Traditionally Spring is the time of year that we clean up around the house and throw out the things we no longer use or no longer find useful. It’s also a good time to consider doing a spring clean on your finances. By taking a close look at your finances you’ll be able to see areas where you can make changes, if they are needed or be reassured that you’ve been doing the right things all along.
With the help of our useful tips and advice, and Bank of Ireland’s Budget Planner, now is the time to take the opportunity to spring clean your finances. Here’s how to get started!
- Figure out what you are spending
- Make a monthly budget plan
- Pay bills by Direct Debit
- Keep an eye on your finances
- Shop around
Figure out what you are spending!
Working out exactly where money does goes is vital, but takes a bit of effort. However it doesn’t have to be a daunting task, it’s a simple matter of discovering where your money is going each month and how much you should have left over at the end. All you have to do is add up all your income and subtract your bills and other outgoings. It’s best to work out your spend monthly, even if you are paid weekly, as that is often how most regular bills need to be paid.
Bank of Ireland’s Budget Planner is a simple and helpful way to work out how much you spend monthly. It is designed to help you to work out your income and your day-to-day costs and help you identify areas where you can make changes. It provides you with totals of your monthly income, expenditure and surplus amount left over.
Make a monthly budget plan
Once you know how much you are spending, and on what, you’ll quickly spot what is essential (e.g. mortgage, utility bills, household food and insurance) and what you can do without .
Now you can plan / estimate a monthly budget for future months which will help you keep track of your spending and expenses and will also help you spend less, or to spend differently. However don’t forget that you need to allow leeway for one-offs such as car servicing, birthdays, holidays and that rainy-day fund.
Pay bills by Direct Debit
Paying bills by direct debit is a great idea as you’ll never miss a payment and incur unnecessary costs. If you don’t already pay you bills online e.g. gas, electricity, mobile phone, broadband etc. you should contact your service provider and discuss their payments options.
Keep an eye on your finances
Along with your budget planner and your awareness of what you spend and on what each month it is still important that you can keep an eye on your finances. Most banks allow you to view your accounts online e.g. Bank of Ireland 365 online. Viewing you account online is a quick and easy way to see what stage your accounts and bills are at and to check if you are on track.
Shop around for bargains, you never know where you’ll find a better price
This goes for nearly everything you spend your money on i.e. groceries, car insurance, petrol, electricity, gas, broadband, TV package, holiday and travel plans, the list is endless.
The thing to remember though is that it’s up to you to decide on the best plans for services (e.g. gas, electricity) and what method of shopping represents the best value for you depending on your needs i.e. a trip to another town or shopping centre miles way for just a few small items at a discount may cost you more in travel expenses than you could hope to save on the items themselves.