04/05/2015 01:28 pm ET Updated Jun 05, 2015

Spring Clean Your Money House

Throw out your fear, anxiety, depression and stress over money by cleaning up your life plan.

Money is one of the biggest stresses of life. According to Sonya Britt, an assistant professor/researcher at Kansas State University, "Arguments about money are by far the top predictor of divorce." The FINRA Foundation just released a study that shows two thirds of people who are victims of fraud experience "severe stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and depression." (Er. Duh.)

It is clear that one of the best things we can do for our love life, and life in general, is to spring clean our money house. The truth is that most of the ways we think we can budget better -- like cutting out café lattes or depriving ourselves of fun -- don't help at all. Meanwhile, we write big checks for life's largest expenses without ever considering that with a little forethought and creative problem-solving, we could relieve a tremendous amount of stress from our lives.

As part of the spring cleaning of your money house, let your mantra be, "I'm going to stop making everybody else rich, and start living a rich and sustainable life here and now!"
Below are 10 ways to put more dough in your wallet, largely by writing smaller checks to the big-ticket items in your budget. Yes, it will take effort to set up this new plan, however, once you do, it becomes simply the way life is!

10 Spring Cleaning Tips

1. Cut Your Health Insurance Bill in Half.

2. Adopt the Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett 14% Tax Plan.

3. Maintain Your Own Separate Nest Egg.

4. Take Ownership of Your Money and Investments.

5. Are Your Life Insurance Payments Killing You?

6. Save $2,000/Year or More in Transportation Costs.

7. Stop Making the Landlord Rich.

8. Reduce Your Electric Bill by Up to 90%.

9. Double Your Fun Budget. (Adopt a Thrive Budget)

10. Are You Drowning in Debt?

And here's additional information and links...

1. Cut Your Health Insurance Bill in Half.  If you are healthy and spending an arm and a leg on health insurance, then it's time to get a health savings account with a high deductible health insurance plan. You can cut your health insurance bill by up to 50%, while also putting up to $3,350/year in your HSA. Learn more at

2. Adopt the Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett 14% Tax Plan. Mitt and Warren pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries because their income is not earned income. It is investment income. If you put 10% of your income into a tax protected retirement account, and it earns a 10% gain, you'll have more money than your annual income in 7 years, and your money will make more than you do within 25 years. Investing (money while you sleep) is the only ticket to financial freedom -- and to reducing your tax bill by 50% or more!

3. Maintain Your Own Separate Nest Egg and HSA. Just do it. Find a way.

4. Take Ownership of Your Money and Investments. Know what you own. You don't want to profit from the companies you are protesting... or lose money on them either, particularly as we are in the 7th year of the current bull market. Know which companies the money in your 401K, IRA, pension, insurance and annuity is invested in. Make sure that your plan is diversified, so that you are safe, protected and profiting, rather than be vulnerable and having blind faith that it will all work out. The last two recessions cost Americans 55% and 75% respectively. Wake up and take charge.

5. Are Your Life Insurance Payments Killing You? Is life insurance really the best way to protect your future? Have you read the fine print on your policy, or thought about how much more money you would have if your money were compounding gains in a 401K? I know a lot more people who couldn't afford to keep up their premiums, and thus lost their life insurance, than I do people who made a mint on their policy. Actually, that's a good thing. They lived too long...

6. Save $2,000/Year or More By Rethinking Your Transportation. The average American spends $2,000/year on gasoline. If you were riding a bike to work, you'd be saving that dough, while promoting your own health. Should you carpool or move closer to work? Telecommute a few days a week? Buy an electric car? Stop making the oil companies rich!

7. Stop Making the Landlord Rich. Housing has become unaffordable in the coastal regions, to the point that some enterprising Millennials at Google are living in their cars. Others are purchasing homes in the more affordable countryside (and renting efficiencies in the city). The Odd Couple is based upon a couple of divorced dads who live together to cut expenses. Creative thinking on your housing is often the best way to adopt a more sustainable budget.

8. Double Your Fun Budget. (Adopt a Thrive Budget). When you limit your basic needs expenses to 50% of your income, you have 50% left to "thrive" on. With a Thrive Budget, you can start living a rich life here and now, while you are young and healthy enough to enjoy it.

9. Reduce Your Electric Bill by Up to 90%. If you install LED lighting, insulate your home, put a timer on your water heater (or install a solar water heater), turn off the heating/cooling when you're not at home and unplug your cell phone/computer charger, then you could save up to 90% on your electric bill every month. If you're in an area where you can connect solar power to the grid, then generating your own solar power could take your electric bill to zero. The government is still offering a large tax credit for almost all of these energy efficiency and sustainable power upgrades through the end of 2016.

10. Are You Drowning in Debt? If you are like 1/3 of Americans and are in debt collections, or like 8.1 million Americans with a home that is worth less than your mortgage, then it's time to look into real solutions for your debt problem. If you are letting the debt collector and the bank design your plan, then you are making them rich at your own expense. Learn about your options in the Debt and Real Estate Sections of The ABCs of Money.

Earn more. Spend less. Invest more. Thrive more. You can do it.

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