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Time to spring clean your finances?
Published 14 April 2014 by Linzi Nuttall
If you’re planning to spring clean your home, why not your finances too? By clearing out the clutter you could save a bundle.
Spring has finally sprung, and as the clocks go forward an hour we knows there’s something we can’t put off any longer – the dreaded spring clean.
Spick and span
Research* conducted for us last year revealed that half of you do an extra big clean of your home when spring arrives. Yes, that means even sweeping under the furniture, rather than just around it!
In fact, of those of you who do make time for the traditional spring clean, around two-thirds wash the skirting boards, empty the cupboards to clean inside them, and clean out the kitchen cabinets. Meanwhile, two-fifths of you clean behind your home appliances, four-fifths clean the windows and a quarter shampoo the carpets.
Another job two-thirds of you spring-cleaners make time for each year is de-cluttering and selling or giving away the items you don’t want or need. And this thinking can easily be applied to your finances as well.
It can really pay to sit down and go through your bank statements and household budget whenever you’re able to see if there’s any clutter that could be cleared out and money that might be made through savings.
I’m still standing
A good place to start is with your standing orders – do you really know how many you have? You might find that you’re paying gym membership for a gym you no longer visit, or spending money on a class you don’t still go to. Perhaps you’re paying pet insurance for an animal that has passed away – these are exactly the sort of outgoings you can forget about. By cancelling them, you might save a bundle.
Once you’ve tidied up your finances and cleared out the clutter you can start looking for areas where you might be able to save money. For example, spring is a good time to check your energy tariff and see if you’re still on the best deal. There’s often a rush to switch in the winter as people prepare to turn up the heating, so by searching the market now you could stand to save money later.
Subject of interest
If you’re a homeowner, it might be worth finding out if you’re still on the best deal available here as well. What seemed like a great offer back when you took out the home loan might not still be, so it’s worth keeping on your toes. Another thing to consider is that the Bank of England plans to start raising the base rate of interest next year, which means mortgage rates may follow. If you’re not on a fixed mortgage now, it could be worth finding one so you can enjoy the savings once rates rise.
Another area of your finances that might be worth looking at is your savings. Savers have not had much luck in the past few years, and even if you opened an account with a great rate a few years ago, the interest might have shrunk since then.
See how much interest you’re making and then do your research to find out if you could be getting a better rate elsewhere. You never know – after spring cleaning your finances you might find you have a lot more available to save!
*OnePoll carried out online interviews with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults on 02.05.13. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.