5 ways to spring-clean your finances #MoneyMondays
One of the first things I did when I was made redundant, was to spring-clean my finances. Cancel any standing orders and direct debits, that were not essential. Now TV, Netflix, iTunes subscriptions are all luxuries. I scoured my bank statements to see what was leaving my bank account each month and what could go.
So make today the day you do some financial spring-cleaning. Payday is on the horizon, which is when I set most of my payments to clear my account. It’s time to do my annual spring-clean and clear out any monthly and annual subscriptions that are costing me money. These payments all add up!
1. Standing Orders / Direct Debits
It’s always good to check your standing orders and direct debits to see what is leaving your account each month. It is surprising to see how much these accumulate over time. Decide what is a must-have, what is a luxury and what you don’t use anymore. Make sure that you are not in breach of any contracts you may have before you cancel. This is your first port of call to start spring-cleaning your finances.
Check all of your statements – it’s amazing how many subscriptions you may have signed up to. I noticed back in February that a monthly subscription of £11.99 had started to come out of my account for an escort service! Again, another subscription had started up for £34.99 last month. I managed to contact the companies in question to ask for a refund, one of which is refusing to – so this one is still in dispute. However, if I hadn’t noticed, this would have been a recurring monthly payment so I am glad the damage isn’t as bad as if I had left it. I had also signed up to £2.99 to scanmypost.co.uk as a trial for my business, which I don’t use and forgot to cancel. I have various iTunes subscriptions leaving my account too, which needs investigating! None of these are listed under my direct debits and standing orders, so it’s important to regularly check your bank account each month. That goes not just for current accounts but for credit cards too.
3. Spending App
I can’t stress enough how this helps me. I use my Monzo Card which categorises my cash spending, but a spending app is something you can use to track ALL expenses. It’s easy to start spending on credit cards when the cash runs out, so make sure you know where your money is going each month. You will see where you are overspending. I couldn’t do without it now!
4. Bank on the go
If you have a smartphone, there is no excuse not to check your bank accounts and credit card balances on your phone. I have Monzo, Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and Capital One all on my phone and check them weekly, if not daily. That way I can understand how much I am overspending and what the balance is at all times. It doesn’t take too long to set up. If you don’t have access to their app, take advantage of their online banking and make sure you check in – at least every month!
5. Credit card charges
I used to let my credit card go over its limit without even spending. I had maxed out my credit cards so much, that I would forget that when interest was applied it would send me over my credit limit and I would receive default charges. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Credit card companies are usually fine to negotiate with over charges, if you keep communicating with them. If you ring them up and ask for the charges to be removed, most of the time they will waive them. Be firm, confident and ask for the charges to be credited to your account and the default notice removed so this doesn’t affect your credit file and rating.