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Finding Financial Balance

Financial spring cleaning time

folding clothes

As a new season begins and the weather starts to change, many people like to have a fresh start to spring with a seasonal cleaning. Whether you set some financial resolutions for the year or not, you can always work on a fresh start to your finances. Maybe cleaning out your home can supplement your budget or provide an opportunity for giving. Reviewing subscription and membership services may be a way to cut some unnecessary spending each month or year.

Charitable donations

As you clean out your closets, you may have the opportunity to sell some clothing or unnecessary items at a garage sale or make a charitable donation that can provide a potential tax benefit. Clothing and household items in good used condition may qualify for a tax deduction, search for qualified charitable organizations to see where you can take donations. While ridding your home and life of unnecessary things, you may want to take inventory of the unnecessary spending in your budget as well.

Subscription services

Maybe you signed up for a subscription or two that may no longer be useful. Taking the time to cancel a music, video, or any streaming service may save you each month. With electronic services, you may find them useful in the beginning, but they can sometimes get away from you when you are no longer using a service. Right now, there are so many options of video streaming services and they all may have different exclusive offerings to entice people to sign up for several at a time. The same goes for some utility and communication services, even data storage plans on phones and computers may be subscribed to on a monthly or annual basis.

Membership services

Other services and memberships that could be reviewed are any auto-billed services that may have been forgotten. Recently, my family took a spring break vacation and to get the best airline prices, a membership was purchased. That membership has an automatic annual renewal unless you take extra steps to stop the auto-renewal. Sometimes it seems all too easy to sign up for something with the intention of saving money only to end up costing you more in the long-term. Another example was a membership organization that provides discounts for entertainment tickets and travel, but to get a discount on the membership an auto-renewal service is required. Be aware of the auto-renewal options.

All these memberships and subscription services add up! Take this time to challenge yourself to extend your spring cleaning to include a spending clean-up. Creating consistent intentional efforts to focus on your budget can help improve your financial wellness.


Charitable Contributions, I.R.S. Pub. No. 526, Cat. No. 15050A. (2024, February 29). 

Mahlandt, J. (2024, January 10). Financial New Year’s Resolutions. Finding Financial Balance - University of Illinois Extension.

Meet the Author


Jamie Mahlandt is a Financial Educator for Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties in Southern Illinois. She provides financial education to the local community with an emphasis on financial literacy and financial well-being.



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