From Plans to Projects: How to Refresh Your Spring Without Financial Strain

Published On: March 19, 2024

Boy, did I have a fabulous weekend! After a long winter of dark, rainy days, the sun came out!!! It was thrilling, so my husband John and I headed to the park for a walk along the river. We were not alone. Everywhere we looked, life was stirring. We saw families on the beach, dogs running around, and even a pair of women navigating the path with their canes.  

The energy was palpable, a blend of vitality and renewal that only spring can bring.

I know historically, as winter fades and the days start warming and brightening, people feel much lighter and more excited about Springtime. It is a time of rebirth, renewal, and fresh starts, so it’s totally normal to think about a home refresh, wardrobe refresh, garden refresh, weekend getaways, and all the things we think of when the days turn warm and sunny.

As Tolstoy once said, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

Plans and projects can mean spending a lot of time, energy, and money. (TEM) The enthusiasm to refresh everything can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed, especially when we start tallying up the time, energy, and, yes, the money all these projects might require.  

This reality may cause you to freeze and do nothing because you don’t know how you will pay for it. Or, you may not want to think about the money and assume that it will be OK in the end. 

Whether you’re feeling stuck at the thought of expenses or diving headfirst into plans, hoping the budget will somehow work itself out, I get it; I’ve been there, too. Through these experiences, I’ve crafted a six-step process to embrace a “Do No Harm Spending” approach, ensuring you can move forward with clarity, mindfulness, and joy. (See my blog Transforming Your Money Mindset: Beyond Budgeting to ‘Do No Harm’ Spending)

These steps work regardless of where you fall on the continuum, so let’s dive in! 

Step 1: Categorize Your Projects

Start by defining the main areas you want to refresh, like

  • Garden
  • Home Repairs
  • Wardrobe

Step 2: Break It Down

Detail the subcategories within each main area. For instance:

  • Garden: Winter cleanup, planting bulbs, starting a vegetable garden.
  • Home: Fixing the fence and updating linens in the bedrooms.
  • Wardrobe: Refreshing tops, bottoms, sandals, and trainers.

Step 3: Assign Costs

Estimate how much each subcategory will cost and total them up. If it fits within your budget, great! If not, proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Needs vs. Wants

This is crucial. Review each item and ask yourself, is it a need or a want? We can never get enough of what we don’t need, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Be sure to Prioritize the needs first.

Step 5: Get Creative

Make adjustments to your plan. Get curious by reviewing your lists and asking yourself if some of your needs can be met by spending less or no money. The goal is to do no harm spending. 

Step 6: Track Your Spending

Once you have a workable plan, be sure to track your spending against that plan. This is where the emotional heavy lifting occurs because you will have decisions to make that may not feel great.  It’s not uncommon to start a project and have it take on a life of its own and go way over “budget.” Ask yourself if there are ways that you can spend less or no money on that specific project. 

Step 6 Top Tip

Don’t stop tracking. If I have heard it once from clients, I have heard it a thousand times. “The ( project, vacation, Christmas, etc.) was exceeding my plan, so I just stopped tracking.” 

Noooo, the solution is to go back to Steps 4 and 5. Once we get curious about how to meet our needs within certain parameters, solutions often appear that we could not have imagined.  

Be sure to congratulate yourself every step of the way. These steps can be challenging, and creating a new way of doing things can be difficult, but I promise you that if you trust the process and take these steps, it can be life-enhancing.  

In Closing

If your budget is tight this spring, remember that the most meaningful refreshes are those that bring us closer to our loved ones and ourselves. They’re about making space for new growth in our gardens, our homes, and our hearts.

I’d love to hear your plans, challenges, and creative solutions for this spring. Together, let’s inspire and support each other in embracing the season of renewal with open hearts and mindful spending.

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