The daffodils are out, baby lambs are frolicking and we’re all starting to feel a little less gloomy and a little bit more positive. Spring has finally arrived. And let’s start spring cleaning our finances too.
You may be giving your cupboards a good clean out and getting rid of all those shocking outfits you bought in the January sales on a whim. In the spirit of Spring cleaning, now is a good time to have a good old rummage around in your finances as well.
Freshening up your finances at least once a year can save you thousands. But not many of us take the time to do it – like cleaning out the fridge, it’s not a very inspiring task.Freshening up your finances at least once a year can save you thousands. Click To Tweet
But sitting down and combing through your finances, you will step out into Spring more confident and less worried about the future.
Think of the rewards – you might be able to claw back enough cash to add to that all important summer holiday pot.
Spring Cleaning Your Finances
Read on for 5 fresh tips for Spring cleaning your finances and see how you can plant the seeds now, to grow your money for the future.
1. Get Your Hands Dirty
Preparation is key to a good clean out. If you are tackling that hellish wasteland under your bed, you would first arm yourself with bin bags, hoover, dusters and rubber gloves.
The same goes for your finances. Doing five minutes here and five minutes there is not going to cut through all that waste.
So, set aside at least a couple of hours to sit down and focus on all money-related aspects of your life.
If this fills you with dread, promise yourself a little reward at the end of your hard work (a cake or a glass of wine is always a good incentive).
Next, open your laptop and get hold of your last three months’ worth of bank statements. This will give you a good snapshot of where you are making gains and losses.
Then, if you don’t already have one, set up a spreadsheet detailing your outgoings and incomings.
2. Switch and Save
Once you have your two columns, already you may be seeing a bad spending pattern. Cancel the things you don’t need any more and then get yourself onto a comparison site such as uSwitch or Money Supermarket and starting switching to save. Look at:
- Electricity and gas
- Insurance (car, pet, home)
- Phone (landline and mobile) and broadband
- TV package
- Credit cards: You can’t switch to save but you can balance transfer.
Can you get a better deal on these things? You could save hundreds in the time it takes to sort out a cupboard.
3. Go Big
It’s all very well switching and saving on smaller bills but look at the big things you own as well, like your house.
You may be already locked into a mortgage deal and getting out of it will incur large penalties. However, if your deal is ending soon or even in a year’s time – now is the time to start shopping around.
Interest rates remain low and your next mortgage deal could be significantly less than what you’re currently paying.
Contact a mortgage broker, who will give you free advice about the state of your mortgage and how you can find a better deal when yours ends. .
What about your car? Is it a gas guzzler that’s costing a fortune?
Now could be the time to trade in for something more economical. There are small cars out there which may be hairdryers on wheels but they cost only £30 per year in tax (compared to around £200).
4. Dust off old savings and make them GROW
Unlike the mould lurking in the corner of your bathroom, financial growth can only be a good thing. If you have savings, give yourself a pat on the back.
But are you making the most of them? If they are earning 0.000000000.1% in interest – step out of your comfort zone and look into investing.
There are some great (and safe) ISAs and fixed term bonds out there which could double the interest you are making in your standard savings account.
The Fidelity Investment ISA is a flexible way to start investing, with regular saving plans from just £50 a month, or with a £1,000 lump sum. The typical service fee is a low-cost 0.35%. Ongoing fund charges also apply. Capital at risk.
5. Get More Bob from Your Job
Look at your job – is there anything you can do to boost your earnings? It could mean asking for a pay rise, doing training to gain additional responsibilities (and money) or doing extra work as a freelancer.
And while you’re spring cleaning that winter wardrobe or going through the loft – make a pile of stuff to sell on eBay. A few choice internet auctions can make more than you think.
Over to You
Have you taken a good long look at your finances lately? Is there anything else you can add to our cleaning list? Give us a shout in the comments box below and share your tips.
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