Spring cleaning that spruces up your bank account
From the fresh scent to the sparkling shine, spring cleaning your house will lift your spirits and may even improve your health. But April shower-May flower season is also a great time to spruce up your household budget. From budgeting strategies to selling hacks that put some money in your springtime pocket, try these seven tips:
1. Start New Years resolutions Round 2
Spring is the time for new beginnings. Okay, so you already tried to take steps to benefit your budget starting the first of the year. Now’s your chance to try again, especially for resolutions to track spending, save for a vacation or even just to quit spending so much on lattes when you have a perfectly good coffee machine for free at work.
2. Double check how much tax you’re withholding
If you filed taxes for last year and got a refund, good for you. But don’t do it again next year! Instead, make that money work for you throughout the year by bringing the amount you withhold in line with the actual tax you’re required to pay. You may need your tax professional’s advice so you’ll get close to breaking even without owing any tax next April 15. But it’s simplicity itself to file a new W-4 with your new withholding amount after that.
3. Cut back on eating out
Change one habit this spring to save money and calories. Spring seasonal produce like asparagus and lamb make it more appealing to start cooking at home again. Save even more by carrying lunch to work and enjoying the balmy weather while you eat.
4. Get your gardening supplies together
While seed catalogs and fragrant garden supply stores can lure even the most budget-minded at the end of wintry weather, save money by shopping your own place first. Locate any seeds you’ve bought in the past couple years to see which are still good and plan your planting calendar. Get a jump on grocery savings by planting cool-weather edibles like snap peas, which thrive even before the last frost date. If you only have a few seed packets, plan an early spring seed swap with friends so you can all save money.
5. Cash in unused gift cards
It’s been long enough since the holidays. By spring, you should know which gift cards you received as presents might be better cashed out. You won’t get full value but you can score some spending money by reselling your gift cards online at sites like Raise, Cardpool or SaveYa.
6. Clean that closet and then sell the discards
Another way to actually make money with spring cleaning (versus saving): Sell the clothes you clear out via an online consignment store like thredUp, Poshmark or Tradesy. To make sure you’re really making a dent in your unused wardrobe, follow the advice from the Illinois-based Arlington Heights Fresh Tech Maid Service. It recommends pulling every single thing out of your closet before beginning your evaluation, from suits to shoes to accessories like scarves. Then make sure you thoroughly wash down the interior closet walls and doors before deciding what goes back and what is set aside for consignment. Not only will you find stuff you’ve forgotten all about in the back or on the floor, but you’ll also be willing to sacrifice more items to sell instead of pushing them back into the closet.
7. Start a side hustle helping others with their spring cleaning
If you’ve gotten your clutter down to a level that would make Marie Kondo proud and don’t need to change any other budget habits, spring cleaning can still pay. Consider turning your organization and scrubbing skills into a temporary side hustle for the spring. People will pay decent money if you can help them with spring cleaning chores from de-cluttering to lawn chores to selling their stuff for them online.