It is almost Spring and what better way to start off this season that to spring-clean your finances. Want to get organised and start saving (maybe for that holiday later on in the year)? Check out our helpful tips.
Winter is on its way out and Spring is on its way. While you are tossing out old clothes, decluttering and scrubbing floors and thinking about your waistline in preparation for the summer, why not think about spring cleaning your finances?
If you have ever:-
- Lost money or incurred charges because of poorly organised paperwork?
- Needed to locate a document with very little searching and at a moment’s notice and found it an insurmountable and rather stressful task?
- Have more money going out than you have coming in?
Then it is time to get organised and start saving.
Look at your bank statements
Have a look through your bank statements to ensure that everything is in order. Go through each item on your statement paying particular attention to direct debits/standing orders you may have cancelled, so that you are not paying out for something you believe you had stopped. It may be helpful at this point to review some of the direct debits you have for a movie subscription or a cable or satellite TV subscription to see whether these have been beneficial over the last year. If not, cancel these and save yourself some money. In addition, have a look at the charges the bank have applied to your account to ensure that these are warranted and necessary. If you find yourself regularly dipping into your overdraft, check the overdraft fees of your current account. You could be paying over the odds for the privilege. Consider switching to a current account with a lower overdraft fee, or one that offers a 0% overdraft for a set term. Once you have done this and you are satisfied that the bank has not overcharged you for anything and your regular payments are in order, organise your bank statements in chronological order and file them away. You only need to keep bank statements for up to 10 years. The statements you don’t need, throw away.
This is easier than you think. All it is, is working out what you have coming in each month against what you have going out, so you know how much surplus money you may have. We have made this easy for you as This is Money has a great Budget Calculator on their website which will save any hard work on your part. Simply fill it in and have a look at the results.
Look out for the best deals in the marketplace Once you have worked out your budget, make the most of your money. If you have a loan, ensure that you aren’t paying more interest than necessary. If you are paying interest on a credit card every month, see whether you can transfer the funds to a ‘balance-transfer’ credit card which charges 0% interest for the introductory term or check out the loans we offer to consolidate your high interest loans into a lower interest one. Make a conscious effort to refinance so you can begin to put money aside. Next, have a look at your bills; change your energy provider if necessary. A good comparison website to help with this is www.moneysupermarket.com. A recent article by the BBC reveals that many of use could have saved up to £234 per year had we been organised and shopped around for a better energy deal. Consider bundling up your television, phone and broadband for a better deal.
Make sure you are covered
Check your insurance cover for your household, life and car. Do you have enough or do you have too much? If you have purchased some new expensive items like artwork or jewellery, ensure that you policy has been updated to reflect this. If you have some individual insurance policies for smaller items such as mobile phones and tablets, check to see if you can get these included in your large policy and thereby save a few pennies. Every little helps. When you bundle your policies with one company you can often save money on your insurances. At the same time, ensure that any designated beneficiaries are up to date on your policies, and check premiums, deductibles and coverage levels.
Have a working filing system
Now that you have looked closely at your financial documents and organised them, it is time to ensure that papers are put in their proper place. Your filing system can be organised into 6 or 7 main sections with small sub-sections. The 7 main sections can be :-
~Bills and utilities
~Documents to be kept forever
~Manuals and Warrantees
~If you have children, their health records.
Photo courtesy of ratch0013 from freedigitalphotos.net