17 March 2020
With Spring just around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about spring cleaning your home, but this attitude shouldn’t just be used for tidying up around the house!
Spring is the perfect time to reflect upon your current financial situation (perhaps you had set yourself some financial New Year’s resolutions earlier in the year) to see whether or not you can make any changes to your finances.
In the following article we have outlined five easy ways that you can take steps to spring clean your finances.
1. Tidy up your Budget
One of the simplest and most effective ways to be financially responsible, is to set yourself a monthly budget for all of your spending requirements. If you haven’t yet set yourself up with a budget, you should visit our How to Budget page in our Debt Advice Hub to get you started. If however you do already have a budget then spring is the perfect time to evaluate what you’ve been doing with your personal finances, how closely you’ve been following your budget so far, and what might need to change.
Start by going over all of your budgeted items and think carefully about how well you’re sticking to them (or not!), and why. You might find that there are problem areas in your budget that you regularly struggle with, or an expense that you always forget to account for. Areas of your budget that are failing can be anything, from high energy bills, unused gym memberships and streaming subscriptions, to unnecessary, additional purchases.
Tackling such overspending and tidying up your budgets is a great way to spring clean your finances.
2. Declutter your Finances
The easiest way to keep on top of and spring clean your finances, is to make sure that everything is in order and organised in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Find and separate important documents, such as insurance policies and mortgage documents, and keep them safe and easy to find and access, should you need them, and safely destroy any loose bills, papers and reports that you have no use for anymore. Paper-based financial documents can quickly turn to clutter, and this can make organising your finances much more painful than it needs to be.
3. Request a Free Credit Report
Checking your credit report is in good shape is important if you want to get a mortgage, credit card, personal loan, or if you just want to better understand your current financial situation. There are three main agencies in the UK that you can request your credit report from. In no particular order these are:
You’re legally entitled to a copy of your full credit report from each of the agencies listed above; it costs £2 (where it is not provided free of charge). To get a full picture of your credit history we’d recommend that you get a report from all three agencies, as the reports can differ between each. Once you have the report(s), you can have a look at things like your recorded outstanding credit cards, loans, other credit agreements and your current credit score as recorded by each agency.
4. Review your Spending
Have you ever looked at your bank account statement and wondered where all of those charges have come from? Or, have you found yourself tapping your debit card for a purchase before you’ve even had a chance to think about it? These are the types of habits that you can take the time to look at and address during your financial “spring cleaning”.
Gain control over your spending by taking a close look at your purchases over the past couple months. If you're looking to cut back, try breaking down necessary expenses vs. wants. You might be able to incorporate your budgeting into this process too. These kinds of simple checks on your personal spending, such as using cash for smaller purchases, make it easier to think about what you’re spending your money on, stick to your budgeting goals, and can help you to save significant money over time.
5. Consult a Financial Advisor
A final way that you can easily spring clean your finances, is by finding yourself a financial advisor. A financial advisor could easily help set you down a path of financial success in the future, and if convenience or having the spare time to do so is an issue, you may not even need to meet with someone in person. Financial advisers cover a wide array of different areas of finance, from investments, to retirement, and will be able at the very least to offer some expert opinions on almost anything you have in mind when it comes to tidying up your finances. For more information, you can visit the Citizens Advice page on getting financial advice here.
That concludes our latest blog detailing five easy spring cleaning tips to get your finances in order. For additional financial help, tips and advice, you can go to the Buffa blog for more articles like this, or visit our Debt Advice Hub for specific articles on a vast range of topics, such as Budgeting, Debt Advice and more, or you can learn more about our short term loans if you are in need of some immediate financial help.