How to spring clean your finances

Spring is upon us, the weather has improved and lockdown rules have started easing. Many of us take this chance to start spring cleaning. Now is also a good time to tidy up your financial affairs for a better mindset and managing your money.

1. Set your financial goals – and commit to them

After you have outlined your short-term and long-term financial goals, set a limit as to how much money you need to put aside to achieve them. One of the most effective ways is budgeting. By tracking your spending and seeing how much you are saving, you will feel that you’re in better control of your money which will boost your confidence.

2. Review your budget

As mentioned in the previous point, budgeting is an effective way to track your spendings which would eventually help you reach your financial goals.

When doing a spring clean, go back to your budget and see what you are spending on. If there is any unnecessary spending such as subscriptions that you aren’t using or contracts which have ended, you can cancel these or look for better deals.

By budgeting consistently, you will be able to reach your financial goals more easily and reduce any financial stress.

3. Review your credit score

It’s important that you check your credit score on a regular basis. Having simple errors in your record can affect your ability to get a loan in the future.

You would need to check the following details:

  • Address details are up-to-date
  • You are on the electoral roll at your address
  • Your information about any existing accounts is accurate
  • You make payments on time.

There are various ways to check your credit score including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

You can find out more about credit scores here.

4. Clear any outstanding late payments

As mentioned earlier, late payments can affect your credit score therefore now is the time to catch up and clear any late payments.

Some examples of how you can save up to settle your debts including:

Sell any unwanted items that you have either online or in a car boot sale.
Avoid spending money unnecessarily by avoid impulse buying, for example.
Sign up for our payroll deduction scheme with your employer and start putting your money aside.

You can check our money-saving tips for more ways on how to save.

5. Plan for your financial future

If you enjoy gardening, you may know that you would need to plan and begin to plant your garden for the next year in the spring. Likewise, if you are thinking about buying a car, your first home, Christmas, a special occasion or planning a holiday, you would need to take the time to create a financial plan.

You can do so by taking the advantage of one of our savings accounts to suit your needs such as the Christmas Savings Account. Also, a quick win for saving is setting some money from your salary each month through our payroll deduction scheme.

 

A checklist on how to save money on your energy bills

A checklist on how to save money on your energy bills

With the recent announcement of the energy prices rising by up to £96, here is a checklist of what you can do to use energy efficiently. This will save you some money and help the environment at the same time.

1. Turn off the lights

If you are about to leave a room and there is nobody else there, turn off the lights.

2. Use energy-saving light bulbs

You can easily cut energy bills by replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones. Over it’s lifetime, you could easily cut £180 from your energy bills (which.co.uk).

3. Shut off computers and entertainment devices when not in use.

According to Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £35 a year if you switch off your devices rather than leaving them on standby.

4. Go natural

Where possible, use natural light, heat and cooling. For example, instead of using a tumble dryer, dry your laundry outside on a hot summer’s day or on a clothes rack on a cold winter’s day.

5. Make home improvements

This can be through:
Home insulation (save up to £315)
Installing a new boiler (save around £205 a year)
Cutting draughts (save approx. £20)
Install and use heating controls (save £75)

Estimated costs from which.co.uk

6. Replacing an appliance? Choose energy-efficient appliances (save £213)

Look at energy-efficient ratings to show how efficient a product is. Lab tests done by Which? show that you could save £48 on a washing machine and £69 on a fridge-freezer.

7. Make switches:

We don’t mean light switches here. We mean:

a) Switch suppliers if you haven’t done so in a while. You should always look around for better deals. You could save up to £350. (moneyexpert.com)

b) Switch to Direct Debit

By paying your energy bills through direct debit, you spread the energy costs over the year. This way you will avoid the shock of a winter bill and you could save up to £100 a year as it reduces admin costs. (moneyexpert.com)

You can get detailed information on the above tips on the following websites:

Moneyexpert.com 

Which?

 

 

Five ways to get into the habit of saving money

Some habits are easy to form and can occur automatically without you thinking about them. Some of these are nail-biting; binge-watching TV; or unhealthy eating. Unfortunately, saving money is not a natural habit. Saving money is one of those things that is “easier said than done.” However, we have a few ideas to help you get into the habit of saving money.

1. Set a goal of how much you would like to save by the end of the year. You can use SMART to make your goal.

Specific: Determine how much you would like to save by the end of the year. If you haven’t saved before, start with a small amount.

Measurable: Think about how much you need to save each month to reach your target amount.

Actions: How will you save money each month? Visit our News section to get some hints and tips on saving money, or maybe you can join the Payroll Deduction Scheme (more on this in idea 3).

Realistic: Set a target amount that you can achieve. You can’t say that you will save a million pounds if you have never saved before. If you start by saving as little as £1,200 a year, that’s more realistic. Create milestones and give yourself a little reward for reaching them. This will motivate you to continue saving.

Timely: Think about when you want to achieve your target amount – is it by the end of the year or Christmas?

2. Open a savings account
At Hertsavers, we have a wide range of savings accounts that you can open, whatever the occasion. You can find out more here.

3. Pay yourself first

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to start saving money is “paying yourself first”? You can do this by paying yourself each month through a Payroll Deduction Scheme.

This way you are automatically saving money even without thinking about it.

Find out more about our Payroll Deduction Scheme here.

4. Create a budget for how you will save money rather than spending money. This way, you will know how you would need to put aside to start saving. The Money Skills App has a good tool to help you. Learn more.

5. Are you about to buy something?

Especially if it’s an impulse purchase, simply think of it the following questions:

  • “Do I need, do I REALLY need it?”
  • “How many hours would I need to work to afford this purchase?”

Remember: Be a mindful consumer rather than a mindless one. By thinking about what you are about to spend (and if it’s worth it) is more step towards your habit of saving.

We wish you all the best with your habit of saving. Remember, you can always get in touch with us if you need help with saving your money.