5 sure-fire ways to spring clean your finances now

Now in its ninth year, the Great British Spring Clean is back from 15-31 March 2024. The independent charity Keep Britain Tidy will urge us all to pick up a bag of litter and improve the environment on our doorstep.

As schools and communities come together, the national day is also the perfect time to undergo a spring clean of your finances.

This might include sorting through your insurance paperwork, tracking down lost pensions, or finally looking for a better deal on your utilities.

Here are five financial spring cleaning tasks perfect to tackle as part of your own Great British Spring Clean.

1. Review your outgoings

With inflation calmed and a change to the energy price cap imminent, you might be feeling slightly more confident than this time last year (In March 2023, the Consumer Prices Index stood at 10.1%).

But the cost of living crisis isn’t over and some falling thresholds and allowances freezes could still result in your tax bill rising (despite the chancellor’s National Insurance cut).

As spring – and the new tax year – nears, take the time to sit down and look through your outgoings.

Can you identify any unused subscriptions or forgotten standing orders? Are there areas where you could commit to cutting back?

This process isn’t about going without. Instead, it means managing your income and outgoings more effectively. Think about your priorities and create a budgeting plan to give you something to work towards and stick to.

2. Organise your paperwork

There are financial and non-financial benefits to organising your paperwork.

Using a spring clean to declutter can help to tidy your cupboards and your brain, freeing you from the tasks you’ve been meaning to complete since last spring.

You might find annual statements for a forgotten insurance policy or realise that your car insurance is about to auto-renew. Maybe you’ll uncover your lost marriage certificate.

Shred and recycle anything you’re sure you don’t need but keep useful documents aside. You can then either find a secure place for these or cross-reference them against your list of outgoings to see if you need to search for better deals.

3. Make now the time you switch providers

When it comes to your personal finances, loyalty doesn’t always pay.

From your current account to your broadband provider and home insurer, it’s always wise to shop around.

Last year, the Guardian reported on the increased harm to loyal customers in the face of rising Bank of England interest rates. In March 2023, Harriett Baldwin, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said it was “difficult to avoid the conclusion that our biggest banks are taking advantage of their most loyal customers to increase profits and CEO pay”.

While changes have been made to curb these loyalty penalties, introductory offers still exist and shopping around could still see you bag a better deal.

Search the market for better broadband or landline deals and be sure to haggle with your existing providers before you switch.

If you do decide to change your current account, the process is simple and a switch guarantee will likely mean there’s little for you to do.

4. Create an “in case of emergency” document

Once you have all your latest paperwork together, you’ll want to file it safely. This goes for documents stored online, too. Make sure you know how to access these and consider downloading the most important ones.

Now, make sure your loved ones know where these important files are kept. You can do this using an “in case of emergency (ICE)” document.

Effectively, this is a list of all the financial information and paperwork your loved ones might need if something happens to you.

You’ll have peace of mind that your affairs will be looked after if you are not able to, for any reason, and your loved ones will be able to manage your finances without added stress.

Your ICE document might include:

  • Insurance and pension paperwork and provider contact details
  • Banking information and details of any ongoing finance arrangements or debt repayments
  • Important documents like birth and marriage certificates.

Make sure you store your ICE document securely and let your close family and friends know where it is.

5. Consider your financial resilience and check in with us

Spring heralds the start of a new tax year so try to find time to check in with all aspects of your financial plan.

Top up your emergency fund if you need to. If your household budget check has freed up additional funds, consider diverting them into your pension or other savings or investments.

You might want to consider your State Pension entitlement or review your current protection provisions too. The latter is an especially important part of your ability to withstand a financial shock. You might find a term assurance plan has expired or your death in service cover has ceased following a recent job change.

There’s a lot to think about, but thankfully, Jane Smith Financial Planning is on hand to help.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about how best to tackle your financial spring clean, or any aspect of your long-term financial plans, speak to us now. Please contact us on info@janesmithfinancial.com or call 01234 713131.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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