With spring having finally sprung last Thursday an interesting concept being talked about during these prudent times is cleaning up your finances in the same way you’d look after your house. The concept is that once a year you take a detailed look at where and how you are spending your money. The idea isn’t to stop you shopping at Sainsbury’s and make you shop elsewhere but to look at what you can actually squeeze and what deals you may be missing out on.
Looking at where you spend money is time consuming, there’s no doubt about that, but putting a few hours to one side can help save you hundreds a year. If you haven’t looked at your finances in the last year or so you will be likely to find numerous better deals on the market. To start planning get all of your bills together; utilities, credit cards, television provider, mobile phones, insurance etc. so you can see what you are paying per unit or what goes out monthly.
Start with easy ones first, is anything due for renewal? What are you paying for your phone each month? Have any of your contracts run out? Classic examples of these are your phone, broadband and television contracts. Having a look between Sky, Virgin and BT could save you a lot of money each month and still let you keep watching movies or sports. See what their competitors are doing or what they are giving to new customers and not you, a loyal trusted customer of their own. The worst they can do is say no and they are unlikely to do so, they would prefer you to stay and sign up for another 12 months at a discounted price. Although gas and electric bills are ‘supposed’ to be getting more understandable move on to looking at the big 6, you could save hundreds just through these alone.
Another part that’s a great notion is to look through is your last three current account statements. I’ve amazed myself by what can be found within them; long forgotten mobile phone insurance or direct debits that are just not needed any more. The greatest aspect that anyone may get out of looking through your statements is the shock of what you may be spending money on. Shopping is no doubt expensive these days but you may have a moment of self-realisation looking at what you are actually using your money for and there’s still nothing to eat in the fridge. You may also unearth the cost of that morning coffee by seeing what patterns emerge at your local ATM or how many times COSTAS appears on your statement every month. Taking money out for the week and leaving your card at home is a classic tip, if there’s anything left then save it or treat yourself to something.
Spring cleaning your finances is a daunting process but setting aside some time can save you a considerable sum of money each year, potentially saving yourself from a financial mess in the long-term. If you have questions on any specific topic Martin Lewis’ site is a fantastic free resource.