It’s time to Spring clean your finances. It’s not hard to do and, as with a physical Spring clean, you will feel SO much better once you’ve done it!
Apart from anything else, you could actually make money by deciding to Spring clean your finances. You could find that you’ve been charged too much for something and can claim that money back or save yourself £100s (literally) by switching some bills.
And once you’ve done it, you just have to check it for a few minutes now and again throughout the year to make sure everything’s in order.
- First things first…
- How to make a budget
- Get the best deals
- Reduce your outgoings
- Food for less
- Cash you don’t know you have
- Making more money
Open your bank statements
Face your demons, open them up and read them from top to bottom.
Opening your statements could save you money.
Who knows what mistakes the bank has been making or how many old direct debits haven’t been cancelled?
Start scouring those statements now and get that money back.
Once you’ve looked through all your statements to make sure everything is as it should be, you need to file all your financial paperwork – an excuse for some exciting new stationery.
Everything should be in chronological order – bank statements, credit card statements etc – and remember to separate the statements from different banks too.
Also check out our article – storage solutions: cheap ways to create space for sneaky places to keep your folders.
Budgeting is a fundamental part of getting on top of your money and becoming rich. It’s also a lot less scary than it sounds.
Really it’s just a list of money coming in and money going out, but making one can help you work out where you overspend, and what, if anything, is left over to play with.
To make it even easier for you, there are loads of budget calculators online that you can use to manage your money, so you don’t need to do any of the hard work.
Just put ‘Budget Calculator’ into Google and then follow the instructions as you go, Fill in all the boxes, click ‘calculate’ and you’ll have a clearer idea of how your finances shape up.
This is where you can save serious money.
Firstly, save yourself a few hundred pounds over the year by switching your gas and electricity. Do it now. It only takes 10-15 minutes!
Credit cards are another area that could be burning a fairly large hole in your pocket. If you’re paying interest on a credit card every month, think about switching to one that offers a 0% interest deal on balance transfers. Or go for a low lifetime balance transfer which can also save you money over the long term.
Do you have any loans? If you took them out a year or so ago it’s highly likely that you could get a better deal now. Rates are really low so see how much you could save by switching to a cheaper deal here.
Check that your savings are in the best place possible. Take a look at our article on making the most of your money.
If your ‘incomings’ column is a lot bigger than your ‘outgoings’ column (well done!) make sure you have enough going into savings accounts each month. See here for the best rates.
Then there’s insurance. OH BOY can you save money here!!
Car insurance is an easy one to save money on. As soon as you know what your new premium is, go and see what the alternatives are. It’s highly likely that you will find a much cheaper version here. Even if you don’t check the comparison sites, at the very least, phone up your current provider and ask for a cheaper rate. 99 times out of 100 they will offer you something else.
Also consider switching your broadband provider to save yourself some cash. The broadband providers now have to be much more transparent about their charges so it’s a lot easier to compare prices properly now.
Now is also a good time to take a quick look at investment options.
- Pour yourself a cup of nice hot tea and dig out your pension statements. How much do they say you will have when you retire? Add up the amounts and decide if this will be enough to live on. You might need to put more in each month so set up standing orders to add to your pension, or speak to your boss when you are back at work about upping your pension payments.
- Take a look at our articles about investing and consider setting up a stocks and shares ISA. If you put even £25 a month into one of these the cash will mount up over time. Take a look at our articles on Index tracking funds to see how these help grow your money.
Save energy and money
Anything from using energy-saving light bulbs to avoiding tumble drying can save you loads in the long run, and it’s a great way to do your bit for the environment too.
There are plenty more energy-saving tips in our article on heating: easy ways to cut your bills.
You can also receive grants for insulating your home – find out how to get money to make your home more efficient here. And have a look at our 50 ways to save money by being green for loads of quick and easy ideas.
Could you reduce your food bills by buying supermarket own brands or shopping elsewhere?
1. MySupermarket.co.uk is a great resource for reducing your food costs. It’ll tell you which supermarket is cheapest and will also show you which items you can swap to make the most of the special offers.
2. Make sure you’re savvy to all those sneaky supermarket tricks, so you know what to look out for and don’t get conned into spending more.
3. See our article on how to get food for free too. You would be surprised what’s around!
Buying your lunch every day at work can cost you an extra £1,500 a year, so have your lunchbox at the ready. This also goes for a coffee every morning. Buying a flask and making your own every day can save you loads on your caffeine fix.
If all these ideas aren’t enough to make your outgoings less than your incomings or if you just want to save more, we’ve got some great tips for cutting out expenses you don’t need and which ones you can’t cut in our article on reducing your outgoings.
If you think you’ve got another account sitting somewhere, check out MyLostAccount.
It’s a free service from the British Banker’s Association, the Building’s Societies Association and National Savings and Investments, which will find any lost accounts for you.
As you’re spring cleaning your finances, why not spring clean your house while you’re at it?
Look out for anything that you don’t need anymore and sell it for some quick cash.
If you’ve got it, rent it
Whether it’s renting out your spare room with EasyRoommate, renting out your driveway with JustPark or renting out your loft or garage as storage space, there are loads of ways to make money from your home.
You could even rent out your entire house and go and live with your parents for some extreme saving.
Our page on renting has all the details you need.
Loads more money-making ideas
At MoneyMagpie we’re here to help.
We’ve got loads of money making ideas for you and if you want to get money making tips delivered to your inbox each week then sign up to our newsletter!
The new tax year started on 6 April, so if you’re looking to invest in a pension or ISA, do it now to make sure you get the benefit of almost a full year’s interest payments. The sooner you invest, the more money you’ll have this time next year!