A few simple tasks to take care of your finances of at this time of year will save you time, worry and possibly a good deal of money in the year ahead.
1 – Make sure you have all your logins and passwords for online banking to hand
You may not even be a fan of online banking but if your bank or building society offers the service, it can save time and money. Last year we only wrote an average of 10 cheques in the UK whereas contactless payment is booming. Thus it is helpful to be able to access your bank statement quickly and more often than once a month to keep track of these speedy transactions.
If you have online banking, check that you can login and access your statements and services and if you can’t, request new passwords or activate online banking.
Are there any old payments coming that shouldn’t be there? Any old subscriptions to gyms you never use. Pay for TV subscriptions you have accidentally signed up to twice? Now’s a good time to cancel.
If you habitually put money aside, just double check if you could perhaps put a bit more aside, or if you are getting into the red, perhaps cut down a little for the time being.
4 – Put dates for renewal of utility and insurance services in your calendar
If you have a paper or online calendar, go through your insurance policies and utility and phone contracts and put a note into the date two or three weeks ahead of the renewal date so you have time to compare prices of different providers in advance and switch if necessary. We can often lose a lot of money by letting policies simply auto-renew and miss out on significant savings and cashback deals.
5 – Keep a money diary for the week
If you don’t already track your spending, keeping a diary for one week and then spending an hour looking over the last two or three months bank statements will help you spot any obvious ways you are habitually wasting money. Are you buying treats from the most cost effective places or spending more than you thought on cabs? Could weekly meal plans help to tighten up those food bills?
6 – Make sure you’re setting aside a little for the really important things
One thing you don’t usually see in checklists like this but you will see in ours here at Serenity is to ensure you are putting aside a little for the truly important things in life. Whether it is a few pounds each month for coffee and time out with a loved one, or money towards a dream holiday that you have planned but perhaps earmarked for a few years down the line, make sure your financial spring clean helps you move towards your most important goals and the things that help you balance the future with your present happiness.
7 – Have you had your annual review?
If you haven’t had your annual review with your Serenity Financial Life Planner, now is a great time to do that, so we can help you to make sure your finances and your regular money habits are all on track.