Turn out your pockets, tidy your credit score, it’s time for a financial spring clean
The sun is shining, the blossom is blooming, Easter is around the corner, and it’s time for a spring clean. A financial spring clean!
Don’t worry, this won’t take long. It will be relatively painless, and at the end you’ll feel ready to take on the world anew.
So first of all, turn out your coat pockets. All your pockets. That’s right, especially the winter coat you’re going to put away for six months. I’m sure I can hear some coins rattling in there. See, told you. Now go through the pockets of all your clothes, and you’re bound to find yourself a few quid richer – and you’ll doubtless rediscover a hoard of lost treasures.
But remember, spring cleans are about getting rid of stuff, as well as finding them. So let’s have a good scout round to see what we don’t need any more. These will fall into three categories – the unused, unwanted and the unusable. You can make money from the unused and unwanted – stick them on eBay or get down to a car boot sale and watch your trash turn into cash. The unusable is best dropped in the bin – or even better at the recycling dump.
Now let’s take a scout at your budget. It sure could benefit from a quick freshen-up. So ask yourself are you making all the savings you could and should be doing? Is there any area of your life where you indulge yourself unnecessarily – think of those morning coffees, for example? Could there be savings to be made here? Remember, less is more when it comes to spending and saving.
Right, let’s take a look at your credit score. Still not sure what it is? Or is it a bit messy, eh? Time for a quick tidy up. If your credit score is low it could affect your ability to get approval for a credit card, loan, mortgage or a mobile phone contract. It can even affect the interest rate you’re offered. The good news about credit scores is that you can clean them up yourself.
Here are a few handy hints
- Close old or unused bank accounts, but keep ones with good credit history open.
- Don’t make too many credit applications at the same time.
- Make regular payments on time.
Now let’s tackle those scary bills together. What are you paying for that is excessive or simply unnecessary? Do you really make use of that gym membership? No? Then cancel it. You might well be paying over the odds for your phone or broadband. Look for the best offers – many companies offer you better deals if you bundle your phone, broadband and TV.
Energy is an area where you can make huge savings by going for the most competitive rates. Recent research said that we could save an average £234 a year simply by switching supplier.
Now on to your diet. Check how much you spend on food every week, and work out where you can make savings. Do you really need to shop at the more expensive supermarkets? What’s the point in buying branded stuff when you can get supermarket’s own brand for half the price? MySupermarket.co.uk is brilliant for telling you which supermarket is cheapest and how to make the best of special offers. Have a quick read of this so you know all about the supermarket’s sneaky tricks designed to make you spend on stuff you don’t need.
And one last thing before we finish. Turn down that heating. It’s spring, and summer is on the way. Enjoy the natural warmth.
Your money affairs should now look a bit tidier; you home should be less crammed with stuff you neither want or need and your pockets should be a bit fuller with the cash you’ve rediscovered or made from selling stuff. In short, you should be fully refreshed, and fit to face the world. Now treat yourself to an Easter egg (Poundland is bound to have some beauties) and have yourself a great holiday.