10 Ways to Make Sure Your Finances Spark Joy

Thanks to Marie Kondo, we now can’t talk about anything in the house (and in life) without asking ourselves; ‘But does it spark joy?’

Grist / Gary Gershoff / WireImage / Getty Images

Grist / Gary Gershoff / WireImage / Getty Images

Since Netflix released the series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo earlier this year it seems like all of us are following the organisation guru’s KonMari method and rethinking our treasured belongings by doing one simple thing; choosing joy.

But it has me asking, what does ‘choosing joy’ even mean? and can we apply the concept to more than just our physical spaces? Can we apply it to our finances?

We have done a little research as to how we could spark a little joy on our finances (what a wonderful concept) and what it might look like. Ahead are ten tips to get you started.

1. Create your own financial categories.

Marie Kondo's KonMari method asks people to tidy their lives by category — such as clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental items. But when it comes to our bank accounts, obviously these themes do not exist automatically. The first step to joyful finances is to break your budget down.

Take a look at the last couple months of your bank activity and categorise to understand your own spending behaviour. It might look a little like; Living (e.g rent, bills, council tax), Food, Savings and Fun - the most essential!

2. Set up a recurring direct debit for savings

Setting up a monthly direct debit into your savings account for as little as £30 - £50 will quickly add up and you probably won’t even notice it’s missing!

3. “Clean out" your expenses.

I am sure we all have that one payment going out monthly for something that we don’t even use (that gym membership maybe or a subscription to a magazine you don’t even read?) If you have been meaning to cancel it but life keeps getting in the way stop reading this article and go and do it NOW!

We appreciate that Netflix is basically a necessity right now but why not see if you can split a family account with friends (or like most of use continue to use someone else’s).

4. Set yourself some goals

Take a moment to outline your long-term financial goals - from putting a deposit down on your first house, buying a puppy, yoga retreat to Bali or even having enough in the bank to start your own business - identify how much you will need and work out how much you would need to put aside each month to reach them.

Don’t be unrealistic with how much you commit, save as much as you can whilst still living your best life and once your income grows you can increase your savings. Once you know how much money you need to live and reach your goals you can set aside the rest for a bit of fun.

5. Quit one habit that’s costing you money

Used to a daily hit of caffeine from your favourite coffee shop - why not limit yourself to three times a week instead of five? Or get some extra ingredients from the supermarket to stop you ordering out. You will be surprised at how much it will add up.

6. Track what you spend

Download an app on your phone (or go traditional and carry round a notebook) to document every single penny you spend and spolier alert you will be shocked! Be savvy and use the information gathered to better inform your budget for next month.

7. Ditch the plastic

Use cold, hard cash when you can. On average, people spend 12-18% more money when they pay with a card.

8. Make sure you have an emergency fund.

Multiple financial experts stress the importance of creating an emergency fund. In fact, you should make it one of your financial goals. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a safety net can in itself bring you a lot of joy but with a rainy-day fund, whatever comes your way (unemployment, car breakdown, SOS holiday) you will be in a position to handle it.

Without one, an unforeseen expense could create a bigger mess, especially if you're forced to create debt to cover it.

9. Speak kind words to yourself

Appreciate that money doesn’t just appear when you say it out loud (unfortunately) but constantly telling yourself that you will ‘never have enough money’ or ‘never figure this out’ will push you into a negative head space - try speaking positive words out loud to yourself for a change.

Also, the idea of joyful spending can be a strange concept to get your head around but ask yourself whether an expense actually makes you happy (or whether it simply gives you a momentary high). This habit will make it easier to say no to things that won’t add any value to your life.

10. Talk to someone else

Chat with your friends, family, colleague (anyone you trust) about your finances and chances are they are feeling or have been through something very similar. You might even discover some great tips about supermarket shopping (please share if you do)!

Regardless of how much money you're currently making, applying the KonMari method to your personal financial situation is likely to change your perspective — especially if you're dealing with debt and aren't sure where to start.

What tips do you follow to get your finances back on track? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Rebecca Marley

Rebecca Marley