We can all become complacent about our spending but, just as with any bad habit, before you quit you must first recognise the need to change – and spring is the ideal time to give your finances a deep clean.
But where do you start? Here are some ideas from TopCashback.co.uk UK director Adam Bullock, for spring-cleaning your finances and taking some steps towards a brighter financial future…
Weigh up your ins and outs
Get personal with everything you’ve got coming in as well as what’s going out. Weigh up all your essential and non-essential outgoings and total up what you’re spending in each category. There are apps available that can do this for you for free, if it’s too tricky to do it yourself.
Temper your temptations
Now you’ve scrutinised your bank account, you may have found one, if not more, bad spending habits. For some, it’s impulse buying in supermarkets. For others, it’s buying yet another dress in the sale. Whatever your pitfall is, recognise the weakest link in your bank account and stop doing it.
Once you know what you’re giving up, remove temptation – whether it’s staying off certain parts of social media for a while or resisting clicking on links to “special offers” arriving in your inbox. If you tell yourself it’s only for a short time (to start with) rather than forever, it will be easier to handle.
Look further afield
It’s great that you’ve made savings on your non-essential outgoings, but what about stuff you have to pay for each month? Shop around using comparison websites to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your insurance, for example. Can you negotiate with your broadband provider for a better rate? Loyalty doesn’t often pay, sadly.
Save, save, save
Get into the habit of making use of apps and companies that help you save money subconsciously. Certain banks can round up each time you spend. By putting away the odd pound here and there, you’ll be surprised by how quickly it piles up.
With any necessary spending, make sure you make purchase through cashback websites, which will reward you with money for nothing.
Rewrite your future
With your financial present sorted, it makes sense to plan for the future. Maybe it means having a conversation with human resources at work about pensions, finding out your credit score, making a will, or checking gov.uk for any tax benefits you’re entitled to.
This is a good way to start feeling comfortable having conversations you may have once avoided.
Develop good habits
So you’ve found new ways to save. What can you do with these new savings? Perhaps you can put away a small amount each month, maybe you can pay more off your credit card, or even donate some to charity.
Stay on the wagon
It’s tempting when you’ve been good for a while to fall off the wagon. We’re only human, after all. However, you’ve made some great new habits that will hopefully put you in good stead – don’t put all that hard work to waste.
If you’ve managed to save, visualise the long-term prize. Maybe you’re saving up for something specific, or just enjoy having something for a rainy day. Remember, sticking to a budget and good financial habits should help build up more money over the longer term.