Spring is *finally* now in the air, and it’s time to spring clean your finances!
For many of us thoughts are turning to summer holidays, days out – and numerous other ways to get spending. The days are longer, and there’s a lot of temptation to make hay while the sun (literally) shines.
Review what goes in and comes out
Spending some time balancing out your income against your outgoings can be beneficial in the long run, and can also make you feel like you’re in control.
It can also help you work out when to allow room for certain irregular or seasonal costs, for example a direct debit like a TV licence, a one-off annual charge like insurance, or things like birthdays or special events – as well as stopping outgoings you may no longer need or use, like a gym membership you forgot you had.
Could you get a better deal on your regular bills?
Have you been on the same energy tariff or mobile phone contract for a long time? Changing to a more suitable one – with the same provider or a new one – can often bring considerable savings, as long as it is not going to incur a penalty. Likewise, if you haven’t switched bank accounts for a few years there’s a chance you don’t have the best account for your needs, such as overdraft provision, or benefits like car breakdown cover.
Make some simple savings
Do you use the train for family trips? There are railcards that could save you money. Need a hotel? Or you could check voucher websites for useful ‘percentage off’ code campaigns, or cashback deals.
And if you’re going on holiday in the summer, it’s always good to plan ahead to get your foreign currency sorted out in advance, get your sun cream & toothpaste from pound shops, and book your airport parking as soon as you know your flight times – and you might save a packet.
Getting your credit report in shape
Another way of doing that is to make sure your credit report is accurate and up-to-date. Your credit report can show you if you’ve missed some payments on cards or loans you have.
Taking control of your finances can help you be better off in the long term. When you make an application for a loan, credit card, mortgage or other type of credit – like a new utility contract or a mobile-phone account – lenders look at your credit report to work out a credit score for you.
Lenders like to see evidence that you might be a responsible borrower, and given that late or missed repayments stay on your credit report for at least six years, it’s a good idea to make your repayments on time. Checking your Experian Credit Score before you apply for new credit can give you a good indication of how lenders view you based on information in your Experian Credit Report.