With spring in the air and the new tax year getting closer, it could be time to take a fresh look at your money. A financial spring clean could save you money – and help you start making it.
Get yourself organised
Get your bank statements, insurance policies, and bills together. Look what you are paying out each month, and don’t forget your credit card bills. When you have all the facts and figures, its time to look at your monthly budget. If you don’t have one you should, and it needs to include details of the cash you have coming in, balanced by everything that goes out.
Stop wasting money
The chances are you will discover that you are paying for things you don’t need. Gym membership is the classic example. But even if you haven’t set foot in a gym since you left school, you may still be paying subscriptions for online services you don’t use any more, and might not even be aware of taking out.
A few emails, or even a call to your bank should put a stop to any standing orders or direct debits that you discover.
Deal with debt
It’s easy to get into debt, especially with things like with credit cards over Christmas. Its much harder getting out of it.
The interest rates you pay on credit cards and loans can be painful, so your first priority should be to pay off the balances. There are options of balance transfers to a 0% card, where all the money you repay will reduce the balance, and make sure you pay it off before the 0% period ends. Your budget might show you where you have some costs you can trim, and if you need to cut down on evenings out (for example) for a month or two, it’s worth it.
Cut the costs
Your next priority must be to pay less for the things you need. Comparison websites can help you find the best deals on everything from bank accounts to insurance, and utilities. Most of us tend to stick with the suppliers we have. A look at the kind of savings we could make shows that it is worth spending an hour or two switching.
Put your extra money to work for you.
The chances are that after a few hours of work, your monthly budget should be looking a great deal healthier, and even provide a useful surplus. This means that you can enjoy the real benefits of financial spring cleaning, the chance to put the extra money you have found to work for you.
If you act now, before April 5th, there’s still time to use your ISA allowance for the 2017/18 tax year. You may not have found the full £20,000 you can put in an ISA this year, but every little helps.
Of course, an ISA is not the only way to build your wealth. To make the most of savings and investments, you need expert help. At Continuum, we would be pleased to provide it.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change.