Spring has sprung! The weather has become warmer, the days are longer and everything seems fresh and new. It’s now the perfect time to have that much needed sort out, not just of your home, but your finances too. Altering bad financial habits and creating a solid plan will help you to make lasting changes. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of making a few small changes; they often have great results. Follow these top tips by Chris Atkinson, Head of Consumer Distribution at Zurich UK, to spring-clean your finances for 2018….
1) Hatch a plan
Don’t wait until the end of the month before you start saving money. Setting aside a small amount every month straight after payday will help you to spend within your means. Planning exactly what you can afford to part with, considering how much you’ll need to cover the essentials and one or two treats, means that you are less likely to accidentally over-spend.
2) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Faced with a challenging economic environment, you don’t want to rely on just one method of saving. The key to making the most out of your savings – and protecting them – is to ensure you ‘diversify’, spreading your money across a range of different investments, such as a stocks and shares ISA. It does come with its own risks, such as short term stock market volatility, but it ultimately has the potential to deliver a bigger pay out in the long run.
3) Nip subscriptions in the bud
It’s all too easy to lose track of how many subscriptions you have, especially ones for smaller amounts such as a magazine subscription or gym membership. Many subscriptions entice people in by offering the first month for free, but don’t forget to cancel the subscription at the end of the month if you aren’t using it. If it didn’t have a free trial period, would you have signed up in the first place?
4) ‘Appy Finances
Ever-evolving tech means that keeping track of your spending habits has never been so easy. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet, a money app or even a tracked card payment method, monitoring your outgoings is the easiest way to cut down on any unnecessary spending. You might even find that by doing this you end up having more funds than you think, putting an extra spring in your step.
5) Use those loyalty points
Most retailers now allow you to earn loyalty points when you spend, offering customers a range of different discounts and rewards. Whilst many consumers rack up the points, few actually use them. Loyalty points can have expiry dates, so by not using them you could be throwing money away. The money saved from using the points could be kept to one side or even put towards your savings.