Spring is in the air, and everybody I know is giving their wardrobe a shuffle, clearing out their clutter and giving themselves space to breathe. It makes sense, then, to use this time to have a look at your finances for the year, and check that you’re doing what you can to keep your head above water. Looking at your bank balance can be scary sometimes, so it’s important to put in the work now so that you don’t feel sick every time your banking app is loading.
Check your bank account
No, I don’t mean the balance! When was the last time you thought about your bank account? Most people that I know tend to use the same bank account they’ve always had – because they’ve always had it! Banks are begging for you to change, offering incentives like cashback on your bills, automatically changing over your direct debits and no interest overdrafts, yet Money Saving Expert report that fewer than 2% of UK current accounts were switched in 2018. Let’s make 2019 the year we make the banks work!
Build your credit score
The key is to pay things off – sounds simple, right? Write down a list of all of your credit cards, catalogues and short term loans and rank them in order of how much you owe. Start with the smallest and just start paying. As more and more accounts are closed you will become more motivated, and the smaller payment amounts will be available to put towards bigger debts. Your credit rating will slowly but surely rise as your debts are paid off, which means that you will start to find yourself in a happier financial space.
Monetize your skills
Whether you’re working full time and looking for a side hustle, or you are at home and need a way to start earning, there’s always something you can do. There are amazing websites where you can advertise skills such as writing, graphic design or virtual assistance. You could monetize a talent or hobby, or better still, work hard on something you’re already doing such as blogging, with the hopes of monetizing in the future. You can earn money doing anything if you’re motivated enough!
Bullet journal your spending
It can be useful to keep a log of everything that’s going in and out of your bank account, and the good thing about bullet journaling is that you can take it as far as you want to. A standard notebook and pen is fine, or you can get a bound journal and go all out with stickers and stamps – anything to keep you focused on your finances! Set yourself challenges in your journal, such as ‘No Spend’ days, or draw out a savings tracker to keep yourself on track.
Change your habits
We all know that it’s cheaper to bring lunch with you to work rather than stopping by the local caf, but do we actually do it? And there are other habits we can create, too: instead of checking out straight away when you’re online shopping, set yourself a ‘cooling off’ period. I almost always remove something from my basket once I’ve had time to think about it! Join some Facebook groups that are all about money, and immerse yourself in the world of saving.
What are your favourite ways to Spring clean your finances?