. That’s it!
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Have you heard of the KonMari method, and have you tried it? How do you currently organize your finances?
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