Tuesday 21st May 2024

Spring clean your finances

Join Shoestring Jane as she shares her secrets for a financial spring cleaning

After a long, dreary Winter, the arrival of spring always gets me in the mood to tidy and reorganise my life.

It’s the perfect time to reevaluate and spring-clean your finances, too.

Here are some tips for a money reset for the spring.

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Make a budget

If you don’t already have a budget, this is the perfect time to create one. A budget will allow you to plan and stay in control of your spending.

It also helps you to direct resources towards debt management, savings or investments. If you don’t know where to begin, Money Helper has a useful budget planner tool here

Knowledge is power, and writing a budget tells you exactly what is coming in and going out of your bank account.

Check where your money goes

Go through your last three month’s bank statements and categorise your discretionary spending into subject headings such as groceries, eating out, entertainment, clothing, etc.

Are there any areas that seem especially high? Can you reduce your spending in certain areas?

Check that you aren’t paying for any under-used subscriptions or memberships, and make sure you cancel any that you can no longer justify.

Going through your spending with a fine-tooth comb reveals how a lot of seemingly insignificant purchases for things like coffee, makeup, apps, music, books, etc can add up to a significant sum.

If you tend to make many impulse purchases, this post will help curb your impulse spending.

Identify where you can save on bills

A financial spring clean is a good time to review your household bills. Can you save money by switching suppliers or haggle down the price by threatening to move?

If you are locked into a deal, be sure to mark your calendar when insurance policies, phone and broadband contracts, etc are due to renew to give yourself time to shop around for a better deal.

You can save hundreds each year by taking half an hour to do this task.

Tackle debt

If you have debts, make sure you have a plan to pay them off. Check the interest rate you are paying on store or credit cards and investigate the possibility of a balance transfer to a card with a low or 0% interest deal.

Read this article from Money Helper on the pros and cons of doing this first to ensure it will work in your favour.

If your debt is giving you anxiety, don’t ignore it. As part of your plan to spring-clean your finances, you can make an appointment to see a debt advisor who will guide you through your options.

This article from Debt Camel contains a wealth of advice to get you started.

Spring-clean and declutter your home

You may wonder how decluttering your home can save money. If you are disorganised and have cupboards full of stuff, it is easy to buy duplicates of things you already have.

For example, a recent declutter of my cupboards revealed batteries and lightbulbs stored randomly all over the house. We kept buying more because we didn’t know where to find them!

Set yourself the task of going through every drawer and cupboard and organising your stuff. You don’t have to do it all in one go. Aim for one or two cupboards a week to break down what can feel like a daunting job.

This gives you the opportunity to shop from your own cupboards. You will locate things you forgot you had. Use them! This is likely to give you the same buzz as shopping for new things. In my case, secondhand clothing and books are a weakness and I don’t need to purchase more of either for some time!

Remember to declutter your kitchen cupboards as part of the process. It is really important to stock-take your food stores regularly so that you don’t waste groceries and can rotate them to use those with the shortest shelf life first.

Sell your old stuff

To help spring-clean your finances, your next step could be to sell some of the unwanted items you have decluttered. The extra money could boost your savings, be put towards an emergency fund or used to pay off debt.

Car boot sale season kicks off in the spring, so you could book yourself a pitch (there is a guide to making money selling at a car boot here).

Vinted is a good place to sell unwanted clothing, as there are no selling fees. However, if you have more upmarket designer pieces, you are likely to command a better price on eBay. 

To shift bulky items, Facebook Marketplace can be good. However, be aware of potential scams before you start.

Spring time is a season of renewal and optimism. Once you have spring-cleaned your finances, you will feel lighter and more in control.

You have to opportunity to shop around for the best deals, tackle debt and direct your financial resources so you get the best from your money.

Photo credits: Pexels

Shoestring Jane

Mouthy Blogger

Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.

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