Make sense of your finances with our seven-step plan. It’s all about getting organised, keeping data up to date and taking essential security steps.
Get stuck in, the results will be worth it.
Know where to find key documents when you need them.
1. Organise your documents
Even if you already efficiently file your financial paperwork, it’s worth running through documents once a year to refresh your memory of what’s where.
2. Shred your old paperwork
Reorganising also means digging out old and unnecessary documents. Statements for accounts you closed years ago… that sort of thing.
Now shred it. Thoroughly. Use an electric shredder or cut the paper into ribbon strips with scissors. This helps protect against identity theft.
If you still get bank and credit card statements through the post, it might be time consider going paperless.
3. Consider going paperless
Most banks and other financial institutions offer it and, increasingly, employers are choosing digital payslips too. It can be more secure and more convenient, while some service providers give discounts or other incentives.
Do this for all essential services (gas, electricity etc.) and bank accounts, as well your mobile phone and other subscriptions. This will ensure you’re receiving your dues and not being charged unnecessarily.
4. Ensure your contact details are up to date
You don’t want to be spending too much, or worse, paying for things you don’t want or need.
5. Review your outgoings
Create a budget that tracks outgoings clearly. You can use online templates, mobile apps or make one yourself. Be honest and ruthless when you ask yourself: ‘Do I really want to pay for this?’
This can help ensure that you’re making the most of your money.
6. Switch bank accounts and providers
Banks often reward you for moving to them. This might be with preferential interest rates or a cash bonus. Additionally, see if you can make savings on your utilities; gas, electricity and telephones, plus subscription services such as Internet provider, television and so on.
7. Devise a payment plan or savings goal
The clear financial overview you now have means you know how much you need to repay each month. Or if you’re lucky, how much you can save without feeling the pinch.
Committing to a genuine repayment or savings plan can deliver real peace of mind and security for the future.