Spring is here which means you’re probably gearing up for a huge spring clean. While you’re taking down your curtains, reorganising the garage and cleaning your attic don’t forget about your personal finances.
Chances are you reviewed your finances at the start of the year by when we talk about a spring clean we don’t mean just making a few quick repayments, tying up loose ends and closing any subscriptions. We mean a good old fashioned deep clean, especially with the recent Budget announcement there maybe a few extra things you want to consider. (Have a look at our article on how the Budget 2015 may affect you).
- De-clutter your wallet – this is a great way of beginning the clear out, and we don’t just mean throwing away old train tickets. It’s time to look at your old receipts, any unused credit or store cards, maybe even gift cards that have expired or you don’t use? Lighten your purse and get rid of them, especially any credit accounts you no longer use because having lots of credit accounts open can impact your credit rating.
- Pull out all household bills, bank accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance policies – have a good review of all of them to ensure you don’t have any inactive accounts and direct debits that may not be of use anymore. Remember this is a deep spring clean so it’s best to go over everything to get a bigger picture, put yourself in the best position to get a better deal and if you do spot old direct debits you’re still paying for no reason (it happens) you may even save yourself money.
- Open all your bank statements – it is estimated 1 in 3 people leave bank statements unopened which means they’re never fully aware of their financial status. By carefully checking your bank statements regularly you can not only monitor your spending but spot any suspicious transactions which can be the first indication of identity fraud.
- Evaluate your debt load – examine how much you owe and how much lenders are charging you in interest. It can be worth asking your credit card provider for a lower rate or transferring a small debt to a 0% balance transfer card if you are sure you can pay it off before the interest free period ends. To find out more about balance transfer cards, why not log in to your Noddle account today?
- Calculate your rewards – any rewards or cashback cards usually have an expiration date so if you have any air miles lingering on that reward card use it up before the date and avoid your good work being wasted.
Check your credit report – you could reduce your interest rates or insurance premiums if you boost your credit score so make sure you know where you stand by checking your credit report. And if you haven’t checked your credit report before, now’s the time because Noddle gives you access to your report for free for life with no trial and no hidden charges.
- Shop around – it might’ve been a while since you reviewed your bills and shopped around for better rates. Gas and electricity prices have fallen in recent months due to a decrease in whole sale prices so it may be worth switching to avoid overpaying. A few minutes switching could save you more than you realise.
- Update your budget – life changes and so do circumstances so take a minute to consider these things and adjust your budget accordingly. For example, if you’ve landed a promotion at work with a salary increase you should probably consider increasing the amount you’re putting into your savings pot.
So pull on those marigolds, open up those bank statements and happy spring cleaning!