12 April 2016
Spring clean your finances
It’s that time of year when many of us will be reassessing our finances after the winter downtime, particularly before the new tax year kicks in.
From organising your home and personal finances - to easy ways to make a bit of extra cash to help along the way – Kate Murray, Principality Building Society’s Savings Product Manager, runs through her top tips for spring cleaning your finances this month.
Spring is the perfect time to reassess your finances, particularly with the new tax year coming into force on Wednesday (April 6th). Making small changes now will mean you can make the most of any remaining allowances in the warmer months - whilst giving you fresh perspective on your finances as we move into a new tax year.
It sounds simple, but sorting through your paperwork is well worth the time and effort. Filing your bank statements, home and car insurance policies, household bills, mobile phone and council tax bills, and any other major expense coming out of your bank account, might seem like a laborious task but is a useful way of keeping track of your finances. It is generally advised to keep hold of bills for at least two years, as these can often be required when making big purchases such as putting a deposit down on a house.
Get rid of unwanted payments
As part of your general organisation of statements and bills, taking a thorough look through your bank statements may highlight any direct debits leaving your account you’re unaware of, or subscriptions you no longer require. This could be anything from gym memberships to magazine subscriptions, but by cleaning up the unwanted subscriptions, no matter how small, you could save yourself money and see your funds looking much healthier as a result.
Compare and contrast
If you’re unhappy with the interest on your current ISA account, or feel you’re not getting good value from your energy provider, spring is the perfect time to look around for better deals. Thanks to comparison websites, switching providers is much easier, and most have a full run-down of the best deals on the market at any given time.
Clear your clutter…and make a profit
Giving your finances a spring clean doesn’t have to end with your bank statements. De-cluttering unwanted household items will leave your home feeling revived for the spring – and can even result in a bit of extra money in your pocket. Online auction websites or car boot sales are a brilliant way of selling on unwanted clothes, furniture or appliances.
If some of your items aren’t in good enough condition to sell, then donating to a charity shop or locating a local clothes bank is a good alternative – it may not help your finances but you’ll certainly be helping someone in need.
Make the most of what you’ve got
While all of these options will give your finances a fresh outlook, for ISA holders there is still time to make the most of the current £15,240 allowance. If you don’t take advantage of the maximum limit then you could miss out on interest on your savings.
It is also a good idea to look at the savings, mortgage and insurance market to see what changes and products are out there to help you make the most of your money.
Reviewing your finances doesn’t have to be a burden, and staying on top of your outgoings and savings will leave you ahead of the game in the case of an unexpected eventuality. From simply filing your bills, to making proactive tweaks to your accounts ahead of the new tax year, your finances will feel fresher than ever and leave you with a spring in your step for the season to come.