If you feel like you have a spending hangover and it seems as if pay day will never come, now might be a good time to take a good look at your finances.
If you are dreaming of summer holidays or nice meals in restaurants, seeing a clear way forward to achieving your aims could really brighten your day.
Worrying about money can leave you feeling in a bit of a muddle, stressing about how you will manage to pay for everything and make even cause sleepless nights. It can be tempting to ignore it rather than facing up to the problem.
Spending a little time on reviewing your outgoings can lift a big weight off your shoulders – and make a huge difference to your budget.
It’s often the case that a few some small changes can have a big impact over the weeks and months.
Tips For A Financial Spring Clean
The first thing is to book you yourself a few hours when you can tackle this undisturbed. Have your phone and the internet ready to carry out some research. Once you make a start and make your first lot of savings, you will wonder why you haven’t done it before.
- Review all your direct debits and ask yourself if they are all for things you need or are there things you could do without? Are you using all that your mobile phone package offers in terms of minutes and internet data allowance or could you downgrade? Check the same with your telephone deal, gym subscription, television package etc. Would it be cheaper if you get your energy from a different company? It’s a bit of work now but add up what you could save each month and you may find yourself much better off.
- Are you buying your lunch each day in town? Work out the cost – and don’t forget to include any of those takeaway coffees. Even the meal deals are around £3 a day. If you make your own lunches you could be saving at least £15 a week – that is £780 a year. Enough for a holiday! Your lunch could be a home made sandwich, salad or leftover after a meal. Or make some soup and take some to work to reheat in the microwave. Lunch Recipes and Soup Recipes for some ideas
- Look at ways to do what you love, for less. Visit the library for your books, rather than buying them or check secondhand bookshops shops. You can usually order the latest books from the library for a very small fee. Get DVDs and games from a film rental company rather than buying them. Have a ‘Bring and Share’ supper with friends rather than going to a restaurant, where guest each cook and bring a part of the meal.
- Plan your weekly meals and incorporate some lentils or chickpea meals which are really low cost. If you eat meat most days, having a couple of vegetarian days each week can have a big impact on your grocery bill. Check prices where you do your food shopping and consider shopping around a little. Try using My Supermarket to compare supermarkets. Check out the prices of fruit and vegetables, fresh eggs and meat are lower at your local greengrocers and markets – plus by spending your money in independent shops you are supporting the local economy (and you may find you get much better customer service!)
- Review your credit cards and existing loans and check the rates you are paying. If you are considering re-financing them or taking out a new loan, shop around for some good deals.
- If you are going to do a bit of spending, have a look for discounts by searching online and check out Myvouchercodes.co.uk to find any special offers at your favourite shops or restaurants.
Making a few small changes could add up to some big savings over the year and well worth the time you spend reviewing everything. You will have a good feeling of being in control of your spending too.