Spring clean your finances

finance

Photo Credit: reynermedia via Compfight cc

With the summer finally on its way (or so we’re told!) and another little addition to our family, it seems like the perfect time to give our finances a good spring clean and get on top of them once and for all.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but, as I’m sure you understand, it’s difficult to find the time. But this time I’m determined – I will succeed!

Here’s what I’ve managed to get done so far and some tips for if you’re thinking of doing the same…

Spreadsheet

First things first, I sat down and made a spreadsheet (impressive!) detailing all of our outgoings. I kept a list of everything I spent each day and that has been helping me to identify areas in which we can save and cut back. Soon enough, we’ll have another little mouth to feed, so every penny counts.

Bank Accounts

Next, I dug out all the paperwork and made a list of all the accounts we had – both current accounts and savings accounts. What surprised me was that we had quite a few current accounts, most of which were unused. I recently read an article by Mrs Moneypenny from Channel 4’s Superscrimpers, which stated that having lots of open current accounts can affect your credit score (who knew?). So I’m going to go in and close all but two of the accounts. If you’re concerned, you can find out more here to see if your accounts are causing you any problems.

Fees

Whilst I was looking at our accounts, I noticed that I was paying a monthly fee for the privilege of having some of them, so obviously these were the first ones I closed. If you’re paying fees on your accounts, I’d recommend having a shop around to see if you can get a similar package cheaper elsewhere.

Credit Cards and Store Cards

Once I’d got the current accounts sorted, it was time to move on to my credit cards and store cards. When I got them all out, it seemed that I had accumulated quite a few!

So I made a list of each card and the outstanding balance, along with the rate I was paying on it. One thing I noticed was that a lot of the cards had moved from an introductory 0% interest rate, to a much higher rate without me even noticing.

I identified the cards that were costing me the most in interest and have started shopping around for a better deal, I’ll then try and clear the highest cards first in order to save some money each month.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Once you have all of your outgoings written down, it’s easy to see how they all add up.

Although I haven’t done it yet, I’m going to go through all of my utilities, my phone bill, and my insurance, and see if I can find any better deals – after all, every penny counts!

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